On her new album, Shelby Lynne has taken on the daunting task of paying tribute to the memory of Dusty Springfield. It is nearly impossible to top the original versions of these songs from Springfield’s repertoire, but this is no ordinary tribute album. There is no attempt to top the original versions. These substantially rearranged new versions are low key, as if Lynne is determined to find the soulful hearts of these songs.
Lynne turns up the heat right from the very first track, a sexy take on “Just A Little Lovin,’” an ode to the joys of morning intimacy. If you are not melted when she purrs, “come on,” toward the end of the song, you are made of stronger stuff than I am. The a cappella opening that she provides for the classic “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me” is simply stunning.
Veteran producer Phil Ramone provides a beautiful frame for this work. There are very few overdubs, just a small band of wonderfully sympathetic musicians playing live behind some of the best singing of Lynne’s career. Special mention should be made of Dean Parks, who provides beautiful acoustic and electric guitar parts throughout.
Shelby Lynne set out to honor Dusty Springfield, and in doing so she has created a dusky gem of an album. Somewhere in heaven, an angel with a great voice is smiling.