The gorgeous Shelby Lynne performs a channeling of British soul by recording an album of songs made popular by Dusty Springfield. In her reign, Dusty Springfield literally ruled the charts with plenty of songs, eventually considered one of the greatest soul singers ever. And she ruled the charts from the early ‘60s up through sporadic successes in the ‘80s. Shelby Lynne daringly spins an album of 10 songs that were Dusty Springfield’s bread and butter in scattered points of time, save for the Lynne-penned song, “Pretend.”
As we all know, Springfield delivered much more than an album of hits. Some of her better known songs, “Son of a Preacher Man,” and “Wishin’ and Hopin’,” were not used here. But songs like her “The Look of Love” from the Bond film, Casino Royale (no, not the Craig version), and “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” are here. The test is in the delivery, and Shelby Lynne, no matter how talented, cannot do Dusty Springfield perfectly. To be fair, I’m not sure anyone can. But then, that wasn’t the ultimate intent of Just a Little Lovin’.
The album was meant as a tribute to one of our greatest voices and here it succeeds. Using Lynne’s own interpretations of songs that are her own favourites from Springfield’s vast catalogue, she produces a satisfying set of music with a personal touch. It is that personal touch that puts the spark in these songs, making them easy to hear, warmly pleasant to the heart.
Particularly effective is the spare production that these songs are shaped from. Lynne warps in and out of the first track (“Just a Little Lovin’”) in hits of near perfection as she explores the soul of the original Springfield version of the song. For me, Shelby Lynne can revisit Dusty Springfield in another volume of reinterpretations.