Friday, February 21, 2014

Soul Corner: Dusty Springfield "Where Is A Woman To Go"

We have to bring back the Soul Corner today to highlight a song that we somehow overlooked and just discovered by one of our favorite all time singers. Her name is Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien, but you probably know her by her stage name, Dusty Springfield. The London born superstar had a string of hits in the 1960's-70's and established herself as one of the most respected and revered blue-eyed soul singers ever.

Late in her career in 1994, long after the hits stopped, she went to Nashville to make what turned out to be her final album A Very Fine Love.  Originally (ill) conceived to be a country record called "Dusty in Nashville", the songs took a different turn during recording towards less of a 1994 Nashville country sound to a more rootsy Americana effort. It did nothing to rekindle her stature from Springfield's Dusty in Memphis days, but it had at least one amazing song that stands with anything she ever recorded.

"Where Is A Woman To Go" co-written by KT Oslin and Jerry Gillespie, is a fantastic song. But even transcending the great composition is the stunningly soulful vocal delivered by Springfield, the heartache just oozing from her. I couldn't find the chill bump inducing recorded version anywhere for you to listen to, but here's an outstanding live version from the Jools Holland TV show in 1995, one of her final TV appearances before her death from cancer. Listen to her deliver these lines starting at the 1:56 point:

Hey, bartender, honey gimme change for a ten-dollar bill
Bring it back as a stack of quarters, if you will
'Cause I'm gonna play every song on your jukebox that makes me cry
Gonna find out how many tears ten dollars can buy   

Country, Americana, pop, whatever you want to label it, that is some kind of soul singing, worth bringing the Soul Corner back for another week. I picked up a new Dusty Springfield compilation this week with most of the hits ("Wishin' and Hopin'", "Son of A Preacher Man", "What Do You Do When Love Dies", etc. though inexplicably omitting "I Only Want To Be With You"), but the song that killed me was one I'd never heard before - "Where is A Woman To Go".  I'm guessing I'm not the only one out there who missed this one before now. Enjoy.

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