Dusty Springfield: Crumbs Off the Table
Girls Can’t Do What Guys Can Do
From See All Her Faces (Philips, 1972). Also on Dusty In London.
I have an inexplicable habit of constantly under-regarding Dusty’s catalog…it’s as if every time I discover a cool new track by her I try to remind myself, “this is Dusty Springfield. She’s only one of the greatest soul artists in UK history. She probably has more stuff worth checking for.” But inevitable, I forget this small little point. This LP is just the latest reminder that I should pay closer attention, especially since its “sister” album is something I reviewed, uh, six years ago.
It’s closer to a comp than an LP, mostly because Philips more or less cobbled it together two years after half the principle cuts had already been recorded. There’s something like 8 producers at work here – including the Atlantic powerhouse trio of Wexler, Mardin and Dowd – and even once Philips finally put it out, it was never released in the U.S.
There’s some decent ballads on here but what caught my attention are the two funk covers, both backed by Derek Wadsworth’s orchestra. “Crumbs Off the Table” finds Dusty taking on “Crumbs Off the Table,” a song most probably associate with Laura Lee but Dusty actually recorded her cover two years before Lee; both women were covering Glass House’s original from ’69. For my money, the instrumental track from Dusty’s crushes here, even more so than Glass House’s original. So ill. And Dusty brings it rather hard here (well, for her at least).
The other cover I was drawn to was Dusty taking on Betty Wright’s “Girls Can’t Do What Boys Can.” I don’t think Springfield touches the source material here but we’re talking about one of Wright’s greatest tunes from the ’60s but that said, I love hearing Dusty over this particular vocal arrangement. It’s unlike most of the songs I associate with her but she sounds completely at home with it. Far as I know, neither one of these were ever released on single; pity!