Well boys and girls……..if the sixties were when Dusty (and a lot of others I guess ) lived out hers and everybody elses fantasies, then the seventies was the decade for facing the realities of the life she was so hell bent on creating and destroying for some reason !!
Personally, I think that ‘our girl’ had it in her mind to take the States by storm by firstly moving to LA, buying a superstar type Hollywood mansion in Laurel Canyon, with a HUGE pool and a tennis court and all the usual star trimmings (well you would wouldn’t you?).Interesting to note here that Dusty couldn’t swim or play tennis, “apart from knocking a few balls back and forth for ten minutes with whatever star happpened to be around at the time or untill the schlapp started running down her face” Our girl decided to take a break from recording, live the life of the rich and famous, which unfortunately included the sex, drugs and rock and roll aspect of being a STAR !!!!!.
Unfortunately the pop business and more importantly “the fans” are very much like children and they need to be ‘fed product’ on a regular basis to sustain their growth and interest, and if this product is the type they know and love all well and good. That, in Dustys case, in the most part at least meant “churning out those big ballady things” that she loved,of course, but she was feeling more than a little trapped in that genre and as always had an eye and ear for the new music emanating from the states. Singer songwriters like Carly Simon, Carole Bayer Sager, Joni Mitchell, Mellissa Manchester, Carla Bonoff, the list goes on !! I must say I was very much with her on this one as ‘standing still’ has never been one of my favourite places to be either.
Unfortunately our girl was having too much of a good time partying and rubbing shoulders with the American glitterati. It appears that some of the decisions she made and maybe some were made for her whilst ‘under the influence’ of God knows what, meant she wasn’t ‘feeding’ her fans what they wanted. I loved the early seventies stuff she recorded, more wistful, laid back (God if she was any more laid back she would have been behind herself)!! There are some beautiful recordings of (ooo Janis Ian I forgot her) Janis Ian songs, Mellissa Manchester as well as some Carole King (of course SHE was changing course rapidly too, and how!) along with Michel Legrand,Charles Aznavour masterpeices. I love, to this day, Yesterday when I was young, written and recorded by Aznavour but in an almost monologue format. Dusty gave it the old majic and created, to my mind, a masterpeice of pathos and drama enough to satisfy her millions of fans, perhaps herself who knows, but…….the record company didnt’, for reasons best known to themselves, release it as a single but as a track on the See all her faces album, which they didn’t promote and Dusty was off having a ball (tennis probably), hindsight is a wonderful thing, I guess ??
Dusty went into the studio again soon after this album to record what should have been an absolute stunner. To include songs and vocal accompaniments( which she loved the idea of I’m sure )by all the above mentioned artists. It had a couple of different working titles but ended up as Longing… Apparently over the next few MONTHS (not days or weeks) Dusty was in such a mess that they barley managed to get 5 or six completed tracks from her. Apparently the vocals were poor, with her voice almost nonexistant on some of them, great musical accompaniments (as usual) but, she was off with the fairies.. Twenty years later some of these (cleaned up) tracks were released on the four disc compilation entitled …Simply Dusty…(lots of things dahling but SIMPLE never!!).
I am your child , Dustys voice on this was heartbraking honestly, she barely forces notes out and the words just kind of hang in the air waiting to be strung together…(.oh the pathos and the drama) co-written by Barry Manilow, who was just making a name for ‘herself’ at that time, singing along with and playing piano for the DIVINE Ms. Bette Midler. In the winter, a Janis Ian classic that Dusty took to a whole new level. Even the writer told our girl that she would never have imagined that anything she had written could be so beautiful (praise indeed). Another couple of gems, one from Mellissa Manchester, Home to myself and Exclusively for you, written by a very talented young man that had ‘found ‘ himself in LA, Colin Bluntstone. He was the lead singer in a very successful band from the sixties, The Zombies (yeh really!).
As I said earlier, this album fell flat on its face before they even finished the final recordings. Dusty was hooked on booze, pills and some things I dont think she (let alone her fans) wanted to remember. She was ‘cutting’ herself on a regular basis apparently and a few times attempted suicide !!! She was surrounding herself with hangers on, bleeding her dry both emotionally and financially. “you wouldn’t want to leave your handbag alone with them let alone be in their company”.
She was at rock bottom,borrowing from what few friends she had left and living either with these friends or renting rooms in a not so nice parts of Town, all this in six or seven years. She needed a lifeline and luckily a couple of friends from early in her career threw it her way………and she grabbed it with both hands and held on tight !!!! It appears that the hardest thing to do at this point, was get herself clean from the booze and drugs, it was gonna be a long hard road, but I’m sure she could see (notwithstanding her shortsightedness) the light at the end of the long dark tunnel, bless her……..
I’m worn out now, I need to cry a little, put some Dusty on the ‘gramaphone’ and pour myself a large glass of something red and fruity……NO NOT RIBENA!!!!….. saluditos guapiton. xx