It took Dusty a year or more in re-hab to quit the booze and serious drugs.She had a hard time shaking of the addiction to ‘slimming pills’ though. She had, it appears , a real problem with her weight for years before during and after her metioric rise to fame.When the the plunge into the depths of addiction took hold the weight problem was worse (binge eating, drinking etc. ).
However when our girl emerged from this “very difficult time in her life”, she looked at least, very cool, laid back, slightly tanned not ” the old hanbag look that so many men and women went for in those days”. The new album was all finished on time (remarkably!) and included some great tracks from the ‘girls’ from LaBelle, her close friends for the rest of her life, a couple from Carole Bayer Sager (soon to become Mrs.Burt Bacharach) and a great track to launch the album and be her new single, A love like yours don’t come knockin’ everyday. This was previously a hit single for Martha and the Vandellas who,again were lifelong friends of Dustys. So she had surrounded herself with her friends, good musicians,great production teams and was ready to get out there.!! Quite like old times, or so it would appear. The producer for the aptly entitled ‘It begins again’ was Roy Thomas Baker who had been doing great things with Queen and (very importantly to Dusty) he let her get on with a major part of the production and enrolling the right girls to do the all important backing vocals. Great stuff !!
However, Dusty private life was at an all time low, her long term lover was heading back East for good !.. The pressures and day in day out dramas were taking their toll on her too and so when the launch was scheduled Dusty cracked up, picked up “laryngitus” again and ,it appears, headed back to the solace of the booze and drugs !! Now…….this album was going to be , or should have been, her return to mainstream popular music. I remember seeing Dusty on TOTP in the U.K. performing ‘a love like yours’, looking great, slim, very little of the trademark eyes,but DEFINATELY DUSTY !! We (the fans) had no idea that this was six months after the scheduled release date or of the unbelievable pain and torment she had been through…..Its show time girl get out there and give it to ’em, and she did.
Unfortunately the record Company didnt live up to their word of going all out to promote the album and the critics were (most of them) less the enthusiastic about the product. Me, personally, with the exception of one track (thats the kinda love I’ve got for you) I loved the album and still do. She performed the ballad ,’I’d rather leave while I’m in love’ (ironically) with such finesse and emotion, as she did with the iconic “Sandra”, a beautiful song written by Barry Manilow that some critics called “an exercise is bathos”, Oh go take a funny run, it was and still is fabulous. My daughter, Natalie, rates this track very highly also, its the line……”she was doing the dishes when a glass fell and broke on a tile, she cut her wrists, quite by mistake, it was real touch and go for a while”, Natalie has inherited her fathers love of the pathos and drama tracks although she will be the first to deny it !! There were some great tracks written by Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash, very NOW and attracting a whole new younger fan base, way to go girl.
A year later it was announced that our girl was coming back to the U.K. with a string of tour dates culminating at the Theatre Royal for three nights, I think, a venue fit for any, if not all the Queens that London could produce !! The concerts coincided with the release of another album (soon to be underpromoted and dished as the last one), Living without your love…the highlights of this album were few I must admit, but the fabulous, “I’m coming home again’ written by Carole Bayer Sager (again with this Lady!) was perfect both from a title point of view and keeping the “big ballady things” fanbase, more than happy. I loved it, lets get out there and wring every ounce of emotion and drama out of the fans, as well as Dusty herself.!!! I remember seeing Dusty at the Royal Albert Hall later that week not only singing this, but emoting herself into a coma with ‘Quiet please theres a Lady on stage’. “for all those women out there who gave too much of themselves and maybe some of them not enough”. That for me was THE highlight in Dustys career, knocking her performance of ‘The end of the World 15 years earlier, from the top spot of pushing all the right buttons, as only she could. Incidentally she wore purple both times, she loved the colour purple (good name for a film that !!). How do you remember all that Tony, I hear you ask,well……..spot the Gay man !! Our girl was back with a bang and about bloody time too Dusty, get yer face on slip on the high heels and don’t take any prisoners !!
Watch this space, I’m going for lunch now, then I need to iron my purple shirt !!