Dusty revelled (I think) in her rediscovered success and popularity, not least of all the younger new fans. I think it was a really strong statement of how wonderful a performer and singer she was. The relaxed persona, the camp Diva,the Iconic status, total recognition and appreciation of the legacy this Lady had bestowed on the music industry….AND ABOUT TIME TOO !!!
After three or four years of basking in her new found popularity Dusty was “thinking about what to do next, if anything”…theres that old sitting under a tree scenario “waiting for something to drop into my lap” thing going on!
I remember thinking at the time that Dusty should have taken the pop business by the scruff of the neck and “Dustified” the early nineties pop scene as she did 30 years previously but…… ??
Its clear to me now that she was happy just ticking over and didnt want to “do it all again”. She was looking stunning, great clothes good P.R. machine that I think she was in charge of instead of the frenetic slog that was sooooo bad for her at the height of her fame in the 60’s. I guess one does learn..EVENTUALLY !!
Apparently Dusty received a phone call from Vicki (ironically) telling her that Kip Krones from Sony Music, who was a lifelong fan,wanted Dusty to do something with them, would she be interested ?? Talk about history repeating, (to paraphrase Shirley Bassey who was doing a similar thing with her vocal wizardry at the time). They were talking about something new with new writers and musicains in Nashville, of all places.!!
Now for avid Dusty followers they will rememeber, as I did, the country album Dusty did in 1962 with The Springfields in Nashville, de ja vue or what ? Hopefully she wouldn’t be expected to “take the scenic route” again and discover the Exciters and 24/7 deli’s !!
Well, dear reader our girl was up and running, loved the idea and knew that there was “a lot of good music coming out of Nashville and not at all the country stuff that people traditonally associate with the place”.
There was, of course, the usual Dusty insecurities about the songs that had been chosen for her to CONSIDER AT LEAST !! The ‘how do I look now’, what are the backing singers like and can I bring my own hairdresser stuff going on!!
Dusty dahling you’re a star you can do what you like , when you like and with whom, get a clue !! Dont you just love her ??
A number of the songs chosen were, to my mind, a little underpowered for our girl, she could still sing up a storm and if she couldn’t reach the high notes then that what backing singers (in particular Simon Bell) were for.The title was to be, after a lot of soul searching and (I’m sure) screaming and shouting ‘A very fine love’. I still think Dusty in Nashville would have worked, but what do I know ??
I loved ‘I cant help the way that I dont feel’, so reminiscent of ‘the end of the world’ that I heard Dusty sing in early 1963 under a purple (what else?) spotlight at the Kingston Odean. Also ‘Wherever would I be without you’ the first single to be released from the album, on which she dueted with Daryl Hall (of Hall and Oates fame), I loved the new found power,psuedo rock approach coupled with the almost Tina Turner, Bonnie Rait nuences, great stuff. Apparently Dusty thought that ‘Old habits die hard’ would be a biggie, not so sure myself ! However, the best track by far was ‘Where is a Woman to go?” Really a country song,”my Daddy would die if he knew his baby” but with some fantastic backing both vocally and musically. The writers Mary Chapin Carpenter and K.T Oslin provided some of the backing vocals and quite literally spread there magic all over it. You can HEAR Dustys approval and sheer pleasure in every line. A few years later Dusty was to sing this song on the Jools Hollands show with the vocal backing of Sinead O’Connor and Alison Moyet. An absolute masterpiece and soooo reminiscent of her early days belting out those hits on RSG with the world and his wife adding their vocal and musical ‘four pennyworth’!! This was, sadly to be the last performance Dusty made and her last album too!!
Whilst recording ‘A very fine love’ Dusty discovered an “quite large lump” on one of her breasts !! She was rushed to the Royal Brompton in London for tests,X rays, the whole works and it was confirmed to be the dreaded cancer !!
Dusty hit the disease full on and quite rightly too, she read up, took advice and went through a series of chemotherapy and, I guess, radio therapy to destroy the tumor.
The cancer went into remission and Dusty picked up the gauntlet and got on the promotion trail for ‘A very fine love’. She appeared on numerous chat shows, news programmes and countless appearance to promote the album AND to “talk about cancer in a small way as it effected me”. She looked fabulous and was her usual chatty, camp, witty self. Unusually for Dusty she mostly wore black at this time, stunning and elegant of course but to me a little sombre and maybe a little cautionary warning to the fans, who knows ??
She moved to a big house in Henley on Thames (“by the river”) and charged her batteries and I feel, with a little intrepidation of what the future may hold.
The cancer returned with a vengence a couple of years later and Dusty retreated from the limelight, not to lick her wounds, but to take stock of her life.
On the 2nd of March 1999 Dusty left us for that great recording studio “over there”. Her leaving ripped a huge hole in my and so many peoples lives, I still miss her and miss the expectation what gems her next foray into the recording studios are going thrill us with. She has gone, she will never be forgotten, not only for her “series of blunders” her beautiful gowns (frox) her infectiuos sense of humor that can only be Irish but……….her beautiful melodic voice. ………THEY DONT MAKE ‘EM LIKE THAT ANYMORE……….she really was Going Back !! xx