Dusty Rides Again

Being good wasn't always easy, but seven Dusty Springfield reissues prove that "the White Negress" never settled for less than great

Some later Atlantic singles are included here, including the Son of "Son of a Preacher Man," "Willie and Laura Mae Jones." Dusty in London also digs up breathtaking tracks like "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life" that shouldn't have languished in a vault for 29 years.

While Dusty always made being alone sound like the cruelest injustice, her post-Pet Shop Boys recordings would never scale the heights of desperation that even "What Did I Do to Deserve This" hinted at. Most of the tracks on her last few albums are self-affirming songs of survival written by 12-steppers for more famous 12-steppers to sing.

In the end, her brother Tom Springfield could console her fans with the news that Dusty told him last Christmas that she's had a ball, had absolutely no regrets and that the greatest love of her life was her cat.

In the world of pop, it matters little whether that perfect love is ever secured or held onto for longer than two minutes and 45 seconds. It's the sound of the search and the glow of the torch we remember more. Rest in peace, Dusty, and pray for those of us down here to find that love we lost. And we'll pray that Elton John doesn't feel compelled to rewrite a "Candle in the Wind 1999" for you.

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