British singer Dusty Springfield was the diva de tutti dive of the "Tough and Tender" genre, in the sense that no matter how sweet the pop confection, she was guarded in all directions but one — the only place she allowed some vulnerability to show was straight down the pipes. She let the songs and her stunning talent do the work. Springfield didn't hit a home run with every track, but she came closer than almost anyone else, and the key songwriters of the era — Bacharach and David and the Brill Building tunesmiths (not to mention a handful of really smart Nashville and Memphis lads) — fell at her feet clutching the sheet music they wanted her to honor. When it comes to someone else recording a collection of Dusty Springfield songs, Shelby Lynne's a brilliant choice. She is poised perfectly between taking it and dishing it out, and apparently it was Barry Manilow who saw the connection, encouraging Lynne to cut the record. Just A Little Lovin' is a short collection (10 songs), but it's hard to imagine a more perfect setting for the Bacharach, Mann and Weill, Donnie Fritts, and Randy Newman songs. There's a version of the great Rascals waltz "How Can I Be Sure" and a Tony Joe White track, "Willie and Lauramae Jones," that peels the paint. This is a simple, sweet, perfect collection, and with luck, it may drive a few listeners into Dusty's powerful arms.
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