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Dusty Springfield at the BBC

Dusty Springfield at the BBC

Sat March 2, 10.50-11.50pm, BBC4

By Gabriel Tate
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You could never call Dusty Springfield a dynamic live performer. But who needs dynamism when you’ve got a voice like that? This compilation of numbers recorded at the BBC – mostly dating from her 1960s peak, with a handful from her late-’80s rennaisance under the patronage of the Pet Shop Boys – has charmingly gauche inter-song banter and a bit of awkward swaying, but rather more in the way of toweringly wonderful singing.

Equally at ease with torch songs as with soul classics, Dusty’s versatility is given full rein – she wipes the floor with a visibly awed Tom Jones, and even duets with Alf Garnett. While it’s for the best that her addiction-troubled 1970s are largely ignored, it’s a desperate shame that the BBC wiped tapes of her performing anything from her greatest triumph, ‘Dusty in Memphis’. No matter – there’s more than enough here, from ‘You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me’ to her 1995 performance on ‘Later’, featuring Alison Moyet and Sinead O’Connor as her eager backing singers, to burnish her reputation as one of the greats.
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