Dusty Springfield

Where Am I Going?

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Where Am I Going? is a phenomenal album by Dusty Springfield, and though it doesn't have any American chart hits made famous by the icon, it would have been a blessing had every single performance here conquered the Top 40. The LP cover is great -- a black-and-white photo of a smiling Springfield with wide-brimmed hat, mini skirt, and a comic book quotation in psychedelic off-pink and orange asking Where Am I Going? The music inside, with strings and orchestration, is a relentless delight. The Pat Williams arrangement of Bobby Hebb's "Sunny" with conductor Peter Knight reveals a touch of the James Bond riff, a definite sign of the times. One can hear the wondrous voices of Madeline Bell and Lesley Duncan, the backing vocals blending perfectly with the orchestration in songs like "I Can't Wait Until I See My Baby's Face" and "Don't Let Me Lose This Dream." "Where Am I Going?" is as perfectly surreal as its title suggests -- imagine Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music twirling around in the windmills of Springfield's mind. This is not the driving pop of "I Only Want to Be with You" or "Wishin' & Hopin'," this is symphonic adult contemporary. "They Long to Be Close to You" is the serious and dramatic blues that the Carpenters aspired to develop. "Welcome Home" is out-of-this world rhythm & blues told with authority. It and other tracks from Where Am I Going? puts Springfield in that elite class reserved for the best of Janis Joplin, Etta James, and Ella Fitzgerald -- female vocalists who found notes in niches of songs that were unavailable to lesser mortals. While Springfield was filling the airwaves in America with "The Son of a Preacher Man" toward the end of 1968, a band called Vanilla Fudge had "Take Me for a Little While" on the U.S. charts, but their disc was issued in July of 1967 and their success in the States was a delayed reaction. Dusty Springfield takes that great composition and turns it into snappy pop with an amazing vocal. Add "If You Go Away" and the musicians on these grooves take the listener on a wild ride running the gamut of genres without disrupting Where Am I Going?'s flow. This is a tremendous and often forgotten masterpiece in the repertoire of Dusty Springfield which deserves more attention. It truly is the record which keeps on giving.

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