Audio Remasterer: Mike Milchner.
Liner Note Author: Joe Marchese.
Photographer: Harry Langdon.
Dusty Springfield intended to follow 1970's Gamble/Huff-produced A Brand New Me with an album produced by Jeff Barry, but this, her planned third record for Atlantic, wound up shelved in 1971. Why it was abandoned is unclear. Neither of the singles released from the sessions -- August's "Haunted"/"Nothing Is Forever, November's "I Believe in You"/"Someone Who Cares" -- dented the charts, a situation that understandably discouraged Dusty, who then had her manager release her from Atlantic. When she left the label, she left this Barry-produced record behind. Thought to be lost in a warehouse fire in 1978, tracks started to surface as Rhino assembled deluxe reissues of Dusty in Memphis and A Brand New Me, but the entire album didn't appear until Real Gone constructed Faithful in 2015. Produced by Jim Pierson and annotated by Joe Marchese, this release of Faithful certainly does have the feel of a lost classic, a record that exists on a plane between the gritty Southern soul of Dusty in Memphis and the smooth, assured A Brand New Me (known as From Dusty with Love in the U.K.), tempered with a heavy dose of professional studio craft from Barry and his crew of regular songwriters. Among these composers are Bobby Bloom -- he'd later have a hit with "Montego Bay" -- and Alex Harvey, who wrote hits for Kenny Rogers & the First Edition, but Barry and Springfield also cherry-picked David Gates' "Make It with You" and Carole King's "You've Got a Friend," giving them a lush, soulful sheen. Most of Faithful simmers on this level, although the bluesy funk of "Natchez Trace" comes as a surprise, as does the spooky strut of "Haunted." This is just enough variety to give spice and momentum to Barry's immaculate constructions, but even these productions are soulful, not stiff: he gets the band cooking, letting them lay a slyly seductive bed for Springfield, who remains at the peak showcased on her two previous Atlantic records. If Faithful isn't as perfect as Dusty in Memphis, it's because few records are. If Faithful is as good as A Brand New Me -- and it very nearly is -- it's a testament that sometimes the record business is unfair, even to some of its brightest stars. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine