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Dusty Springfield's Dusty in Memphis (Thirty Three and a Third series) Paperback – October, 2003


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Product Details

  • Series: 33 1/3
  • Paperback: 131 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic; 1 edition (October 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826414923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826414922
  • Product Dimensions: 4.7 x 0.4 x 6.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #810,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Warren Zanes was the lead guitarist of the Del Fuegos,a band praised by, among others, the inventor of rock & roll, Sam Phillips. After the Fuegos self-immolated, Warren entered into an academic career and is now Dr. Zanes. Never mind-he still knows what counts. What counts? Genuine feeling, which this shapely small volume is full of...Warren is a greatly gifted good heart, and I love him. Read his book, listen to his record, and you will too." -Stanley Booth, author of The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones

“Sure, there are informative interviews with producer Jerry Wexler, and of course Zanes parses songs like ‘Son of a Preacher Man’ and ‘Breakfast in Bed.’ But it’s the twists and turns, the oddly illuminating vagaries in between, that make the book such a compulsive read. Zane’s approach is apropos for a record that was something of a masquerade—but was no less authentic or affecting for it.” -–The Boston Phoenix, 7/8/04 (Mike Miliard)

"A heartfelt dive into the world of 60s R&B…dazzling." —Pop Culture Press

"Zanes' dry analysis of Dusty Springfield's classic white soul album is coupled with revealing interviews with Jerry Wexler, the man behind the song selection, and Stanley Booth, the album's original liner notes writer."—Uncutf

"The inaugural volume, Dusty in Memphis by Warren Zanes, sets the template for the seriesbeautifully."- Joe Pettit, Ugly Things, Issue25 (Ugly Things)

Title mentioned by Aaron Hicklin, in an article in Out, Saturday 1st March 2008.


"Warren Zanes was the lead guitarist of the Del Fuegos,a band praised by, among others, the inventor of rock & roll, Sam Phillips. After the Fuegos self-immolated, Warren entered into an academic career and is now Dr. Zanes. Never mind-he still knows what counts. What counts? Genuine feeling, which this shapely small volume is full of...Warren is a greatly gifted good heart, and I love him. Read his book, listen to his record, and you will too." -Stanley Booth, author of The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones

"A heartfelt dive into the world of 60s R&B…dazzling." —Pop Culture Press

“The inaugural volume, Dusty in Memphis by Warren Zanes, sets the template for the seriesbeautifully.”- Joe Pettit, Ugly Things, Issue25 (Sanford Lakoff)

From the Publisher

"Thirty Three and a Third" is a new series of short books about critically acclaimed and much-loved albums of the last 40 years. The authors provide fresh, original perspectives – often through their access to and relationships with the key figures involved in the recording of these albums. By turns obsessive, passionate, creative, and informed, the books in this series demonstrate many different ways of writing about music. What binds the series together, and what brings it to life, is that all of the authors – musicians, broadcasters, scholars, and writers – are huge fans of the album they have chosen.

Customer Reviews

That is the second reason you should not buy this book.
Linda Bowden
Zanes has the ability to write seriously, think seriously and create an enjoyable, often funny read along the way.
Jen F
Although a skilled writer, Zanes' narrative focuses too heavily on his own story.
Xanadon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By S. Sittig on October 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
As much as I can appreciate being original, and trying a fresh approach to writing, Warren Zanes spends about 20% of his time discussing the album and 80% discussing his childhood, his take on the South, Atlantic records, and other miscellaneous things that have very little if anything to do with "Dusty In Memphis" the famous LP the book is supposedly about.
I don't mind that Zanes has taken this different approach, and in a sort of roundabout way, he has covered some of the material necessary to understand this classic pop album, but eventually, even the most open-minded of readers will tire of his tangential musings.
There are a few interesting insights into his views on what made Dusty Springfield such a special singer, and what made the material, the arrangements and the musicians on the album so special, but definitely not enough.
If you want to really learn more about "Dusty In Memphis" the LP and what went on in the studio, skip this. It's a waste of time.
Instead, you can learn much more just by reading the chapter on Memphis in Lucy O'Brien's biography DUSTY or even on the various websites on Dusty Springfield.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Donald Burnside on December 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is the first time I have been moved to post a review on Amazon.com - I feel that Mr. Zanes's book needs defending, particularly from Linda Bowden's review below. I have read this book three times now. Perhaps, for a Dusty Springfield fanatic, there is not enough detail in this book about what Dusty was wearing when she sang her vocals in the studio, or which take ended up being used on the album. I can see the appeal of such minutiae - and I've read enough music books like that in my time. This, however, is something entirely different. And something vastly superior.
My main problem with Linda Bowden's review is that she compares the book to a "poorly written high school paper". On the contrary, it's one of the most beautifully written books about music I have ever had the pleasure of reading. (And something else: it's also very funny at times.) I hope that Mr. Zanes or his publishers won't mind me doing this, but here is the very first paragraph of the book:
"This is not a book about a record. Sorry. I hope no one has been misled. This is something else altogether. As I was writing it, I conceptualized my agenda in this way: as an attempt to understand why a particular long-playing phonograph, "Dusty in Memphis", pulled me into its world and what I did there. Which is to say, this book is about an experience with a record more than it is about a record. It's both a chronicle and an analysis of what happened when a particular person met up with a particular piece of vinyl at a particular time and the unfolding of that relationship."
I have a very bright daughter in high school, and I'm still waiting for the day when she is able to write something as clear and expressive as that!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. Bourke on October 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
What was so special about Memphis that producer Jerry Wexler took the diva of British pop there and created pop magic? Warren Zanes, 1980s teenage rock star in the Del Fuegos turned PhD (cultural studies) in the 1990s, has written a small book to find out, the first in a series on classic albums. Continuum offers its writers a lot more space than Greil Marcus did in Stranded - 32,000 words by my count - and Zanes uses it brilliantly.

His essay isn't academic deconstruction but a mix of personal passion, acute perceptions and old-fashioned journalistic leg work. Being a musician helps his analysis of what makes the album so special, but even more so is his understanding of Southern culture. He writes of the creatures inhabiting the album; when he hears the opening to `Breakfast in Bed' ("You've been crying, your face is a mess. Come in, baby, you can dry your tears on my dress") he pictures Cloris Leachman in The Last Picture Show. To understand these characters means grasping how the South serves as the backdrop to it all. Not just the South that's there, but the South that's in the popular imagination. "Sweating, carnal, obsessed with the past, violent, agrarian despite the times, natural, authentic, certainly unpredictable ... it sometimes seems that [the weed] kudzu is simply the plant form of a mythology that has already covered the region."

Zanes' ideas about the spirit of the South, how it connects with literature, with history, with civil rights and with trash culture - and how it shapes its music - are beautifully expressed and convey a deep understanding of the milieu.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bill M. Fuller on August 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
I've read about a dozen books in this series and, after having finally read the first, I can say that Dusty in Memphis does set the overall tone for the series. Some books are fascinating, anecdotal-packed breakdowns of the album in question, while others are unrestrained musings that are best saved for a book NOT titled and themed about an album. This book is a little of both. The most interesting thing about the album Dusty in Memphis seems to be that is wasn't all that interesting to make, if you're looking at it with Zanes. It may be beautiful to listen to, but it's simply a group of top-notch producers and songwriters getting together with a British soul singer who desired to make an album in emulation of her idol, Aretha Franklin. Sound OK so far? Well, it is, and the book does a fine job of enhancing and supplementing the story up to this point. About half way, through, though, it goes off the rails. There are plenty of musings about Alan Lomax, the South, racial lynchings and Zanes' first brush with sexuality, among many, many other detours. The problem is, the book is titled "Dusty in Memphis", and if someone is going to plunk down $9-10 for a book called "Dusty in Memphis", it should predominantly be about "Dusty in Memphis" or Dusty Springfield or, heck, even Aretha Franklin if you'd like. Where Zanes really failed, for me, is in this way: When I read a 33 1/3 book, at the very least, whatever the author's approach, I should come away with a renewed admiration for the album in question. The book Dusty in Memphis failed to light that spark for me, thus I can't recommend it.
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Dusty Springfield's Dusty in Memphis (Thirty Three and a Third series)
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