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Dusty in Memphis

(33⅓ #1)

3.30  ·  Rating details ·  296 ratings  ·  31 reviews
'Dusty in Memphis', Dusty Springfield's beautiful and bizarre magnum opus, remains as fine a hybrid of pop and rhythm and blues as has ever been made. In this remarkable book, Warren Zanes explores his own love affair with the record.
Paperback, 121 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Continuum International Publishing Group
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Sep 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: music
A disappointment. I'm a fan of Warren Zanes and was really looking forward to finally picking this up.

It's great and all that he starts the book by saying that it's not about the album "Dusty in Memphis" but (a) that's a typical literary conceit that means just the opposite and (b) why the fuck did he write a book about the album "Dusty in Memphis" called "Dusty in Memphis" if it wasn't about the album "Dusty in Memphis"?

This has literally nothing do with the album, offering perhaps dozen senten
Boz Reacher
Jul 17, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 33-333333
First you get to read about the author’s old band that nobody would remember if he didn’t mention them in the introduction of his books. Then you get to read about how nice Jerry Wexler was to the author while the author was researching the book - this takes about twenty pages and includes at one point, for some reason, a cutesy letter the author wrote to Jerry Wexler. Then there’s a twenty page remembrance of youthful voyeurism in rural New Hampshire. The final forty pages or so explore the com ...more
Feb 01, 2009 added it
Shelves: music, 2009, man
I give up. As unfair as it may seems for the author I'd rather listen to the music than to read about it.
Glen Engel-Cox
Sep 13, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: musical, non-fiction
Back in the 1980s, I discovered Q, a magazine out of England. I really loved Q in that time, as it was so different from the only other music magazine I had encountered before then, Rolling Stone. What made Q different? It actually covered music, rather than culture or movies or politics. I’m not knocking the Stone, as there’s room for all that, but I do think they had lost sight over the years of what their magazine was supposed to be about.

One of the really great concepts that Q had in that ti
Sep 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobooked
I don't need to know the brands and number cigarettes smoked in each day's recording session, but Warren just goes on about the South in general and a certain woman from Tennessee who moved to his N.H. childhood home for way longer than he seems to talk about Dusty, except to say that she wore a ton of makeup.

This is one of if not my fav album ever so yeah I was disappointed.

Good Things I Found Out:
Randy Newman wrote the genius "I Don't Want To Hear It Anymore"
Carole King wrote "I Can't Make It
Mar 05, 2008 rated it liked it
I am a huge fan of the 33 1/3 series and Dusty in Memphis is one of my fav albums of all time. That being said I was pretty disappointed in this book. Although I liked how the author personalized his experience with the record, I think he spent too much time on academic theorizing of the ides of the "south" and how other cultures and outsiders fetishize it. I was looking forward to hearing more about Dusty and how this record was made then an academic analysis of the use of black musicians in th ...more
Oct 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I was introduced to the Thirty Three and a Third series by Eric Mandelbaum. Each of these short reads is a very personal reflection by its author on a particular album (in most cases) by a musical artist or group during the past several decades. I give the highest rating to Dusty in Memphis because I was captivated by the wide-ranging discussion, not just for the few insights into Dusty Springfield or how the album was put together. Zanes grapels with:
the mystique of the South
the significance o
Nov 01, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Southerners
Shelves: 33-1-3-series
I had hoped that there would be some discussion on an album that I know very little about, but in my reading I discovered I had opened a treatise on the existence of the mythology of Southern music in the American folk music lexicon. While interesting as a cultural study, offered very little on the album...other than the interview of four pages with Stanley Booth at the very end.
Andy Troyanos
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
Yawn, I would have loved to hear about the making of this album, but this is the author blabbing on and on about the south. He talked to some of the main participants but it really about his love affair with the south. I love the 33 1/3 books but this was not enlightening and didn't let me look at this wonderful recording in a new light.

Dec 17, 2011 rated it did not like it
Entirely too solipsistic and full of typically lame "poetic" musings on Southern culture. Only someone with an incredibly huge ego would be unembarrassed to let such sophomoric journal scribblings be published as a book.
Apr 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
Pretty disappointing. Zanes writes about everything but Dusty and the album itself.
Jan 28, 2008 rated it liked it
Het eerste deel uit de 33 1/3-reeks van Continuum (2003) werd geschreven door Warren Zanes, in de jaren tachtig mede-oprichter van rootsrockband The Del Fuegos (hun debuut The Longest Day kan ik iedereen die het wil horen aanbevelen) en intussen professor in de culturele studies. Goed volk dus om een nieuwe, veelbelovende serie op gang te brengen, en dat gebeurt meteen met een niet echt voor de hand liggende plaat. Niet dat ik Dusty In Memphis geen goed album vind, verre van: terwijl ik het vroe ...more
Dean Wilcox
Oct 15, 2017 rated it liked it
The best volumes in this series are driven by a personal passion to talk about a particular album, contextual information that places the album within a specific era, and, as one might expect, some juicy tidbits about the album itself. About half way through this book I was ready to give it five stars. Extremely well-written and researched Zanes does a great job of offering two thirds of what makes a great 33 1/2rd book. Concentrating on the mythical south, primitivism, authenticity, and the pot ...more
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
this is a much more interesting exploration and sociological tract about the south and its relationship to all sorts of intersectional issues than it is a critical analysis of an album. it starts with zanes relating his personal experience with dusty in memphis and the track by track revelatory nature of its power and vulnerability before moving briefly into an analysis of jerry wexler (all on topic! all good!) before spiraling wildly out of control with digressions that only obliquely feint at ...more
Travis Wagner
May 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
Other than the revelation into how problematic Alan Lomax is, this reads as a music journalist taking up space to wax poetic about his own weird and exploitative relationship to the American South and to reclaim a creepy moment from his childhood. All of this occurs at the expense of not discussing an absolutely achingly beautiful record.
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
There was a lot in this book about Memphis and the South, but the author kinda forgot about Dusty. I could have had a lot more about her and less about Alan Lomax. This book did get me to listen to the album - which is a good album at least.
Dusty Henry
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
While binge-reading 33 1/3 books, I figured it was about time to go to the beginning. Having read quite a few at this point, I'm not startled when books take unconventional turns. This makes Dusty In Memphis a curious book. It's both a suitable and odd choice to start the series on. For those looking for a book on the creation of the record, you'll find little here. In fact, there's actually very little on Dusty herself. Like other books in the series, there's a bit of personal reflection from t ...more
Mar 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is the first in a wonderful series of small volumes devoted to classic albums. This volume, written by Warren Zanes, offers a kind of mini-travelogue of the American South and some of the stereotypes that surround it. Zanes relates a peeping-tom experience from his youth that brilliantly encapsulates cultural attitudes toward Southern women and their sexuality. What does all of this have to do with Dusty Springfield? Zanes shows how as a white British woman, Springfield's approach to the so ...more
Jun 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
The author said he wasn't going to write specifically about the album, and he didn't lie. His ruminations about the mythology of the South were interesting up to a point--but I don't care a book's worth about that, and that's pretty much all you get here. Also, much of the writing is in an academic style--perhaps to give him some distance from what he admits is a very personal response to the album? Whatever the reason, it gets a little repetitive, not to mention (my pet peeve) there is egregiou ...more
Carol Kowalski
Sep 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was looking for my misplaced, beloved Burt Bacharach and Hal David Songbook, so retrieved 6 boxes of books from my garden shed (it wasn't there). If theses books are just boxed in the garden shed, I thought to myself, I had better give them away. I did what you're not supposed to do under these circumstances: I started to browse each book. Warren Zanes' 331/3 Dusty in Memphis was there next to Dusty's biography, "Dancing with Demons". I couldn't recall having read this edition of the 331/3 ser ...more
Sep 19, 2015 rated it liked it
If you've read a bunch of other 2 or 3 star reviews of this book, you've probably already gathered what I'm about to say, but...

This is the second 33 1/3 book I've read (the first was about *Paul's Boutique*), and I'm not sure what to make of the series. This book had a smooth narrative, but the narrative didn't even come close to being what it was purported to be: a book about an album. Zanes' writing verges over into academic-speak a bit too often, and it's a bit off-putting.

It was short so I
Oct 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
The 33 1/3 series is such a swell idea, and such a disappointment in the execution (of the ones I've read, anyway). Instead of being about the record it purportedly addresses, this one is maybe 20 percent about "Dusty in Memphis" and the rest is the writer's memoir of growing up in New Hampshire, an essay about outsider views of the South and a deeply stupid interview with a writer of liner notes. I mean, would it be too much to include a tracklist? (One compelling nugget: Title notwithstanding, ...more
Dec 31, 2012 rated it liked it
Just finished this today. Interesting reading, this volume in the 33-1/3 series isn't strictly about "Dusty in Springfield," but is, rather, the author's personal effort to put this classic album in the context of the collective American effort to understand and explore the South, whatever that may mean. As such, it broadened my own perspective and appreciation for the album.
Nov 11, 2014 rated it did not like it
There is very little here about the album itself. It seems like a missed opportunity, as Jerry Wexler was interviewed for the project.

If you want to read a thesis about Oedipus complexes and Norman Mailer quotations, this is the book for you.

What a disappointment. I think I'll go and read the liner notes from the Deluxe Edition again.
Sep 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
It's not a solid 4, more like a 3.5 b/c the author seemed to be maybe just a little bit too full of himself. I liked reading about how the record industry used to work back then from some of the old characters he interviewed- that was definitely the best part.
Apr 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
I was expecting to read this book like the David Bowie book, but it was different. Less text book and more personal experience. It also gave me a glimpse into the Brit's fascination with American Rock-and-Roll in the south as well as Motown. Great album interesting book.
Mar 14, 2013 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Jay by: Goodreads
Shelves: music
Not much to do with Dusty in Memphis. The very few music business anecdotes were interesting, but the writing felt like poetry slam writing, lots of $20 words that don't add anything but would sound good read out loud. And boy, does this guy drop names.
Jason Mock
Jun 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
Too much author (and Jerry Wexler) biography and social theory, and not album biography.
Nov 29, 2015 rated it did not like it
How this got published as part of the 33 1/3 series (or at all, in fact) I have no idea, as the album is barely mentioned.

Absolutely pointless.
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: music
Warren has a PhD from the University of Rochester in Visual and Cultural Studies. Unfortunately, this book is more about the culture of the South than the record.
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Zanes holds a PhD in visual and cultural studies from the University of Rochester. He was a member of the Del Fuegos and is set to release his fourth solo recording. He has worked on films including Twenty Feet from Stardom and Martin Scorsese's George Harrison: Living in the Material World and his writing has appeared in The Oxford American, Rolling Stone, and the Los Angeles Times. Zanes served ...more

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