Review by Sharon Davis. Firstly, many congratulations to Paul Howes at Zone Records for securing this release, and secondly, thank you for transporting me into Dustyland for 45 minutes or so. This special was recorded in Cologne during November 1969 and was later revamped to become Germany’s official entry into the 1970 Montreux TV Festival.
“I was astonished and very pleased” Dusty said at the time. “There was no earthly reason why they should choose an English girl to represent Germany. But I’m very flattered.” Produced by Bob Rooyens, who’s not your run-of-the-mill guy with a straightforward vision because here he experiments with “new electronic tricks and highly-original optical effects; a sort of kaleidoscope”.
Anyway, that aside. We start off with Dusty laying down, flat out, singing 'Son-Of-A-Preacher Man'. She’s on a clock face with red, changing to green, things prancing around her. Ballet dancers introduced 'I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten', with Dusty changing from a white pant suit into a black flowing gown. Her make-up is subdued and she has girly moments while singing this, despite appearing to be in the middle of a huge rubber bubble. Which indeed she is. Fast forward to 'I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today', where, now dressed in yellow, the lady delivers perfectly, while standing between two large baubles. Then from ballad to dance, with Dusty getting down with 'Ain’t No Sun Since You’ve Been Gone', where the stage set behind her comes alive. Another fast forward to a plaintive singer, dressed in blue, singing “The Windmills Of Your Mind”. She’s almost distracted as she sings and walks through the song. Isn’t she at her very best though when she’s pulling at the heartstrings? Pure magic. Another change of tempo - oh lor - what are you wearing now? This is the seventies Sharon, anything goes. OK, we’re getting into 'Love Power', with dancers and lights. A little light funk, it’s full of life. Fast forward to 'Come Back To Me' – a little middle of the road Springfield-style - wearing pale blue against a pink background. Then, swopping blue for white, into 'Just A Little Loving'. An adorable classic; so soulful and haunting, with Dusty taking the weight off her feet again. 'Sunny' closes the show, which has ended far too soon.
However, there’s more - Dusty performing in Berlin’s "Gala-Abend der Schallplatte” which was broadcast on 15 March 1969. Dressed conservatively this time in green, with a full orchestra behind her, she sang her way through a trio of hits.
I felt quite sad when I watched this because Dusty’s not with us anymore. It reminded me – as I’m sure it will you – just how very talented she was, and how the world would be a much poorer place without her music. I miss her voice, I miss her humour, and I miss her. But thanks to folks like Paul Howes, her legacy will live on and on. (By the way, the fast forwards relate to performances by The Dave Pike Set and Procol Harum). For further information about this dvd visit zonerecordsltd.com.
It comes highly recommended.
WORDS SHARON DAVIS
Review published in Blues&Soul Magazine