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Shelby Lynne


Barry Manilow has plenty to answer for as a songwriter, but the veteran shlockmeister deserves major props for a 2005 email he dashed off to Shelby Lynne that urged the sultry songstress to consider covering the Dusty Springfield songbook. Let's take a moment to access the latent Manilow within each of us and thank Brother Barry for a helluva good idea. 

Just A Little Lovin' bears the unmistakable stamp of a predestined marriage between the vessel and the repertoire. Lynne was born to sing this stuff, and although she probably didn't need an all-star team in her corner to carry the day, that's how it all came down and a good thing only got better. With production icon Phil Ramone in the captain's chair and an airtight studio combo consisting of guitarist Dean Parks, keyboardist Rob Mathes, drummer Gregg Field, and bassist Kevin Axt conjuring understated magic at every sensuous turn, Lynne's deep affinity for Springfield's soulful oeuvre blossoms pure and unfettered. We're talking about a dim-the-lights, slip-into-something-comfortable record for the ages.

The set list ranges from signature Springfield classics ("You Don't Have to Say You Love Me," "I Only Want to Be With You") to '60s standards ("The Look of Love," "How Can I Be Sure") and lesser known nuggets such as "Breakfast in Bed" and "Willie and Laura Mae Jones." In all cases, Ramone and the stellar session crew lay down the barest of frameworks and allow Lynne's wistful, intimate musings to connect soul-to-soul in a jazzy, down-home sonic realm that nearly transcends space and time.

It's that good and it's all hers, no faint praise when you're talking about an album inspired by one of the most distinctive and fondly recalled vocal stylists of a golden age in pop. Turn the lamp down low, pop the cork on something promising, and let this one wash all over you.
• Mike Thomas

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