Lynne has substantially raised the stakes for country, pop and r&b here.
Tim Nelson 2008
Let's assume that your world is not full of grace and beauty and love. Let's assume that you travelled home on some choked arterial to a street spotted with dog mess, road works and crack deals after a day spam-full of electronic gibbering and all the malevolent authorities of hell. And let's assume that instead of blowing your mind out with something lethal, you put on the new Shelby Lynne album and were surprised to find yourself in a happier ending. This may seem strange because Just A Little Lovin', a collection of Dusty Springfield covers, is not, for the most part, a happy record, yet the spirit that Lynne, her four-piece band and recording collaborators, including legendary producer Phil Ramone, conjure up here is nothing short of miraculous.
Science-fiction writer and cultural commentator J.G. Ballard spoke of the 'death of affect' in the modern world, but Lynne's album is a triumphant resurrection of genuine feeling. Eschewing Pro Tools and the unholy, ultramaximal compression of twenty-first century technology, these arrangements, recorded live at Capitol Studio A using two-inch tape, are a potent reminder of the importance of musical space in conveying nuance and subtle emotion.
Lynne's understated vocals are similarly poignant, revealing the depth of many of Dusty's best-known songs (not just, say, The Look of Love, but the seemingly happy-go-lucky I Only Want To Be With You) that had been drowned out by countless overblown covers, or unearthing the devastation of lesser-known gems such as I Don’t Want to Hear It Any More without resorting to histrionics. Whether this is a last stand or a triumphant rebirth remains to be seen, but Lynne has substantially raised the stakes for country, pop and r&b here, by reminding us that sometimes arguments are won not by screaming yourself hoarse, but by quiet surrender.