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Dusty in Memphis, one of the all-time greats, was released 50 years ago today. You know how you have first exposures that you always remember, that never go away, that become part of your entire memory package around a piece of work? Back in the age before CD, after years of reading about what a wow this record was, and not finding the out-of-print vinyl anywhere, I was able to purchase the cassette through some book-and-tape clearing-house catalog that my mother and stepfather used to subscribe to. I listened to it for the first time out on their acreage in the country, on a cool clear sunny morning on Thanksgiving weekend, all by myself in the house because everyone else had gone to my grandmother's in Nebraska for the holiday and I'd stayed behind to feed the animals. Inserting the cassette into a red plastic boombox with a sense of some occasion—here it is, the legendary Dusty in Memphis, is it even a portion of what they have said it is?—I was relieved to feel pleased and lifted by the sexy, swinging opening number, "Just a Little Lovin'." But it was upon the second track, "So Much Love," that I capitulated completely and eternally. The rest of the album just carried me along, and I've been in Dusty's arms ever since.

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