interesting reviews of burt's albums

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Steve Schenck
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Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2004 8:54 pm
Location: Washington, DC

interesting reviews of burt's albums

Post by Steve Schenck »

I recently found this site which included some interesting and (I think) terrific reviews of Burt's solo albums. I had never read reviews of some of them before. Perhaps many have already found this site and read what it contains, but if not, here is the link: ... bacharach/

Blair N. Cummings
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Re: interesting reviews of burt's albums

Post by Blair N. Cummings »

Interesting indeed, and generally astute and well informed (although the connection of Balance of Nature with ecology eludes me and I don`t know why Woman is described as "difficult").
The hint of another "greatesr hits" project a la the one with Ron Isley ( albeit this time with younger female singers) doesn`t excite me, and so far the songs with Sater leave me unimpressed. Maybe the Gift of the Magi songs will surprise us all. I hope so; but I suspect it will take Elvis Costello (or Hal) to push Burt back to form.
I expect to take flak for a lot of my nay-saying here, but believe me: if I didn`t love the man`s music as much as everyone else on the forum , I wouldn`t be here nor would I waste time posting. It`s just that worship isn`t my style (sorry, pastor).
I still haven`t heard anything since PFM and the underrated Isn`t She Great ST that really "does it" for me.
(P. S. :Why didn`t the reviewer mention All Kinds of People when discussing the `71 album? It was only a minor hit but got plenty of airplay and remains one of my all-time favorites).

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Re: interesting reviews of burt's albums

Post by BachtoBacharach »

Blair, I thought I was one of the few who feels Bacharach has done some good things since the 70s but sometimes his work after the split with David/Warwick was less than satisfying. I was thrilled when I heard the soundtrack to "Isn't She Great" and although Dionne's voice had changed dramatically by 1999, hearing that tune did it for me and somehow "On My Way" worked perfectly. Love that soundtrack. I am not that impressed with Burt's work with Slater; although it's as good as most anything he did with Carol Bayer Sager, it doesn't measure up to the quality work he did with Warwick or Costello. I, too, do not worship at the altar of Burt or Dionne and sometimes that is taken as heresy. I just believe Burt and Dionne have both coasted more often than not since their initial peak from 1962 to 1972. And, I know that because they both have come out and surprised the hell out of everyone but not often enough. They still have it in them to do one more great project together. And, I was not that impressed with Ron Isley's project...pleasing yes but no new ground at all in those interpretations.

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Re: interesting reviews of burt's albums

Post by nymusicalsguy »

Thanks to all for your interest in my feature "Back Tracks: Burt Bacharach" at The Second Disc, and most especially for your kind words. I've posted here about The Second Disc before, but for those of you who missed it: founder/editor Mike Duquette and I are committed to full coverage of the reissue/catalogue music world, and I'm always happy to cover Burt Bacharach's extraordinary career as much as is appropriate and/or possible. (If you liked the reviews, please search for Burt on the site, and you'll find a number of other articles and reviews pertaining to the Maestro - by both Mike and yours truly - which I think you'll enjoy, too!)

To answer some of the specific comments made...Blair, rather than the word "ecology," I perhaps should have chosen "pastoral." I was merely referring to the imagery in the song's central metaphor. As for describing WOMAN as "difficult," I stand by my assertion, but I think it's more clear in context. I had a tremendous amount of fun listening to every one of Burt's recordings when prepping the reviews, and WOMAN is indeed a somewhat challenging record (to me, at least!), but one I also feel is "ambitious," "rewarding," "lush" and "sophisticated." Thanks so much for your comments; I do appreciate them.

I'm fascinated by everybody's thoughts about Burt's more recent work. If I can make one observation, it seems to be that we all fell in love with Burt's work based on a very specific style he perfected in the mid-1960s and is epitomized by his staggering body of work performed by Dionne Warwick. He's been reticent in recent years to return to that style, going so far as to say that he simply couldn't, even if he tried. Of course, Elvis Costello proved him wrong in compelling him to create an album that I think stands among both men's best work, and central to that album's success is Burt channeling his past style, set to lyrics that could only have come from Costello and were surprisingly sympathetic. I don't know that his current stuff with Sater sounds like his Bayer Sayer period (which in itself was influenced by then-current 1980s sounds), but no, it doesn't sound much like his 1960s work. (Brian Wilson, on the other hand, has experienced a career revitalization recapturing the PET SOUNDS style in each and every new composition.) I'm not a musicologist, so I can't say whether the pure melodies - devoid of orchestration and/or arrangement - are as challenging and unique as they were in the '60s. But I can say that I still wait to listen to each new Bacharach composition like a kid at a candy store, hoping that I'll hear the next song that will stick with me or affect me emotionally, as so much of Burt's past canon has. I don't think he's lost his sophistication, or even his inspiration, and I can't wait for GIFT OF THE MAGI. Is it an impossibility to rekindle that 1960s magic? Maybe. But as long as the possibility is there, I'll keep awaiting each new song, even if he continues writing in his more modern style, with fewer distinctive flugelhorn parts or changing time signatures. I still hear his "voice," though! It's wonderful to see so many people here, including all of you who posted, who care as much about Bacharach's work as I do, and can view it objectively, critically and with a keen eye.

Thanks again, and it's always a pleasure partcipating here at the forum!!


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Re: interesting reviews of burt's albums

Post by Rio »

Come In Ogni Ora/Every Other Hour is one of my favorite Bacharach songs. The live Karima/Biondi/Bacharach performance is the best kind of entertainment I could possibly hope for. Sheer artistry and joie de vivre coming through vividly.

I also love You've Got It All Wrong and the Oscars 2000 suite.

I don't recall not enjoying a Bacharach song written or reinterpreted by him in the last 20 years.

80s Bacharach: not my favorite. Still, even Everchanging Times, Someone Else's Eyes, I've Got My Mind Made Up ('79), Stronger Than Before, Time, Love Light and One More Time Around, Love Is My Decision, the first several songs that came to mind (aside from TWFAF, Arthur's Theme and other songs from A1 and A2, On My Own, and Making Love) were head and shoulders above the vast majority of most of the more commercially successful songs of that period.

I also wonder if his 60s songs wd've been such hits in that era. They'd certainly be much more expensive to produce than the other stuff that was being thrown into the market.

If these thoughts mean I'm a certified Bacharach worshiper, so be it.

The more I think about it the more convinced I am that no one but Gershwin is on his league. Leading a second tier I guess I'd place Richard Rodgers.

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