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The Magic of Burt Bacharach

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Album Review

Britain's Charly Records reissue label demonstrates why it has a dodgy reputation with this slipshod compilation of songs composed by Burt Bacharach. It is a randomly sequenced, scattershot miscellany of a few hits ("Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," by B.J. Thomas, "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," by Gene Pitney) and a lot of misses, with quite a few tracks performed by artists not known for them. Actually, the latter are what may make the album valuable to collectors, since there are rarely heard Bacharach tracks by the likes of Big Maybelle, Buddy Greco (a live recording of "The Look of Love"), and Bill Evans (a live instrumental jazz version of "Alfie"), and not a few relatively obscure compositions, such as "I Cry Alone," "I Wake Up Crying," and "The Breaking Point." (Meanwhile, Bacharach's primary interpreter, Dionne Warwick, is nowhere to be found, except for the use of her picture in the CD booklet.) Those collectors will have to contend with the package's drawbacks, however. A disclaimer in small print on the back cover reveals that "Tracks 3, 12, 14 and 19 are re-records." (That's "Any Day Now," by Chuck Jackson, "Wishin' and Hopin'," by the Merseybeats, "Please Stay," by the Drifters, and "Trains and Boats and Planes," by Billy J. Kramer.) And the annotations contain numerous misspellings and factual errors, the most notable of which come in the liner notes by compiler Joop Visser, who gets the year of Bacharach's birth wrong (it's 1928, not 1929) and falsely states that the composer's sole Broadway musical Promises, Promises was "luke-warmly received." Actually, it was a big hit; Bacharach simply did not enjoy the process of writing for Broadway and so did not do it again.


Born: May 12, 1928 in Kansas City, MO

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

With a hit-single track record spanning four decades, Burt Bacharach became one of the most important composers of popular music in the 20th century, almost equal to such classic tunesmiths as George Gershwin or Irving Berlin. His sophisticated yet breezy productions borrowed from cool jazz, soul, Brazilian bossa nova, and traditional pop to virtually define and undoubtedly transcend the staid forms of Brill Building adult pop during the 1960s. Born May 12, 1928, in Kansas City, he studied cello,...
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