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The Valley of the Dolls

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Album Review

Dionne Warwick followed The Magic of Believing (1968), a collection of spirituals and religious material, with her first Top Ten LP Valley of the Dolls (1968). Interestingly, the familiar rendering of the title track wasn't the one that was in the motion picture. This is all but academic, as the version featured here reached all the way to number two on the Top Singles chart in February of 1968. The André Previn penned movie theme was certainly not the only reason for the album's success as Burt Bacharach and Hal David provide several impressive compositions, most notably the Top Ten "Do You Know the Way to San José." Among their further contributions are the quaint opener "As Long as There's an Apple Tree," plus the soulful ballads "Where Would I Go," and "Let Me Be Lonely." The former has a slightly dark Baroque-flavored melody, while the latter became a lower-tier hit (number 71) and would serve as a staple in Warwick's timeless interpretations of Bacharach/David classics. A few of the other recognizable selections are her take on Jimmy Webb's "Up, Up and Away" that is highlighted by some inspired, albeit uncredited organ licks. In the same recording session that yielded the "(Theme From) Valley of the Dolls," Warwick cut a powerful reading of "You're My World," which had been a sizable side for Cilla Black. The rousing "For the Rest of My Life" is additionally distinguished as the Italian-sung "Dedicato All Amore," her entry in the 1967 San Remo Song Festival. [The 2004 CD reissue — pairing Valley of the Dolls and Warwick's previous secular long player Windows of the World (1967) — included the foreign language vocal along with "Lo Volce Di Silenzio," an Italian interpretation of "Silent Voices."]

Biography

Born: 12 December 1940 in East Orange, NJ

Genre: R&B/Soul

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

It is easier to define Dionne Warwick by what she isn't rather than what she is. Although she grew up singing in church, she is not a gospel singer. Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan are clear influences, but she is not a jazz singer. R&B is also part of her background, but she is not really a soul singer, either, at least not in the sense that Aretha Franklin is. Sophisticated is a word often used to describe her musical approach and the music she sings, but she is not a singer of standards...
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The Valley of the Dolls, Dionne Warwick
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