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Burt Bacharach Songbook

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Album Review

The phenomenon of German-language cover version of smash American hits has become more well known around the world, and it's plenty safe to say a lot of the attention has been paid to the sheer head-shaking value of much of it. In the case of Marion Maerz's early-'70s attempt at a career boost via an album of Burt Bacharach hits, while her work won't make people forget Dionne Warwick, the Carpenters, or Gene Pitney (among many others), there's enough to enjoy that rewards attention after the culture shock wears off. The crisp, well-produced arrangements by Ingfried Hoffman as well as the soft echo on Maerz's voice — best described as serviceable if not stellar, though sometimes capable of sweet swoops when the mood or lyric calls for it — confirms the straight-for-the-mainstream intent of the exercise, something further underscored by the generally faithful replication of the hit versions throughout. "So Wie Ich" (aka "Close to You") has one of the best takes, effortlessly translating the note-perfect flow of the original in more ways than one, though the hypersparkling piano on "Wenn Inch Die Regentropfen She" ("Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head") perhaps literalizes the intent of the lyric too well. If the whole can feel like what a Munich supper club in 1972 would have had on the live entertainment bill, it's still an intriguing exercise in cultural interpretation that has its enjoyable moments.

Burt Bacharach Songbook, Marion Maerz
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