My Friends & Me
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My Friends & Me, Dionne Warwick's collection of duets that revisit her classic recordings, benefits from her many talented friends in the music industry, but most of all from a family member. Her son Damon Elliott has worked with his mother for close to ten years, when he's not producing for contemporary hitmakers Pink, Destiny's Child, Jessica Simpson, Kelis, and Mya. Elliott's production for this record is engaging and charming, right up to the minute digitally on the rhythm end, but with plenty of space within the tracks to echo the airy productions of Warwick's long-time producer, Burt Bacharach. Also, Elliott kept most of these versions piano-based and added a tight backing chorus that is virtually necessary for anyone familiar with the original "Walk on By" or "Anyone Who Had a Heart." Dionne Warwick's voice, however, hasn't aged as well as her contemporaries, and the record often resembles a tribute album whose subject only stops by occasionally. (More often than not, the guests are featured more than Warwick herself.) The only track with radical changes is "The Windows of the World," which is presented with no less than four vocal guests (Angie Stone, Chanté Moore, Deborah Cox, Da Brat) and in a version that allows Da Brat to rap on the state of the world between the lines of the verses. Elsewhere, highlights come with Cyndi Lauper's quiet, pleading version of "Message to Michael," Kelis' "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," and Wynonna Judd's surprisingly smoky "Anyone Who Had a Heart."
Living Legend and her Friends deserve Better
With all these mega stars you would expect superior production values. Unfortunately, it sounds like most of these songbirds are singing to bad karaoke tracks. Simply dreadful. The best vocal delivery here, Olivia Newton-John on "Wishin' and Hoping" is wasted on such a bad track. All of the ladies sound fine, but why not spend a little money on a good orchestra or on professional studio musicians? You would think it was recorded by amateurs in someone's basement. Too Bad, so sad.
I thought this album was really good, not Dionne's best vocal-wise, but it had really good songs and was partnered with some really great singers. Most people don't realize that Warwick's granddaughter sang in this CD with her. Cheyenne Elliot, a seventh grader who goes to the same school as me, partnered with her for the song 'Love Will Find a Way'. It's a really great duet and a really good chance for young Cheyenne to show off her wonderful voice. Cheyenne is even better in person then on this album and she should get another chance to show it.
Timeless classics brought up to date
If you are not familar w/ Dionne Warwick's music, this is a great introduction! Ms. Warwick is currently working on her next "friends" disc, w/ male friends like Kenny Rogers, James Ingram, Barry Manilow, George Benson and others.
Born: December 12, 1940 in East Orange, NJ
Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s