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Soulful

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Album Review

Soulful is a major work in Dionne Warwick's deep catalog, and one worthy of study and appreciation. Starting off with a Top 20 hit from October of 1969, her gutsy rendition of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," the album shifts from songs containing the sweet and ever present voice found on '60s radio to one of a masterful artist in control, renditions of "Do Right Woman" and the tender approach to "I've Been Loving You Too Long" allowing these copyrights to be heard in a different and intriguing light. Recorded at American Sound Studios in Memphis, TN, with the great Chips Moman engineering and co-producing with Warwick, the only place you'll find the names Burt Bacharach and Hal David is on the label: "A Burt Bacharach-Hal David Production Produced by Chips Moman and Dionne Warwick." In her liner notes on the back cover the singer writes, "I hope you will enjoy experiencing with me the joy and excitement I felt in recording Rhythm and Blues — my way." To quote blues singer Genya Ravan, "and she means it!" Working with the producer of the Box Tops' "The Letter" and Elvis Presley was a wonderful change and stretch for the woman who was so closely aligned with the music and production of Bacharach and David. Recording in the state that has bragging rights to Graceland was in vogue during the final year of the 1960s and into the early '70s, Steve Cropper's production of Mitch Ryder's The Detroit-Memphis Experiment just another part of the story leading up to the legendary Dusty in Memphis album, perhaps this genre's centerpiece. It's easy to see how a pop princess like Dionne Warwick with such a string of hits could get overlooked — perhaps by virtue of the sheer volume of her output. The same could be said for Tommy James, whose brilliant My Head, My Bed & My Red Guitar went unnoticed by pop fans too intent on hearing his greatest hits time and again rather than investigating the artist that made those hits. Like Tommy James' Elvis-influenced album, Soulful deserves a very special place in rock history. "We Can Work It Out" is what Otis Redding might have done with the material, while "Hey Jude" has a church-like feel, not immersed in gospel but enough of that flavor to lift it above its pop confines. The short fade with the voices bouncing off the horns was a very nice way to close out the album. There are three Beatles covers as well as some Young Rascals, Aretha, Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell, and James & Bobby Purify. Moman also crafted Petula Clark's Memphis this same year, and both Petula and Dionne take on Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready," indicating perhaps what these Top 40 singers were feeling in their heart — the need to express themselves on compositions that they found compelling. "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" is the standout, not because it was the hit from this collection but because Dionne takes on a new fire, pouring her heart over the great drum work. This version of the song gets little to no airplay on oldies stations, let alone blues and R&B radio, which is tragic. Warwick is a pro as well as a major talent, and Soulful deserves to be treasured as the important musical statement that it is.

Customer Reviews

absolutely fantastic

what a suprise to find this gem hiding among all of Miss Warwicks other outstanding material..went to my local music store and was even more delighted to find a deluxe edition with 13 more songs..including..hurts so bad, everyday people, games people play, macarthur park, the weight and many more contemporary hits of the late 60's, she is so capable of adding her own signature to the wide range of composers.

Warwick At Her Best!

One of the best non-Bacharach/David productions of Warwick's 1960s catalog. Never realizing until I was older that this album existed, I highly recommend this album to anyone who appreciates Dionne's vocal styling and lyrical interpretation of some of the best soulful songs of the 1960s!

No singer can touch this one!

This was one of my absolute favorites as a very young child. Dionne's version of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" was the first I heard and I have to say that there is nobody that comes close to her version including the original. Pure humility, soul and character....the exact opposite of today's trash soul-less "icon" Byonce (or however you spell it). Dionne's voice and soul in unmatched!

Biography

Born: December 12, 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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Soulful, Dionne Warwick
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