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Baby, It’s Burt: “The Warner Sound” and “The Atlantic Sound” Compile Rare Bacharach Tracks

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Warner Sound of BacharachIn his 85th year, Burt Bacharach has kept a pace that would wear out many a younger man.  In addition to performing a number of concert engagements, the Oscar, Grammy and Gershwin Prize-winning composer has released a memoir, continued work on three musical theatre projects, co-written songs with Bernie Taupin and J.D. Souther, and even penned a melody for Japanese singer Ringo Sheena.  Though Bacharach keeps moving forward, numerous releases this year have looked back on his illustrious catalogue.  Universal issued The Art of the Songwriter in 6-CD and 2-CD iterations to coincide with the publication of his memoir, Real Gone Music rescued his three sublime “lost” 1974 productions for Dionne Warwick from obscurity, and Warner Music Japan reissued the near-entirety of Warwick’s Scepter and Warner Bros. tenures under the umbrella of Burt Bacharach 85th Birth Anniversary/Dionne Warwick Debut 50th Anniversary.  Two more titles have recently been added to that Japanese reissue series: The Atlantic Sound of Burt Bacharach and The Warner Sound of Burt Bacharach.  These 2-CD anthologies are both packed with rarities and familiar songs alike for a comprehensive overview of the Maestro’s recordings on the Warner family of labels.

The Warner Sound of Burt Bacharach is the more wide-ranging compilation of the two, drawing on recordings made not just for Warner Bros. Records but for Valiant, Festival, Elektra, Reprise, Scepter, and foreign labels like Italy’s CDG and Sweden’s Metronome.  This 2-CD set is arranged chronologically, with the first CD covering 1962 (Dionne Warwick’s “Don’t Make Me Over,” her only appearance on the set) to 1978 (Nicolette Larson’s “Mexican Divorce”), and the second taking in 1981 (Christopher Cross’ Oscar-winning chart-topper “Arthur’s Theme”) to 2004 (Tamia and Gerald Levert’s “Close to You”).

On the Elektra label, Love scored a hit with “My Little Red Book,” presented here in its mono single version.  The composer didn’t care for the band’s melodic liberties, but the Sunset Strip rockers’ version is today better known than the Manfred Mann original.  From the Reprise catalogue, you’ll hear the great arranger Marty Paich with a swinging instrumental version of “Promise Her Anything,” a genuine Bacharach and David rocker originally recorded by Tom Jones.  Trini Lopez’s groovy “Made in Paris” is also heard in its mono single version.  Morgana King is sultry on a Don Costa arrangement of “Walk On By.”  Buddy Greco delivers a hip “What the World Needs Now,” and Tiny Tim makes the same song his own.  Ella Fitzgerald puts her stamp on “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” produced like Tiny Tim’s “World” by Richard Perry.  Another production great, Wall of Sound architect Jack Nitzsche, brings a touch of class to the Paris Sisters’ dreamy “Long After Tonight is All Over.”

Numerous tracks on the first CD come from the worldwide Warner vaults.  The two stars of the original Italian production of Promises, Promises – Catherine Spaak and Johnny Dorelli – are heard in their beautiful, low-key performance of “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” as released on the CDG label.  The Sweden Metronome label yields Svante Thuresson’s “This Guy’s In Love with You,” Siw Malmkvist’s “I Say a Little Prayer,” and one of the strangest songs in Bacharach and David’s entire catalogue, “Cross Town Bus” as sung by the Gals and Pals in English.  Australia’s Festival label – the original home of the Bee Gees – has been tapped for Noeleen Batley’s “Forgive Me (For Giving You Such a Bad Time)” and Jeff Phillips’ “Baby It’s You.”  The treasures on the Warner Bros. label proper are just as eclectic, from Liberace’s gentle “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” to The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band’s torrid “I Wake Up Crying.”  Harpers Bizarre’s “Me Japanese Boy (I Love You),” with an atmospheric Nick DeCaro arrangement, is another highlight.  The Everly Brothers truncated Bacharach’s melody to “Trains and Boats and Planes” but their harmony blend is at its peak in a 1967 recording.

The second disc of The Warner Sound emphasizes latter-day R&B as Bacharach branched out with a variety of lyricists.  Chaka Khan is heard on “Stronger Than Before” by Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager;  Earth Wind and Fire on “Two Hearts” co-written with Philip Bailey and Maurice White; Tevin Campbell on “Don’t Say Goodbye Girl” co-written with Narada Michael Walden and Sally Jo Dakota; and Randy Crawford on “Tell It To Your Heart” from Bacharach and Tonio K.  Mari Ijima’s original version of “Is There Anybody Out There” – penned by Bacharach, John Bettis, James Ingram and Puff Johnson – is a welcome surprise; the song was recorded in 2012 by Dionne Warwick on her Now album.  Ingram is also heard with “Sing for the Children.”  On the 1993 track, co-producer/arranger Thom Bell channeled Bacharach’s classic flugelhorn sound to great effect.  Old favorites are also revisited and reinterpreted on this disc via Everything But the Girl’s “Alfie,” The Pretenders’ “The Windows of the World,” Linda Ronstadt’s “Anyone Who Had a Heart,” Anita Baker’s “The Look of Love,” guitarist Earl Klugh’s “Any Old Time of Day” and frequent Bacharach collaborator Elvis Costello’s “Please Stay.”  With big hits (“Arthur’s Theme”) alongside rarely-anthologized gems (the George Duke-produced “Let Me Be the One” performed by Marilyn Scott), there’s something for everybody here.

After the jump: check out The Atlantic Sound of Burt Bacharach!  Plus: track listings with discography and order links for both titles!

Atlantic Sound of BacharachOver 44 tracks recorded between 1966 and 2010, The Atlantic Sound of Burt Bacharach chronicles the composer’s legacy on the perhaps the foremost R&B label of all time, founded by Ahmet Ertegun and Herb Abramson in 1947.  Atlantic’s leading artists were uniquely suited to interpret Bacharach’s frequently soulful music and bring out the grit in his immaculate melodies.  The first disc is devoted to Atlantic Ladies and the second to Atlantic Men and Jazz, and though both are concentrated on recordings made in the 1960s, the selections aren’t always predictable.  Atlantic Ladies focuses on the music of Aretha Franklin (four songs), Leslie Uggams (four), The Sweet Inspirations (four), Carmen McRae, Carla Thomas and Rumer (two each) with one track apiece from Patti LaBelle and The Bluebelles, Lulu, and the pairing of Stacy Lattislaw and Johnny Gill.  A couple of songs are heard in various versions – “What the World Needs Now is Love” from Thomas, The Sweet Inspirations and Uggams, and “Alfie” from The Sweet Inspirations and Rumer.  The Pakistani-born chanteuse Rumer also gets the collection’s most recent title, 2010’s warmly nostalgic “Some Lovers” from the Bacharach/Steven Sater musical of the same name.  Uggams’ other songs are among the most interesting here, with takes of “Any Old Time of Day,” “Let the Music Play” and “In the Land of Make Believe.”  The Sweet Inspirations’ “Let Me Be Lonely” is a rare recording of the passionate song also recorded by Dionne Warwick and The 5th Dimension.  (Dusty Springfield is a major omission from this disc, as her recordings – while on Atlantic in the U.S. – were made for Philips in the U.K. and are controlled in other territories by Universal.)

Atlantic Men and Jazz has a more diverse roster, though it begins with five tracks from The Drifters, all recorded between 1961 and 1963 when Bacharach’s style was finally developing into what we recognize today as “the Bacharach sound.”  Bossa nova pianist Sergio Mendes appears with a couple of cuts released on Atlantic (“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” and “I Say a Little Prayer”) while he was making more sweet Bacharach music at A&M with Brasil ’66.  There are varied excursions into rock (Vanilla Fudge), funk (Roy Ayers), classic soul (Ben E. King, Brook Benton), jazz (Herbie Mann, Nino Tempo) and R&B group harmony (The Persuaders) among this disc’s 23 offerings.  R.B. Greaves proves he’s more than just “Take a Letter, Maria” on “Always Something There to Remind Me” from 1969, and Young-Holt Unlimited take a soulful strut through “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” from the next year.  Legendary Atlantic arranger Arif Mardin is represented with his own 1969 instrumental version of “Walk On By.”

Just try comparing Vanilla Fudge’s heavy performance of “The Look of Love” to King Curtis’ sizzling instrumental R&B treatment, or The Drifters’ majestic original “Please Stay” (with Bob Hilliard’s lyrics) to The Persuaders’ loose cover. Though genre lines are blurred on many tracks, one factor is crystal-clear: the versatility and adaptability of Bacharach’s melodies and – most frequently – Hal David’s lyrics.  The Atlantic Sound of Burt Bacharach handily supersedes 1996’s Atlantic Bacharach Collection (East West Japan, AMCY-879).

Both the Warner and Atlantic volumes share similar designs, and are housed in thick jewel cases with OBI strips.  60+ page booklets include liner notes in Japanese, lyrics in both Japanese and English, and discographical information for each song (date and title of release, catalogue number, producer, chart information) in English.  Another insert has full-color images of the LPs and singles from which the tracks were derived.  Isao Kikuchi has remastered both volumes.

The Warner Sound of Burt Bacharach and The Atlantic Sound of Burt Bacharach are two of the more essential Bacharach volumes to have been released of late, with numerous tracks unavailable elsewhere.  They’re both available now.  They can be ordered from merchants including Dusty Groove and Amazon.com; you’ll find Amazon links just below!

Various Artists, The Atlantic Sound of Burt Bacharach (Warner Music Japan WPCR-15098/9, 2013) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

CD 1: Atlantic Ladies

  1. What the World Needs Now is Love (Mono) – Carla Thomas (Stax LP 706, 1966)
  2. Always Something There to Remind Me – Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles (LP SD-8147, 1967)
  3. Any Day Now – Carla Thomas (Stax LP 718, 1967)
  4. The Look of Love – Carmen McRae (LP SD 8143, 1967)
  5. Reach Out for Me – The Sweet Inspirations (single 45-2465, 1967/LP SD 8155, 1968)
  6. I Say a Little Prayer – Aretha Franklin (single 45-2546/LP SD 8186, 1968)
  7. In the Land of Make Believe – Leslie Uggams (single 45-2524-B/LP SD 8196, 1968)
  8. Alfie – The Sweet Inspirations (LP SD 8201, 1968)
  9. What the World Needs Now is Love – The Sweet Inspirations (single 45-2571/LP SD 8201, 1968)
  10. What the World Needs Now is Love – Leslie Uggams (LP SD 8196, 1968)
  11. Any Old Time of Day – Leslie Uggams (LP SD 8196, 1968)
  12. Let the Music Play – Leslie Uggams (LP SD 8196, 1968)
  13. Let Me Be Lonely – The Sweet Inspirations (LP SD 8225, 1969)
  14. This Girl’s in Love with You – Aretha Franklin (LP SD 8248, 1970)
  15. (Don’t Go) Please Stay – Lulu (Atco LP 33-330, 1970)
  16. They Long to Be Close to You (Live) – Carmen McRae (LP SD 2-904, 1972)
  17. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart – Aretha Franklin (single 45-3224-B/LP SD 18116, 1974)
  18. You’ll Never Get to Heaven – Aretha Franklin (SD 18116, 1974)
  19. Baby It’s You – Stacy Lattislaw and Johnny Gill (Cotillion single 99750/single 9013-1, 1984)
  20. Alfie – Rumer (single ATUK098CD, 2010)
  21. Some Lovers – Rumer (single ATUK098CD, 2010)

CD 2: Atlantic Men and Jazz

  1. Please Stay – The Drifters (single 45-2105-A, 1961)
  2. Loneliness or Happiness – The Drifters (single 45-2117-B, 1961)
  3. Mexican Divorce – The Drifters (single 45-2134-B, 1962)
  4. Let the Music Play – The Drifters (single 45-2182-B, 1963)
  5. In the Land of Make Believe – The Drifters (single 45-2216-B, 1963)
  6. Don’t Say I Didn’t Tell You So – Herbie Mann (LP SD 1454, 1966)
  7. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart – Sergio Mendes (LP SD 1466, 1966)
  8. They Don’t Give Medals to Yesterday’s Heroes (Mono) – Ben E. King (Atco single 45-6454/LP UK 587 072, 1967)
  9. I Say a Little Prayer – Sergio Mendes (LP SD 8177, 1968)
  10. The Look of Love (Mono) – Vanilla Fudge (Atco single 45-6554, 1968)
  11. The Look of Love – King Curtis (Atco LP SD 33-247, 1968)
  12. I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself (Mono) – Brook Benton (Cotillion single 45-44007, 1968/LP SD 9002, 1969)
  13. What the World Needs Now is Love – The Freedom Sounds feat. Wayne Henderson (LP SD 1512, 1968)
  14. Any Day Now (Mono) – Percy Sledge (single 45-2616, 1969)
  15. Walk On By – Arif Mardin (LP SD 8222, 1969)
  16. This Guy’s in Love with You – Roy Ayers (LP SD 1538, 1969)
  17. Always Something There to Remind Me – R.B. Greaves (Atco single 45-6726/LP SD 33-311, 1969)
  18. Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head – Young-Holt Unlimited (Cotillion LP SD 18001, 1970)
  19. Twenty Four Hours from Tulsa – The Assembled Multitude (LP SD 8262, 1970)
  20. Close to You – Richard Evans (LP SD 1604, 1972)
  21. Please Stay – The Persuaders (LP SD 7021, 1973)
  22. You’ll Never Get to Heaven – Rahsaan Roland Kirk (LP SD 2-907, 1974)
  23. Anyone Who Had a Heart – Nino Tempo (CD 7 82142-2, 1990)

Various Artists, The Warner Sound of Burt Bacharach (Warner Music Japan WPCR-15100/1, 2013) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

CD 1

  1. Don’t Make Me Over – Dionne Warwick (Scepter single 1239, 1962)
  2. And This is Mine (Mono) – Connie Stevens (Warner Bros. single 5217-B, 1961)
  3. You’re Following Me – Caterina Valente (Decca LP LK 4604, 1963)
  4. Forgive Me (For Giving You Such a Bad Time) (Mono) – Noeleen Batley (Festival single FK 488, 1964)
  5. What’s New Pussycat (Mono) – Shelby Flint (Valiant single V-722, 1965)
  6. (There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me – The Four Seasons (Philips LP PHS 600-193, 1965)
  7. Made in Paris (Mono) – Trini Lopez (Reprise single 0435, 1966)
  8. My Little Red Book (Mono) – Love (Elektra single EK-45603, 1966)
  9. Promise Her Anything – Marty Paich (Reprise LP RS 6206, 1966)
  10. Cross Town Bus – The Gals and Pals (Sweden Metronome LP MLP 15.246, 1966)
  11. Trains and Boats and Planes – The Everly Brothers (Warner Bros. LP WS 1676, 1967)
  12. The Look of Love – The Anita Kerr Singers (Warner Bros. LP WS 1724, 1967)
  13. What the World Needs Now is Love – Buddy Greco (Reprise LP RS 6256, 1967)
  14. Walk On By – Morgana King (Reprise LP RS 6257, 1967)
  15. Long After Tonight is All Over – The Paris Sisters (Reprise LP RS 6259, 1967)
  16. Me, Japanese Boy (I Love You) – Harpers Bizarre (Warner Bros. LP WS 1739, 1968)
  17. Baby It’s You (Mono) – Jeff Phillips (Festival single FK-2657/EP FX 11,585, 1968)
  18. Du Ser En Man (This Guy’s in Love with You) – Svante Thuresson (Sweden Metronome LP MLP 15.322, 1968)
  19. Sen Drommer Jag En Stund Om Dej (I Say a Little Prayer) – Siw Malmkvist (Sweden Metronome LP MLP 15,324, 1968)
  20. I Wake Up Crying – The Watts 103rd Steet Rhythm Band (Warner Bros. LP WS 1761, 1969)
  21. The Look of Love – Tony Joe White (Monument LP SLP 18114, 1969)
  22. What the World Needs Now is Love – Tiny Tim (Reprise single 0867/LP RS 6351, 1969)
  23. I’ll Never Fall in Love Again – Ella Fitzgerald (Reprise single 0875/LP RS 6354, 1969)
  24. Non Mi Innamono Piu (I’ll Never Fall in Love Again) – Johnny Dorelli and Catherine Spaak (CDG single N 9772-B, 1970)
  25. Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head – Liberace (Warner Bros. LP WS 1847, 1970)
  26. Mexican Divorce – Nicolette Larson (Warner Bros. LP BSK 3243, 1978)

CD 2

  1. Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do) – Christopher Cross (Warner Bros. single WBS 49787, 1981)
  2. Are You There with Another Girl – Mari Wilson (The Compact Organization LP COMP 2, 1983)
  3. Stronger Than Before – Chaka Khan (Warner Bros. LP 25162, 1984)
  4. Alfie – Everything But the Girl (Blanco y Negro single NEG 23-B, 1986)
  5. In My Reality – Natalie Cole (Elektra CD 9 61114-2, 1987)
  6. Windows of the World – The Pretenders (Polydor single 887 816-7, 1988)
  7. Any Old Time of Day – Earl Klugh (Warner Bros. CD 9 26108-2, 1988)
  8. Sing for the Children – James Ingram (Warner Bros. CD 45275-2, 1993)
  9. Two Hearts – Earth Wind and Fire (Reprise CD 9 45274-2/single 2-18249, 1994)
  10. Don’t Say Goodbye Girl – Tevin Campbell (Qwest CD 9 45388-2, 1993/single 9 41786-2, 1994)
  11. Anyone Who Had a Heart – Linda Ronstadt (Elektra CD 61545-2, 1993)
  12. The Look of Love – Anita Baker (Elektra CD 61555-2, 1994)
  13. Please Stay – Elvis Costello (Warner Bros. CD 9 45903-2, 1995)
  14. Is There Anybody Out There – Mari Ijima (East West CD AMCM-4224, 1995)
  15. Let Me Be the One – Marilyn Scott (Warner Bros. CD 46342-2, 1996)
  16. Tell It to Your Heart – Randy Crawford (Warner Bros. CD 9 89273-2, 2000)
  17. (They Long to Be) Close to You – Tamia feat. Gerald Levert (Elektra CD 62847-2, 2004)

5 Responses

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  1. “…..the Sunset Strip rockers’ version is today better known than the Manfred Mann original.”

    But not better. The melody is too delicate for the likes of Arthur Lee, who I believe manhandles the thing.

    1 in the middle

    October 1, 2013 at 10:48

  2. I would love to get both of these. Lots of great versions of these songs I don’t have. But man, are they expensive!!!
    Very excited to see not one, but two tracks from Rumer included. She is easily my favorite female vocalist of the past 20 years or so.

    Scott

    October 1, 2013 at 13:17

    • Hear, hear, Scott! I’m sure Rumer doesn’t wish to be pigeonholed – and boy, she certainly is a talented songwriter, too. But where is the inevitable RUMER SINGS BACHARACH album? It’s practically a crime that it doesn’t exist yet, especially considering the number of Bacharach songs she’s sublimely performed live, i.e. “Hasbrook Heights” with Dionne, “Trains and Boats and Planes” with Sandie Shaw, “What the World Needs Now is Love,” “A House is Not a Home”…

      Joe Marchese

      October 1, 2013 at 13:25

      • Thanks, Joe, for posting this. I remember seeing the pre-orders and then I forgot about them. Just ordered – and wow – the tracklistings are great.

        You’ve done a fantastic job updating fans about the Bacharach and Warwick reissues/compilations.

        Tom

        October 1, 2013 at 14:19

  3. As an owner of the boxes “The Look Of Love” and this years “The Art Of The Songwriter” I’m glad there’s only a few (three I think) recurrences on these two editions which both seems yummy. And Svante, Siw and Gals & Pals makes of course a Swede proud.

    Magnus Hägermyr

    October 1, 2013 at 16:45


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