Film Music Review
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Bacharach is Back!

In celebration of the new Burt Bacharach memoir, Anyone Who Had A Heart: My Life and Music , here is a retro CD review from 1999 of Bacharach's film songs and themes from the 1960s to 1980s:




Various singers, Burt Bacharach, Marvin Hamlisch.  
Compilation produced by Jim Pierson and Dana G. Smart.
Hip-O Records CD HIPD-64566.  

Rating: ***1/2      

Track Titles:

1.   Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head - Burt Bacharach

2.   The Look of Love - soundtrack version sung by Dusty Springfield

3.   Lost Horizon - sung by Shawn Phillips

4.   Something Big - sung by Mark Lindsay

5.   The April Fools - Marvin Hamlisch

6.   Finder of Lost Loves - sung by Dionne Warwick with Glenn Jones

7.   What's New Pussycat? - sung by Tom Jones

8.   A House is Not a Home - Burt Bacharach

9.   Rome Will Never Leave You - sung by Richard Chamberlain

10. (The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance - sung by Gene Pitney

11. Casino Royale - Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass

12. Made in Paris - sung by Trini Lopez

13. Long Ago Tomorrow - sung by B.J. Thomas

14. Seconds - sung by Gladys Knight & The Pips

15. Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do) - sung by Christopher Cross

16. Love is My Decision - sung by Chris DeBurgh

17. The Best of Times - Burt Bacharach


Here is a compilation that any Bacharach fan can really enjoy.  Long before his appearance in AUSTIN POWERS, Bacharach seemed to own the airwaves in the 1960's, and his movie songs were among the most popular of that decade.  Many of those songs and later ones from the 1970s and '80s are included in this collection.

Rather than the familiar vocal, the collection opens with an instrumental version of the Oscar-winning song from BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID.  This is an underrated film score and the song arrangement demonstrates its value admirably.

Next comes my favorite Bacharach song, "The Look of Love," taken from the soundtrack version of CASINO ROYALE.  This memorable song, sung by a sultry-voiced Dusty Springfield, should have won the Oscar in 1967 instead of the silly song, "Talk to the Animals," from DOCTOR DOLITTLE.  

Other songs I especially liked are:  

--"Something Big" (wonderful Hal David lyrics, 1971)- what a delightfully catchy arrangement by John D'Andrea and my favorite feel-good song on this album!

--"(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance" (Hal David lyrics, 1962) - another great arrangement, this one by Chuck Sagle

--"Love is My Decision" (lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager, 1988) - the best arrangement of the lot, by Bacharach himself, with a gradual buildup of the memorable theme (or "hook"), put across with increasing emotion by British pop-rock singer, Chris DeBurgh and accompanying chorus. This is a real arm waving film song classic from ARTHUR II. 

Some of the best known Bacharach songs are also here:

The Oscar-nominated song from 1965, "What's New Pussycat?" (Hal David lyrics, 1965) ; and the 1981 Oscar-winning song, " Arthur's Theme" (lyrics by Peter Allen, Carole Bayer Sager and Chistopher Cross).  

There are also a few pleasant surprises:  

--Richard Chamberlain's fine singing "Rome Will Never Leave You" (Hal David lyrics, 1964) from the Dr. Kildare TV series

--"Made in Paris" (Hal David lyrics, 1966), a really hip '60's song sensitively sung by Trini Lopez

--"Long Ago Tomorrow" (Hal David lyrics, 1971), another memorable Bacharach melody, beautifully sung by B.J. Thomas. 

There are also some unfortunate misfires in this collection.  

The title song from the remake of LOST HORIZON (1973) is a mediocre song from a terrible film, even though nicely sung by Shawn Phillips.  Another less than memorable song is"Seconds" (1974) from PROMISES, PROMISES, sung by Gladys Knight & The Pips.  But those are minor flaws in this outstanding collection of songs and themes.

The foldout booklet has brief but very good notes by Jon Burlingame.  

If you are a big Bacharach fan, like me, then you must get this compilation for your film music collection.

It's really groovy, baby!



-- Roger Hall, August 1999







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