Our “Black America Sings…” series has already turned the soulful spotlight on the compositions of Bob Dylan, Lennon & McCartney and Otis Redding. Now it’s the turn of Bacharach and David.
Burt Bacharach’s music and the lyrics of Hal David have been appreciated by black American artists for over 50 years. Dionne Warwick was the first to record many of their songs and by doing so made them visible to others as a source of hits or album tracks. The pair had no finer interpreter than Warwick– with the possible exception of her male counterpart Lou Johnson – but all the acts included here demonstrate the quality of their work.
The song titles here speak for themselves, and the reputations of the artists are enough to guarantee quality performances. Every listener will have their own favourites. I have more than a few, but am especially fond of Dionne Warwick’s original demo of ‘Make It Easy On Yourself’, Ruby & the Romantics’ ‘I Cry Alone’ and Isaac Hayes’ elegant elongation of ‘I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself’. There are many other highlights, but if these three tracks can’t sell you on the project, nothing will.
Plans are underway to extend the “Black America Sings…” series, with the next instalment due later this year. In the meantime, here are two dozen of Bacharach and David’s best-known compositions performed by some of the finest soul artists of the 1960s and 70s.
By Tony Rounce