Dionne Warwick

The Complete Warner Bros. Singles

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As a singer, Dionne Warwick has always been kind of an enigma. She grew up in a gospel family, but she isn't a gospel singer, and while she has some jazz phrasings when she sings, she isn't a jazz singer, either, and she doesn't do hard R&B; if Aretha Franklin is a soul singer, and she is, then Warwick is something else again, soulful, perhaps, but certainly not a soul shouter. She's the consummate pop singer, really, bringing a graceful delicacy and a smooth, easy lilt to everything she sings, making her a wonderful chill singer, bright and urbane. Warwick is best known for her collaborations with songwriters and producers Bert Bacharach and Hal David on a series of hits in the mid- and late '60s (including her signature song, "Walk on By," from 1964) on Scepter Records. Warwick left Scepter in 1971 and signed with Warner Bros. under a deal that also had Bacharach and David coming aboard as writers and producers. When the legendary songwriting team was forced to part ways after the critical and commercial failure of their musical remake of the film Lost Horizon, Warwick was not only left without the best creative team she ever worked with, she was legally forced to sue them in order to protect her own assets and recording contract. She remained with Warner Bros. until her contract was up in 1979, when she signed with Arista Records. Bacharach and David did produce one album for Warwick at Warner Bros., 1972's Dionne, but she also worked with Thom Bell and the Holland-Dozier-Holland team, among others, while at Warner Bros., so while it wasn't as bright a period as her Scepter one, it was still a decent recording period for her. This set collects most of the singles, both A- and B-sides, that she released while with the label (curiously, it doesn't include her classic and iconic duet with the Spinners, "Then Came You," from 1974), all in the original single mix versions (they were often remixed in alternate versions for her albums). The omission of the Spinners duet aside, it makes for a nice glimpse of a singular and unique singer transitioning into slightly different stylistic territory without losing her stride.

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