Burt Bacharach

Easy Loungin' Collection, Vol. 3

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The vast majority of retrospectives documenting composer Burt Bacharach's classic work with lyricist Hal David have focused on other artists' interpretations of the duo's pop standards, and for good reason -- when you write songs for singers the caliber of a Dionne Warwick or a Dusty Springfield, it goes without saying that your own records are going to get lost in the shuffle. And to be blunt, few listeners really need to investigate the solo albums Bacharach cut for A&M during the late 1960s and early 1970s -- Rhino's three-disc The Look of Love remains the authoritative collection of radio hits made famous by Warwick, Springfield, Gene Pitney, and others, and at 75 songs, it's probably the only Bacharach set the average pop aficionado will ever need. But for true acolytes, the solo LPs are a fascinating alternate history of these classic songs, their often idiosyncratic instrumentation and dreamscape ambience evoking not only Bacharach's consummate skills as a tunesmith, but also his uniquely evocative mastery of arrangement. Easy Loungin' Collection III is an excellent introduction to this solo work, compiling 20 tracks highlighting the best of Bacharach's A&M output; highlights include his creaky vocal rendition of "Something Big," "Pacific Coast Highway," and "Nikki."

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