Dionne Warwick

Just Being Myself

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After 1971's Dionne, Dionne Warwick had to look for new producers and songwriters because her main team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David split up right after working on the record. She turned to former Motown hitmakers Eddie Holland, Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier and released Just Being Myself in 1973. The album's title is somewhat ironic because Holland, Dozier and Holland removed Warwick from the creative process, basically asking her to record her vocals over previously recorded backing tracks. Not that most of what they came up with was too far from what she had been recording before since the bulk of the record is made up of lush, orchestrated ballads like "I Always Get Caught Out in the Rain," "You Are the Heart of Me," and "Don't Let My Teardrops Bother You." Her new producers are just as fond of piping trumpets and cascading strings, they just are more straightforward and come from a more soulful direction. The gospel-ly backing vocals and occasional wah-wah guitars that pop up here regularly would never show up on a Bacharach record, and some of the tracks like the title track and "Come Back" have a feel that conjures up an improbable meeting between Bacharach and Curtis Mayfield. Indeed the best track here, "You're Gonna Need Me," is a perfect blend of the drama of Warwick's delivery and the razor-wire drama of a Mayfield production that should have been a monster hit. Instead it came out as the B-Side to " (I'm) Just Being Myself" and only came to light when it was sampled by Usher on "Throwback." Just Being Myself never caught on with either the pop or the urban buyers, maybe it straddled the line too much, but in retrospect it is a very interesting and successful record that shows Warwick could be a convincing soul singer and despite her qualms, could succeed, artistically anyway, away from the warm embrace of a Bacharach/David production.

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