Burt Bacharach

Living Together

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The ten songs on Living Together all feature Burt Bacharach on piano, but that's where the similarity to his hit recordings ends. This album plays with less commercial viability than one would expect; it's a lush and elegant exercise and pleasant listening experience, but not easy to grasp. "Long Ago Tomorrow" is mostly instrumental, with voices coming in as additional instrumentation -- it could very well be an outtake from a Broadway show. "Something Big" starts off like Simon & Garfunkel but quickly moves to that "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?" sound of a Dionne Warwick record, which is what listeners expect from Bacharach. The Fifth Dimension did put out "Living Together, Growing Together" as the title track of their 1973 Bell album, Bacharach truncating that for the title of this album, Living Together. The Fifth Dimension did crack the Top 40 with the song, their last of 20 chart hits, in fact, and 18th in terms of popularity. Their version was featured in the Peter Finch film Lost Horizon. Tony Middleton and the always exquisite Cissy Houston do the vocals on "I Come to You," but the song is not his most memorable and this album is a far cry from Burt Bacharach Plays His Hits or A Tribute to Burt Bacharach, Composer, Arranger, Conductor. "Monterey Peninsula" a good case in point: It's a jazzy instrumental piece connecting "Something Big" with "I Come to You." "Walk the Way You Talk" would make Mantovani proud. Heck, Mantovani did "Ari's Theme in 1961 and Bacharach did "Arthur's Theme" in 1981, and Bacharach must have certainly looked up to that orchestra leader, but the heartfelt vocal on "The Balance of Nature" is really what the fans expected with the Engelbert Humperdinck-style cover photo, and it comes off as one of the most appealing tracks on the album. This is said with all due respect: Living Together is Muzak with integrity, and makes for good background music while cleaning house.

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