Presenting Dionne Warwick

Dionne Warwick

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Presenting Dionne Warwick Review

by Lindsay Planer

The aptly titled Presenting Dionne Warwick (1963) was the vocalist's first long-player and quickly established the artist as a suitable vehicle for interpreting the quirky pop melodies of Burt Bacharach (music) and Hal David (lyrics). She met the pair during the summer of 1961 as a background singer during the recording session for the Drifters' minor hit "Mexican Divorce," which had been penned by the lucrative pair. Their initial outing, "Don't Make Me Over," became the first of the alliances between Warwick and the songwriting team to hit the pop chart. The prolific nature of this collaboration resulted in Bacharach and David providing three-quarters of the tunes on this dozen-track album. Interestingly, despite having hits almost instantaneously, Scepter Records co-founder Florence Greenberg initially rejected "Don't Make Me Over" until it began to outperform "I Smiled Yesterday," which had been chosen as the A-side. It was not only her first hit, but in time it likewise distinguished itself as a signature catalog entry when it crossed over onto both the pop and R&B charts, respectively. Warwick's inviting voice was at the core of their successful working relationship, coupled with the undeniably unique and expertly crafted material, yielding a host of classics such as "Wishin' and Hopin'." The version here predates Dusty Springfield's rendering and was likewise much of the reason Springfield chose to cover it to begin with. Other seminal entries featured on Presenting Dionne Warwick are "Make It Easy on Yourself" and the lovelorn melancholy ballad "I Cry Alone," as well as the unique arrangement of "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah." In 1995, Sequel Records began reissuing vintage Warwick LPs, pairing Presenting with the 1964 follow-up, Anyone Who Had a Heart, on a double-play CD. [Collectors Choice reissued the album in 2007.]

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