Burt Bacharach

The Heart & Soul of Bacharach

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An interesting experiment in creative (and, importantly, inexpensive) licensing, Music Club's The Heart & Soul of Bacharach balances four or five Bacharach classics with an assortment of slightly more obscure covers, nearly all by excellent, first-rank artists. Sprinkled throughout are a few of the original hits, all produced by Bacharach himself: "What's New Pussycat?" by Tom Jones, "Make It Easy on Yourself" by the Walker Brothers, "Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa" by Gene Pitney, "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" by B.J. Thomas, and "I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself" by Dusty Springfield. British alternates Cilla Black and Sandie Shaw fill in for Dionne Warwick excellently on their contributions, while Andy Williams summons the melodrama necessary for the show-stopper "Alfie." Two latter-day versions fare less well; Gwen Guthrie's "(They Long to Be) Close to You" is an '80s recording and hard to reconcile with Bacharach's orchestral pop, while Al Green's version of "I Say a Little Prayer" -- dating from 1978 -- is a great performance despite a dated, only partially successful attempt to re-create the Hi sound.

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