Favorite Warwick/Bacharach/David Studio Album?

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Favorite Warwick/Bacharach/David Studio Album?

Post by face »

With Dionne being in the news so much these days, I have been revisiting her early work just to remind myself of how she made her mark in the first place. Since this forum has spent so much energy lately fleshing out her failings, I thought it would be fun to dedicate this thread to fleshing out Dionne's classic work with our beloved Bacharach and David. To that end, please answer the following question: What is your favorite Dionne/Burt/Hal Scepter album, and why? For purposes of this thread, let's exclude the live albums (Live in Paris, Decade of Gold) and, obviously, the ones that didn't involve Bacharach and David (Soulful, Magic of Believing, From Within). Reasonable minds can disagree, but it would be fun to hear your thoughts.

I'll start off: it's a toss up between Here I Am and The Windows of the World for me. Here I Am contains what is undeniably some of Burt and Hal's most sophisticated music ever: "Here I Am," "In Between the Heartaches," "If I Ever Make You Cry," "Looking With My Eyes," "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," "Window Wishin," in particular. Practically every song is a musical marvel. Dionne's voice was agile, lithe, and never forced. She nails every song, and I couldn't imagine anyone else doing these songs justice. Indeed, few have attempted to cover these songs, to my knowledge. Finally, this is the only Dionne album where she plays piano ("This Little Light"), which makes it special on its own, and she looks gorgeous on the album cover. Need I say more?

The Windows of the World doesn't have quite the same level of material as Here I Am, but it does contain some of the fullest and best singing of Dionne's career. Her voice was particularly supple on this album, and all of its textures were on display. She sang the big show stoppers with unusual gusto ("What's Good About Goodbye," "Somewhere," and "You're Gonna Hear from Me"), but the patented light touch was employed with equal impact ("The Windows of the World," "I Say a Little Prayer"). In those days, her voice occasionally veered to a nasal/strained sound when she was going full throttle, but that never happens on this album. Here, she really was the precursor to later belters like Whitney. This is also one of the few times where Burt channeled the youthful, thumping sound of Motown ("The Beginnings of Loneliness"). I can't really explain why I love this album so much, but I just find it more satisfying than Valley of the Dolls, which came next and, in my opinion, sounds more dated than this one because Burt started using trendier touches like that groovy organ!

Okay, those are my votes. How about you?

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Re: Favorite Warwick/Bacharach/David Studio Album?

Post by BachtoBacharach »

For me, it's hard to pick one album from her Scepter days but Here I Am is in a tie with I'll Never Fall In Love Again for my personal favourite. Let Me Go To Him and Paper Mache are wonderful Bacharach/David compositions and she soars on Let Me Go To Him. In Between Heartaches has long been one of the tunes I listen to over and over and Window Wishing was the precursor of many of the tunes with the same unmistakable Bacharach/David/Warwick sound, I.e. ISALP, As Long as There's an Apple Tree, Walking Backwards Down the Road, DYKTWTSJ, and others. Her best tune never on a original studio album? In my opinion, hands down it's the hauntingly beautiful The April Fools. What breathtaking songwriting craft and what phrasing from Dionne!

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Re: Favorite Warwick/Bacharach/David Studio Album?

Post by maestrofan »

Still trying to decide on my favorite(s). ...... Adding to BtoB's - favorite tunes never to appear on a studio album - I'd like to add "Dream Sweet Dreamer" to that list.

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Re: Favorite Warwick/Bacharach/David Studio Album?

Post by gillanddon »

I'll second 'Here I Am' face!

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Re: Favorite Warwick/Bacharach/David Studio Album?

Post by face »

So, I listened to Here I Am and The Windows of the World (and Anyone Who Had a Heart, just for the heck of it) again this evening, just to remind myself. There's no question now that Here I Am is the superior album. All three (BB/HD/DW) were at the top of their game. So many fantastic songs in one place!

B2B, I'll Never Fall in Love Again is a solid set, but for some reason it doesn't have the big Bacharach stamp of some of the other ones. I could be wrong, but wasn't a good portion of it turned over to other arrangers? There's just something less unique about it than earlier records like Here I Am. I also find that I prefer those mid-60s albums to the ones after, say, 1967 or 1968. David Nathan expressed a similar preference in his book, The Soulful Divas. As he wrote, great songs were certainly on every album that they did, but the "magic" was not as consistent towards the end. It has often been said that the trio's soulful edge was gradually worn down during their run, and there may be at least some truth to that. For example, compare Here I Am with Very Dionne or the 1972 Dionne album, and you'll hear that they had softened things up quite a bit by then--even more than the changing times and tastes would dictate. I love all of their work, but the emotional impact of their really fertile, creative period (1964-68) is hard to beat. Of course, their commercial peak was towards the end part of their run, so I may be in the minority.

I co-sign with "April Fools" and "Dream Sweet Dreamer" being the best tunes never to be on an album. "Message to Michael" wasn't on an album, either, but it isn't nearly as good as those two.

ron hertel
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Re: Favorite Warwick/Bacharach/David Studio Album?

Post by ron hertel »


First allow me to say: What a great idea for a topic at this particular time - focusing on the substance of some of their greatest collaborations. It's difficult to narrow it down to one or two albums since I think of my favorites in terms of individual songs. The album "Here I Am" is certainly toward the top of my list - it contains two of my all time favorites "Looking With My Eyes" along with "Are You There With Another Girl" ....... The album "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" is also up there and contains 3 more all time favorites "The Wine Is Young", "Loneliness Remembers What Happiness Forgets" and "Let Me Go To Him". ...... My third vote would have to go to Dionne's "Promises Promises" album. It contains one of the most emotional songs the trio ever put together "Who Is Gonna Love Me?" (an impeccable performance by Dionne). I can listen to that song over and over and never get tired of it. I'm sure others have recorded it but I've never heard any of them. The 3 songs from the play Promises Promises contained in Dionne's album are also very good - "Whoever You Are I Love You" and "Wanting Things" along with the title track. Another likable characteristic of the Promises album is the subtle nasal quality of the vocals heard on every track. Heard that it was recorded at a time when Dionne was dealing with the beginning of - or - the last remnants of a cold. I believe one of our forum participants addressed that some time ago.
I'd also like to add two more favorite songs to the list of songs not included on a Scepter album - "Odds & Ends" and "Who Gets The Guy"

Thanks again face! ....... a fun topic reminding us once again of this vast and incomparable body of work!


Bruce Bernard Williams
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Re: Favorite Warwick/Bacharach/David Studio Album?

Post by Bruce Bernard Williams »

My all-time favorite Warwick/Bacharach/David studio album is 1964's "Make Way For Dionne Warwick". What did it for me were three (3) consecutive tracks: "(They Long To Be) Close To You", "In The Land Of Make Believe", and "The Last One To Be Loved". I had never heard such beauty and magic until I heard those three (3) tracks and even to this day I believe that I never will. That album also contained three (3) huge hits: "Walk On By", "You'll Never Get To Heaven", and "Reach Out For Me". I just love "A House Is Not A Home" that starts the album and "Make The Night A Little Longer" which ends it. I remember reading the liner notes that stated that "This is a star on her way up" and thinking that she had ALREADY made it because of those three (3) hits aforementioned. I was a high school freshman when that album was released and all of my classmates had it and would bring their copies onto the school bus and pass them around and would discuss their favorite cuts just as we're doing now almost 50 years later. Dionne is a phenomenal vocalist and this topic that face chose to open up a discussion about is proof!

An Enormous BB Fan
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Re: Favorite Warwick/Bacharach/David Studio Album?

Post by An Enormous BB Fan »

It really is impossible for me to pick a favorite -- simply because Dionne's number of great Bacharach/David songs goes across so many years and so many albums. However, if you had a gun to my head, then I suppose that I would have to pick "Presenting Dionne Warwick" simply because it was Dionne's first album and because it was my first exposure to such a phenomenal singer and so many phenomenal songs. Burt's music simply did something to me that no other music ever did -- before or since. Add Dionne's voice and Hal's lyrics and my life was enriched -- from a music standpoint -- better than I could have imagined. So I suppose that I have to pick Dionne's first album. Forgetting all that other stuff, Dionne, Burt and Hal have been a very, very important part of my life -- and it all started with that first Dionne album.

Blair N. Cummings
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Re: Favorite Warwick/Bacharach/David Studio Album?

Post by Blair N. Cummings »

I got around having to make that decision years ago. I just ripped all the Bacharach/David songs from the Scepter/Warner albums and crammed them onto three discs. Because I was a newbie at the PC, they all assembled out of chronological order but that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I knew the sequence of all of those original recordings but my inadvertent mix surprises me whenever I listen to it. No need to select one album; this was unmatched musical serendipity. Maybe only Ella Fitzgerald`s classic "Songbook" recordings equal the work presented here. Those were the days....

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Re: Favorite Warwick/Bacharach/David Studio Album?

Post by saboor »

Is there such a significant difference between a mentor and teacher?

And wasn't it always clear that Warwick originally wanted to become a teacher and that at some points in her career she again seriously thought about going in to teaching?

Perhaps she would have had a more comfortable life if she had gone into teaching or had some mix like Cissy had.

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