Let the Music Play: Black America Sings Bacharach & David

Let the Music Play: Black America Sings Bacharach & David


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The conceit behind Ace's 2014 compilation Let the Music Play: Black America Sings Bacharach & David isn't as idiosyncratic as it was for other similar Ace compilations covering the times when Black America sang the Beatles or Bob Dylan. Where Lennon & McCartney and Dylan performed their own songs, Burt Bacharach and Hal David were a songwriting team who existed behind the scenes, turning over tunes to singers who would turn them into hits. Often, those singers were African-American, including Dionne Warwick, whose elegance was an ideal match for the sophistication of Bacharach's melodies. Warwick opens this 24-track set with "Make It Easy on Yourself," an album track, not one of her big hits, which gives a good idea of the sensibility behind this compilation. There are plenty of standards here -- "My Little Red Book," "Always Something There to Remind Me," "Alfie," "The Look of Love," "Anyone Who Had a Heart," "Walk on By," "What the World Needs Now Is Love," "(They Long to Be) Close To You" -- but aside from Aretha Franklin's "I Say a Little Prayer," there isn't a hit version to be heard. This speaks to just how often Bacharach & David were covered in the '60s -- apart from Gloria Gaynor's disco-fied "Walk on By" from 1975, everything here was recorded between 1963 and 1971 -- and, indeed, there are several selections that were cut but sat in the vaults until some archival reissue in the '90s or 2000s. Far from scraping the bottom of the barrel, this emphasis on album tracks, unheard material, and semi-flop singles just reiterates both the depth of the Bacharach/David songbook and the strength of the '60s studio system. Most of these records sound like conceivable hits; certainly the songs often were hits, but the versions are rich, handsome, orchestrated pop-soul, the kind of thing that defined much of the sound of the '60s. For much of Let the Music Play, the compilation is devoted to this lush pop, the sound that's synonymous with Bacharach & David, but the last five cuts find some artists who brought the songwriters into the '70s; there's Gaynor's aforementioned disco single, Bobby Womack finding slow-burning funk in "(They Long to Be) Close to You," Gladys Knight & the Pips' smooth soul on "One Less Bell to Answer," and Isaac Hayes' melodramatic "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself." These are the selections that offer reinterpretations, but the rest of the set delivers what is expected from Bacharach & David, and is plenty satisfying for doing so.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/08/2014
Label: Imports
UPC: 0029667059121
catalogNumber: 2517779
Rank: 61036


  1. Make It Easy On Yourself
  2. My Little Red Book
  3. Long After Tonight is All Over
  4. Another Tear Falls
  5. I Say a Little Prayer
  6. Message To Martha
  7. This Empty Place
  8. In the Land of Make Believe
  9. I Cry Alone
  10. Let the Music Play
  11. Always Something There to Remind Me
  12. The Last One To Be Loved
  13. Reach Out For Me
  14. Alfie
  15. (There Goes) the Forgotten Man
  16. The Look of Love
  17. Anyone Who Had a Heart
  18. What the World Needs Now is Love
  19. Walk On By
  20. (They Long To Be) Close To You
  21. One Less Bell To Answer
  22. I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself
  23. Don't Make Me Over
  24. A House is Not a Home

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Burt Bacharach   Conductor
Alan Lorber   Conductor
Thom Bell   Conductor
Garry Sherman   Conductor

Technical Credits

Steve Cropper   Producer
Bobby Womack   Producer
Dave Pell   Producer
Burt Bacharach   Arranger,Composer,Producer
David Axelrod   Producer
Jerry Leiber   Producer
Alan Lorber   Arranger
Van McCoy   Arranger,Producer
Jerry Williams   Producer
Thom Bell   Arranger
Tony Bongiovi   Producer
Perry Botkin   Arranger
Quinton Claunch   Producer
Hal David   Composer,Producer
Jay Ellis   Producer
Bob Finiz   Producer
Jim Foglesong   Producer
Isaac Hayes   Producer
Charles Koppelman   Producer
Arif Mardin   Arranger
Clay McMurray   Producer
Meco Monardo   Arranger
Richard Rome   Arranger,Producer
Don Rubin   Producer
Garry Sherman   Arranger
Allen Stanton   Producer
Mike Stoller   Producer
Dale Warren   Arranger
Jerry Wexler   Producer
Tony Rounce   Liner Notes
Sammy Lowe   Arranger
Danny Davis   Producer
Nick De Caro   Producer
Rudolph Russell   Producer

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