Here I Am: Isley Meets Bacharach – Live (2003)
November 29, 2007
This is the CD I misplaced when I sat down to blog about it a few weeks back. Found it (LOL) .
Anyway, I first got wind of this CD after catching the tail end of the PBS concert that this live CD came from. Since I missed the show and PBS has a history of repeating everything EXCEPT what I really want to see – I went out to make the purchase assuming that with the great standards written by Burt Bacharach and his writing partners and the smooth silky tenor of Ron Isley that the CD couldn’t miss. But the CD wasn’t what I thought it would or should be.
My main issue was that some of the songs were slowed down so much tempo-wise that the great bouncy melodies were no longer recognizable: turning a two minute classic pop ditty into a 5 minute ballad doesn’t always work IMHO. Cases in point are are “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” and “Close To You”.
But the songs that were already slow in tempo, that were kept that way, were great. The songs that fit this bill were Tracks 4,5,6,8, and 10.
1. Alfie – original recorded by Dionne Warwick. This slower version has grown on me after repeated listenings.
2. Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head – Tempo slowed down far too much. The melody is hardly recognizable anymore. I prefer B.J. Thomas’ original recording.
3. In Between The Heartaches – I was not familiar with this song but I enjoy this cut.
4. Make it Easy on Yourself – Dionne’s original and Jerry Butler’s remake of this great tune have been my favorites to date, but Ron does a great job and interprets it in his own style.
5. A House Is Not A Home – Another Dionne original successfully covered by many, but Luther Vandross’ (RIP) cover has got to be the most famous and beautiful version of all. Again Ron performs the song in his own style and it stands on it’s own as another great version of a classic.
6. The Look Of Love. Ron nails this cover. Now that’s what I’m talking about! He made this song his own. See what I mean?
Oh, and click on the song’s title link above, to read about it’s interesting history. Stan Getz’s instrumental version in the 50s was the first recording. Wiki neglected to mention that, but they do write on the subsequent evolution of the song from instrumental to vocal. Quite an interesting transition.
7. Count On Me – Very nice new song.
8. This Guy’s In Love With You – Ron made a new classic covering this original Dionne tune. Good job. Great lyric. Great melody. Great Song!
9. Close To You – Tempo slowed down too much. Plus with Ron singing slightly behind the beat it seemed even slower. I think The Carpenters original version is better.
10. Anyone Who Had a Heart. I love this song: I think this might have been the first Dionne/Bacharach song I ever heard. It was so different from anything else out at the time and it holds up decades later! Ron performs this cover is great and Bacharach didn’t muck around changing the orchestration 180 degrees from the original. Well done.
11. Love’s (Still) The Answer – Great new song destined to become a classic.
12. Here I Am
13. Windows of the World – This was never a fave song but this version, again, has been slowed down to almost obscure the melody line.
Here’s a short partial promotional video clip about the making of the CD.
Needless to say the CD has grown on me since I first purchased it — but I still tend to skip over “Raindrops” and “Close to You”.