Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Old Friend, New Friends - Painted From Memory

Once upon a time, around twenty five years ago, I lived in a lovely apartment just off Lake Merritt. As in most apartment buildings, tenants' could easily hear other tenants' goings on. It was during this time, that in addition to listening to quite a variety of Classical, Jazz and Pop, that I felt impelled to re acquaint myself with some of the wonderful music I had heard growing up in the 60's and early 70's. Namely, the music of Burt Bacharach with a young Dionne Warwick. This glorious music, tunes like: Alfie, Are You There (With Another Girl), The Windows Of The World, I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself and many others, seemed to play on happily and continually for months. While I listened contentedly, my neighbors could be heard screaming, "Put something else on already!" I could listen on and on to these arrangements, orchestrations, and beautiful vocals, but may have over estimated my neighbors' appetite. Now I live in a charming apartment in Bethesda, where the sounds of the new Burt Bacharach/Elvis Costello release Painted From Memory, has filled the air and begun seeping through the walls. I fear this may continue for a long time. Painted From Memory was composed and produced by Bacharach and Costello. In it they combine moving lyrics with tuneful melody for great emotional impact. Gorgeous orchestrations of lush, sweeping and vibrant strings, along with soul filled singing define these songs of love, loss and longing. On tunes such as In The Darkest Place, I Still Have That Girl, and This House Is Empty Now (the obvious sequel to A House Is Not A Home), Costello pleads with former, present and future loves. This is an exceptional work. A rare one, without misstep. In recent years a lot of attention has been paid to the music of Burt Bacharach. McCoy Tyner and his Trio recorded a fine CD of Bacharach's music accompanied by symphony orchestra. Bill Frisell, Joey Baron, Marc Ribot and other somewhat avant musicians recorded an eclectic take of his music for a CD titled Great Jewish Music: Burt Bacharach. And his influence is unmistakable in the works of pop greats Pizzicato Five. Particularly on tunes like Fortune Cookie from their The Sound Of Music CD. This music should be appealing to you as well. Along with Copland, Gershwin, and Ellington, Bacharach is one of the most important and prolific American Composers of this century. His collaborations with Warwick and Costello have been particularly fruitful. So, if by any chance, you hear these sounds wafting in through your home, pay careful attention. Better yet, run do not walk to the closest CD shop and buy a copy or two. Pick up a new Costello and an old Dionne Warwick. You will be amply rewarded.


  1. Thanks for this lovely little trip down memory lane.

  2. Hello Tess,

    Thanks for stopping by! Glad you enjoyed the ride.