wed 11/12/2019

CD: Dionne Warwick – Now | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Dionne Warwick – Now

CD: Dionne Warwick – Now

A compromised celebration of the 50th anniversary of the release of Warwick's first hit

Dionne Warwick's 'Now': impenetrable, satin-smooth arrangements

The songs are instantly recognisable. Bacharach & David’s “Don’t Make Me Over” “There's Always Something There to Remind me”, “I Say a Little Prayer” and “Make it Easy on Yourself” will always be evocative. So will Dionne Warwick’s voice, though it’s huskier these days. Now sits the old alongside a brace of new songs, two by Burt Bacharach and one with a lyric by Hal David, the last he wrote.

Another of the 50th anniversaries washing up right now was the impetus for Now. In this case, it’s been a half-century since the release of Warwick’s first single, “Don’t Make Me Over”. It must have been poignant looking back and working again on the music of Bacharach and David, partly because Warwick sued the duo for breach of contract in the Seventies. The release of Now comes soon after Hal David's death. She has also dealt with the death of her cousin, Whitney Houston.

The new takes on the classics the glossily Phil Ramone-produced Now offers struggle to escape the weight of history. Unlike the joy which Neil Sedaka brought to his recent return to old songs, Warwick’s delivery can’t escape the cotton wool smothering the songs. Bacharach’s new “Love is Still the Answer” has a gentle, intimate melody. But the impenetrable sheen of the satin-smooth arrangements and production prevent it from weightlessly soaring. This is a voice which demands space. “I Say a Little Prayer” – recorded here as a duet with her son David Elliott – has lost its swing. Only “Reach Out” lifts off. Warwick is a great. It is always wonderful to hear her sing. Now celebrates her longevity, but in being so careful it forgets to celebrate her magnificent voice.

Visit Kieron Tyler’s blog

Dionne Warwick performs 'Don’t Make Me Over' in 1963

 

The new takes on the classics struggle to escape the weight of history

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