🎵 AotW AOTW: Burt Bacharach - FUTURES (SP-4622)

Rudy

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It's kind of amazing how much more wide-reaching the arrangements and vocals on Burt Bacharach are compared to the first two.

It's like a transition album from his first two, to albums like Futures and Woman where he records mostly originals vs. rehashing hits recorded by others. His redo of "Wives and Lovers," and "And the People Were With Her," are the two best tracks on that album, being long-form arrangements vs. three-minute hits. "Nikki" is also a highlight on that record.

But it's still interesting to see how he recast his hits on the first two albums. Unlike his Kapp album (where the arrangements, while not exact copies, had some familiarity with the hits), most of the songs on the first two are reworked compared to the hit versions.
 

Michael Hagerty

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It's like a transition album from his first two, to albums like Futures and Woman where he records mostly originals vs. rehashing hits recorded by others. His redo of "Wives and Lovers," and "And the People Were With Her," are the two best tracks on that album, being long-form arrangements vs. three-minute hits. "Nikki" is also a highlight on that record.

But it's still interesting to see how he recast his hits on the first two albums. Unlike his Kapp album (where the arrangements, while not exact copies, had some familiarity with the hits), most of the songs on the first two are reworked compared to the hit versions.
I don't have the album charts handy, but I think with BURT BACHARACH, Burt was reading the room. MAKE IT EASY ON YOURSELF (the album) was not a huge seller (if I recall correctly, REACH OUT went gold).

He was still culturally hot, especially among adults--"Nikki" got played at the beginning of every ABC Movie of the Week, and "One Less Bell to Answer" and "Close to You" had been recent big hit records.

He had to sense, though, that the days of his being the songwriter for number one pop records were nearing the end (a lot of changes going on in 1971), and that, as we've discussed here, instrumental covers (even of your own music) was a genre past its peak. So Burt decided to stretch, to create.

I think if LOST HORIZON had been a hit, Burt might have segued fully into movie scoring. But it wasn't, so he did what he did, and given what the cultural changes did to the careers of a lot of musicians of his generation, it worked out.
 

Rudy

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From what I gather from his bio, scoring music for anything was frustrating for him. Being the perfectionist, his work on the stage play Promises, Promises was a frustration since he could not control the pit orchestra. Every night, it would be played differently, and not to his high standards. With Butch Cassidy, at least he got to stretch himself a bit (witness "South American Getaway"), and still had control over the end product. It's also common in movie scoring that some of the music will be left on the cutting room floor, or to have the music edited, shortened, looped, etc. to fit a scene if changes were made once the music was recorded. He did record a handful of soundtracks past Lost Horizon, but in a few cases, the movies they were associated with were not that popular. As for successes, he scored parts of the movie Arthur and co-wrote the hit title track.

He had to sense, though, that the days of his being the songwriter for number one pop records were nearing the end (a lot of changes going on in 1971), and that, as we've discussed here, instrumental covers (even of your own music) was a genre past its peak. So Burt decided to stretch, to create.

That's the good thing--he didn't stay stuck in the past. His partnership with Hal David was in the past, but he collaborated with others. He did have some hits, but the sound and production were much more contemporary, and he seemed to be more content to let others do the work of arranging and producing, unlike his days with Dionne.

What amazes me about his album with Elvis Costello is that so many of his old orchestral tricks come back to the surface, yet they do not sound dated at all. If you listen to only the music, there is no mistaking any of it for anyone else but Burt.
 

Bobberman

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I think I said this before but Burt is Truly a One of a kind and very unique. And truly one of the very best
 

Mike Blakesley

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From what I gather from his bio, scoring music for anything was frustrating for him.

I can't remember where I read it, but there was an interview once where he said he didn't like scoring films because of the standard practice of repeating the same "themes" over and over in the music. Maybe he was thinking about it from a 'soundtrack album' point of view, considering there are about five tracks on the Butch Cassidy album that use the same melody. If he had his druthers, he's probably have preferred to put more different tunes on that album. Maybe that's why he pivoted over to the musical arena for "Lost Horizon," that way he could get a variety of songs into a project without repeating the themes so much.
 

Rudy

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I remember quoting a section out of his book regarding the personal disaster that was Lost Horizon, but I'd have to read that section of the book again to see what his motivation was for accepting the job.

It's also surprising he would score a musical again after Promises, Promises, since he didn't like that experience either. But that was due to the performances--he was a perfectionist in how the songs were performed, and each night the performance would be slightly different, none of them up to his exacting standards. Having to coach the actors in the film was part of the pain he had in working on Lost Horizon. Unlike "South American Getaway," where he rehearsed a professional singing group to get what he wanted, and knew he could get results with.
 

Rudy

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I think we had a thread on that one last year at some point.

It's an interesting soundtrack for sure, and it's one of those that were coveted by audiophiles for years. I've always thought it sounded good but not great. I found a cheap(er) used copy of the 4-LP 45 RPM set that Classic Records released many years ago.

The soundtrack film from After The Fox is another--other than the title track (Peter Sellers and The Hollies) and a couple of the humorous sound cues, I've never really warmed to that one. But that main title theme is so Bacharach...
 
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