The seventh in a series of two-fer reissues of the 1960s albums by the Four Seasons and their lead singer Frankie Valli on the British label Ace, this disc combines the group's ninth studio album, The 4 Seasons Sing Big Hits by Burt Bacharach…Hal David…Bob Dylan (originally released in November 1965) and its eleventh, New Gold Hits (May 1967). (For good measure, Ace has tossed in two Four Seasons singles from 1966, "Opus 17 (Don't You Worry 'Bout Me)" and "I've Got You Under My Skin.") These may be the quartet's two most misunderstood albums; for one thing, despite the presence of the word "Hits" in both titles, neither was actually a compilation.
The Look of Love is Valerie Joyce's much anticipated follow-up to her Chesky debut, featuring elegantly chic original arrangements of the classic pieces in Burt Bacharach & Hal David's catalogue. This super audio CD was recorded in multi-channel surround sound using Chesky's state of the art minimalist miking techniques and the world's finest custom-made electronics to assure the purest, most natural sounding recording available.
Tim Simenon's Bomb the Bass pet project pumped some of the best acid house straight into late-'80s dance clubs. Best known stateside for the seminal "Beat Dis," similarly groundbreaking slow-beat club groove, and the Burt Bacharach cover "Say a Little Prayer," Simenon's brand of acid-laced rap and snappy sampling kept sweat flowing coast to coast. Unfortunately, by the time the band's second album appeared in 1991, Bomb the Bass was all but forgotten in the beginnings of the grunge backlash. However, the sonics have continued to percolate, hence the welcome appearance of the U.K. compilation Beat Dis: The Very Best Of, which serves up a healthy hodgepodge of hits and a neat tweak for aging ravers' long-lost brain cells. In no particular order, Beat Dis unravels 1988 through 1991, commencing with the 12" version of "Beat Dis" and ending with the absurdly short "Megamix," while hitting all the important points in between. First-wave favorites include the aforementioned "Say a Little Prayer" and "Shake It," while the 1991 incarnation weighs in mightily with "Dune Buggy Attack" and the British hit "Winter in July".
La Femme Dietrich's career lasted several decades, and when she inked a deal with Decca Records in 1939, her first recording assignment was to produce an album of her "greatest hits," so already pervasive was her fame. This 16-track collection rounds up selections recorded over a 25-year period between her signing to Decca and her later recordings for Dot and Kapp, all of which parent company MCA-Universal now owns. Besides the definitive, elegant orchestral reading of 'Falling In Love Again', Marlene also puts her pipes and personality to other hits like "The Boys in the Backroom" and "You've Got That Look (That Makes Me Weak)" from the movie Destry Rides Again, as well as a batch of classy readings of "You Do Something to Me," "You Go to My Head," and uncharacteristic, almost surreal 1957 rock & roll stabs at "Near You," and "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine" and the campy spins of her final single in 1965, "If He Swing By the String" and "Such Trying Times." All in all, a great little career overview to add to the pop vocal side of the collection.
Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach first collaborated on "God Give Me Strength," a sweeping ballad that functioned as the centerpiece in Allison Anders' Grace of My Heart. It was a stunning song in the tradition of Bacharach's classic '60s work and it was successful enough that the composers decided to collaborate on a full album, Painted from Memory. Wisely, they chose to work within the stylistic parameters of Bacharach's '60s material, but Painted from Memory never sounds like a stylistic exercise. Instead, it's a return to form for both artists. Bacharach hasn't written such graceful, powerful melodies since his glory days, and Costello hasn't crafted such a fully realized album since King of America. It's a testament to both that even if the album is clearly in Bacharach's territory, it feels like a genuine collaboration.