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RE: [fearnwhiskey] Clip: Here they are: Burt Bacharach, Ronald Isley and the music

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  • Dave Purcell
    Here s the local angle since Ronald s a Cinti native. http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2003/11/09/tem_09newnoted.html dp Isley s CD deserves chatter, if not a
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 10, 2003
      Here's the local angle since Ronald's a Cinti native.



      Isley's CD deserves chatter, if not a shout

      By Larry Nager
      The Cincinnati Enquirer

      In this much-anticipated CD, due in stores Tuesday, Cincinnati R&B icon
      Ronald Isley, 62, joins 2003's biggest craze: classic pop standards.

      Rod Stewart, Bette Midler, Michael Bolton and Aaron Neville are among
      rock and pop stars turning to the golden age of popular song.

      Lincoln Heights' favorite son, who came to fame in the late '50s with
      the Isley Brothers, looks to the later generation of pop standards
      written by Burt Bacharach. It's a departure for Isley, whose phenomenal
      R&B success of the past few years has come by playing the gangster/pimp
      Mr. Bigg with R. Kelly.

      The set opens with "Alfie," which Isley sings straight in a distinctly
      female falsetto. The effect is a bit freakish, as Mr. Bigg morphs into
      Little Jimmy Scott. "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" is looser, more
      intimate and improvisational, sounding like an after-hours jam.

      The biggest misstep here is "A House is Not a Home." Luther Vandross
      owns that song, and his version remains the standard. Isley's wispier
      edifice just can't stand up to Vandross' hurricane of heartbreak.

      He hits his stride on "The Look of Love" and "This Guy's In Love With
      You," two of Bacharach's biggest hits of the '60s. Here, Isley melds
      perfectly with Bacharach's orchestra, imbuing the composer's original
      vision with his own signature, smoothly seductive R&B.

      That Carpenters favorite "Close to You" gets a straightforward
      treatment, but even wrapped in Isley's silky tenor, the song's schmaltz
      seeps through.

      Isley's tenor, still clear, high and powerful 44 years after "Shout" hit
      the charts, remains a miracle. But the marriage with Bacharach works in
      only about half the 13 tracks, the ones in which the former doo-wop
      singer's love of sweet pop meets Bacharach's bluesier side.

      Had all of Here I Am been as good as "The Look of Love," the album could
      have set a new standard for standards.


      NEW & NOTED
      Ronald Isley & Burt Bacharach
      Here I Am: Ronald Isley Sings Burt Bacharach
      Dreamworks; $18.98
      2 1/2 stars
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