There are any number of albums out there that celebrate the achievements of song writing maestros BURT BACHARACH and HAL DAVID. But a new 2 CD, 60 track collection from Jasmine Records is notably different. Sure, ‘Don’t Make Me Over’ (for that is its obvious title) is stuffed with classics penned by the duo, but, more pertinently, it also includes recordings and songs that Burt and Hal worked on with other writing partners and as such is a fascinating exploration of how the pair eventually came to develop their signature sound and in doing so create one of the most dynamic popular songbooks of the second half of the 20th century.
‘Don’t Make Me Over’ covers the period 1957-1962 when Bacharach and David were jobbing song writers in New York’s famed Brill Building music factory. The duo first met in 1956 and amongst their first collaborations were B sides for Gale Storm (‘Winter Warm’) and Johnny Mathis (‘Warm And Tender’). Both songs are included here.
The pair, though, worked with plenty of other Brill Building wannabees and it’s those creations that provide intrigue to this collection. Amongst Burt’s early partners were Bob Hilliard who co-authored songs like ‘Any Day Now’ (Chuck Jackson) and ‘Tower Of Strength’ (Gene McDaniels) and Paul Hampton with whom Burt penned Gene Vincent’s R&R hit ‘Crazy Times’ and the bizarre “death song” ‘Two Hour Honeymoon’. Hampton also worked with Hal David and amongst their successes was Don Gibson’s country classic ‘Sea Of Heartbreak’ .
But it’s the Bacharach/David songs that form the backbone of this album and listening you can hear how they developed their unique sound… I mean it’s a far cry from ‘The Blob’ to ‘Make It Easy on Yourself’ (by the way, Burt still performs both those songs in his live concerts!) but this lovely collection allows you to make that special aural journey.