Monday, May 2, 2022

VA - Let The Music Play (Black America Sings Bacharach & David) [2014]


VA - Let The Music Play (Black America Sings Bacharach & David) [2014]

This compilation from Ace is, as stated on the back cover, a celebration of the songs of Burt Bacharach and Hal David as sung by some of soul's greatest artists. In all honesty few of the versions here are superior to the better known and definitive versions but considering some of these songs are amongst the most popular ever written, there's still much to enjoy and it's interesting to hear the different arrangements, instrumentation and vocals.

Our “Black America Sings…” series has already turned the soulful spotlight on the compositions of Bob Dylan, Lennon & McCartney and Otis Redding. Now it’s the turn of Bacharach and David.

Burt Bacharach’s music and the lyrics of Hal David have been appreciated by black American artists for over 50 years. Dionne Warwick was the first to record many of their songs and by doing so made them visible to others as a source of hits or album tracks. The pair had no finer interpreter than Warwick– with the possible exception of her male counterpart Lou Johnson – but all the acts included here demonstrate the quality of their work.

The song titles here speak for themselves, and the reputations of the artists are enough to guarantee quality performances. Every listener will have their own favourites. I have more than a few, but am especially fond of Dionne Warwick’s original demo of ‘Make It Easy On Yourself’, Ruby & the Romantics’ ‘I Cry Alone’ and Isaac Hayes’ elegant elongation of ‘I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself’. There are many other highlights, but if these three tracks can’t sell you on the project, nothing will.

Plans are underway to extend the “Black America Sings…” series, with the next instalment due later this year. In the meantime, here are two dozen of Bacharach and David’s best-known compositions performed by some of the finest soul artists of the 1960's and 70's. (ACE)



Track lists

01 Dionne Warwick Make it Easy on Yourself 2:40

02 Burt Bacharach Orchestra & Chorus Feat. Tony Middleton My Little Red Book 2:16

03 Irma Thomas Long After Tonight is All Over 2:29

04 Marv Johnson Another Tear Falls 2:35

05 Aretha Franklin I Say a Little Prayer 3:34

06 Jerry Butler Message to Martha 3:01

07 Cissy Houston This Empty Place 2:30

08 Drifters In This Land of Make Believe 2:35

09 Ruby and the Romantics I Cry Alone 2:41

10 Roy Hamilton Let the Music Play 2:24

11 Patti Labelle and the Bluebells Always Something There to Remind Me 2:37

12 Lou Johnson The Last One to Be Loved 3:30

13 Willie Tee Reach Out for Me 3:35

14 Delfonics Alfie 2:47

15 Gene McDaniels (There Goes) the Forgotten Man 2:58

16 Nina Simone The Look of Love 2:23

17 Orlons Anyone Who Had a Heart 2:49

18 James Carr What the World Needs Now is Love 3:13

19 Gloria Gaynor Walk on By 3:04

20 Bobby Womack (They Long to Be) Close to You 4:51

21 Gladys Knight and the Pips One Less Bell to Answer 3:16

22 Isaac Hayes I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself 3:48

23 Brenda & the Tabulations Don’t Make Me Over 4:02

24 Mavis Staples A House is Not a Home 4:29




  1. Thanks. I hope to see a time when "Black America" is no longer used.

  2. Many performances here that are new to me. Thanks so much BB.

    1. Hi Phillip,
      That is what I like, new sounds yet familiar.