Bacharach/IsleyThe Burt And Ron Show
As a huge fan, Burt Bacharach would understandably be excited about "Here I Am -- Ronald Isley Sings Burt Bacharach," which DreamWorks releases this week. But the disc, which Bacharach produced, arranged and conducted, also gave him the opportunity to "reinvent" such classic Bacharach-Hal David songs as "Alfie," "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" and "This Guy's in Love With You," as well as a pair of more recent co-writes with Tonio K. in "Count on Me" and "Love's (Still) the Answer."
"I'd play piano and listen to Ronnie [Isley] sing 'This Guy's in Love With You' and think, 'Look where this could go,'" Bacharach says. "Just see where the singer leads you," he adds, "because the guy's a great, great singer. So I'd listen to a work tape on a boom box and hear a lick he sang and make a notation and just write it into the arrangement."
"You've got to give Ronnie room: You don't overwrite or get too busy. That's why we couldn't have done [the Bacharach-Elvis Costello tune] 'God Give Me Strength': It's too restrictive -- too many words. I wanted him to have a reason to move away from the melody."
Bacharach consequently "can't get out of my head" Isley's version of "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head." "You don't know where it's going," he says, also citing Isley's rendition of "The Look of Love," which differs from the song's "original concept orchestrally, [with] a sexual energy that's right in your face."