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Trains & Boats & Covers - The Songs of Burt Bacharach  (Compilation) - 1958-1978
Label: Sequel NEMCD 409 (UK)
Format: CD
From: England
My rating: 8/10

Entered: 10/19/2001
Last updated: 05/03/2003

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I'm really enjoying this fab compilation of UK interpretations of Burt Bacharach covers. More detail to come soon, but it's quite marvellous - from cool latin influenced instrumental covers to over-wrought belting vocal versions.

Yeah, this compilation sounds better every time I hear it. It's a mix of well known and lesser known songs, with most recordings being completely new to me. Only two super famous interpretations are included here - Sandie Shaw's '(there's) always something there to remind me' and Gary Miller's 'The Story of My life'. The rest is all very fresh and extremely enjoyable.

My favorite 'belters' are Lisa Shane's 'Come and Get me' (what a superb song!), Billie Davis's 'The last one to be loved' and the great Anita Harris's 'Trains and Boats and Planes'.

There also some great instrumental easy listening takes, many from obscure early 70s Pye albums, such as the City of Westminster String Band's 'I say a little prayer', the Dennis Lopez Liquid Latin Sound's 'Lost Horizon', and Sounds Orchestral's 'I'll never fall in love again'. One particular gem is the jazzy harp instrumental version of 'Close to you' by David Snell.

Also, there are some fun group vocal tracks, including two by Tony Hatch, and a hilarious version of 'Do you know the way to San Jose' by the Paper Dolls, a group of female singers who sound like they've never left England, let alone hung out in California.

There also some great beat oddities, such as Tony Cody's fuzz guitar/Isaac Hayes style version of 'Walk on By' and the superb garagey version of 'My little red book' by the Rockin' Berries, which uses a distorted guitar and minor chords in the chorus to great effect. Also fun are the Searchers singing 'This empty place', although I could probably do without the Beatles-style 'Wishin' and hopin' by The Eagles.

Other highlights include Petula Clark's cool french version of 'Anyone who had a heart' ('Ceux qui un coeur') and Rex Harrison's outrageously over-the-top and dramatic 'A House is not a home'. This surprisingly excellent compilation ends with a cool early 70s soul version of 'Don't make me over' by Barbara Jean English, with a delicious spiralling strings opening.

“I have to say, the more I listen to this disc, the more I like it. There are really only one or two duff tracks out of 20. Nice one.”

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