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The Sweetest Punch: Songs Of Elvis Costello And Burt Bacharach
Elvis Costello, Bill Frisell
The Sweetest Punch: Songs Of Elvis Costello And Burt Bacharach
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, Jazz, Pop, Rock
 
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #1

Guitarist Bill Frisell is first and foremost a song man. He has covered, sans irony, songs by Madonna and John Philip Sousa. He has even been witnessed performing "Beer Barrel Polka" when the mood strikes. His respect for ...  more »

     
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CD Details

All Artists: Elvis Costello, Bill Frisell
Title: The Sweetest Punch: Songs Of Elvis Costello And Burt Bacharach
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Decca U.S.
Original Release Date: 9/21/1999
Release Date: 9/21/1999
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, Jazz, Pop, Rock
Styles: Singer-Songwriters, Jazz Fusion, Modern Postbebop, Adult Contemporary, Singer-Songwriters, Oldies, Vocal Pop, Adult Alternative
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 731455986525

Synopsis

Amazon.com
Guitarist Bill Frisell is first and foremost a song man. He has covered, sans irony, songs by Madonna and John Philip Sousa. He has even been witnessed performing "Beer Barrel Polka" when the mood strikes. His respect for classic songs and great singing has always been evident in his own playing and compositions. One singer Frisell has always respected is Elvis Costello, who was recording Burt Bacharach songs as far back as his Stiff Records days (check out the Live Stiffs anthology). Costello and Frisell make their collaboration on this recording a product of mutual admiration and shared love of Burt Bacharach, an unabashed melodic master. Recording simultaneously with Costello and Bacharach's Painted from Memory, Frisell arranged the same tunes working from bare piano-vocal demos. His small group orchestrations stretch but never break the songs, revealing a deep empathy for their mood and meaning. Bill and company (Brian Blade, Don Byron, Viktor Krauss, and others) are equally at home with the music's lyrical nature and quirky construction--both Bacharach trademarks. Costello and Cassandra Wilson add a few guest vocals, but it is the voice of Frisell's guitar and arranging that shines through here. --Michael Ross

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Jimmie D. (Starbuck) from FORT WORTH, TX
Reviewed on 12/5/2006...
A combination of great talents.

CD Reviews

Is it just me....or....
Jan P. Dennis | 11/04/1999
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Is it just me...or is there something strange about the sound of this album, as though the musicians are all slightly out of tune or it's being played on a tape recorder that's going a little bit below the usual speed? This effect is particularly noticeable on "TOLEDO". I loved "Painted From Memory"- I think the songs are fantastic. These versions don't detract from them, but, with a couple of exceptions (e.g "Painted from Memory", sung by Cassandra Wilson) they don't add much to the original album either. I had hoped that this CD would be more jazzy and improvisational. After all Bacharach and Costello have provided some great chords for jazz musos to play around with. Instead the instrumentation is dull and the arrangements unadventurous. Particularly bad is "God Give Me Strength", which on all other recordings is amazing."
Frisell Shows Chops as an Arranger
David K. Bell | Portland, Oregon United States | 09/22/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Sorry to post this review twice, but the other was posted from a different computer and is not grouped with my other reviews. Anyway, I've edited it a bit here.If you asked the average Bill Frisell fan what Frisell does, the answer would probably be about his guitar playing. Pressed further, the fan might mention his song-writing and compositional ability, the versatility of his repertoire, his ability to assemble just the right musicians for each CD, etc., etc. But I'll bet you'd get pretty far down the list before his abilities as an arranger would come up, even though his arrangments are always masterful. Maybe that's because most of his albums contain mostly his own songs and we think of the arrangements asjust part of the compositions themselves. "The Sweetest Punch," with the compositional focus on other songwriters, shows off Frisell's skills as a master arranger.Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach sent Frisell a tape of the songs that ended up on their collaborative "Painted From Memory" record. The tape contained only rough piano/vocal versions of the tunes, and Frisell arranged and recorded his interpretations at the same time Costello/Bacharach were developing and recorded theirs. Neither heard what the other was doing until they were both finished. The songs themselves are, as you would expect, wonderful. If your snobbish side thinks the music of Mr. Bacharach to often be a bit...light, you might remember that he is one of the great masters of melody in the popular song during the last four decades or so. If you think his fare might be too light for interesting interpretation by someone of Frisell's depth, remember that you might arch an eyebrow if you heard a jazz great was arranging songs from Disney movies, too, until you heard Coltrane's readings of "My Favorite Things" and "Chim Chim Cherree." Frisell takes the beautiful raw material of these songs and shows he is as skillful an arranger as he is a guitar player.I am reminded of Gil Evans's work with Miles Davis when I listen to this record. Just the right blend of harmonic and textural complexity and spareness reveal the sweet essence of these songs while developing the passion at their, core. The arrangements are for mostly winds, no strings except those on Frisell's guitar. Strings would have made these songs too sappy, but the wind arrangements allow sonorities and a percussiveness that bring out the dignity in them and an Elvis Costello edginess. Frisell's guitar, always restrained and tasteful, is downright self-effacing here, with only a few screamer, Frisell-guitar moments. No matter. Frisell's special genius is here anyway, realized largely through other instruments, but with his unmistakable signature touch just the same."