Elvis Costello & Burt Bacharach - Songs of Bacharach & Costello LP
2023 Remaster of 1998's Painted From Memory Plus Six Bonus Selections including Three Newly Recorded Compositions; Audio Remastered by Bob Ludwig from the Original Tapes
The Songs of Bacharach & Costello, compiled by Elvis Costello, brings together all of the published songs that Costello has written with Burt Bacharach and celebrates the three decade songwriting partnership between them. This vinyl 2LP version includes the newly remastered album, Painted From Memory and six songs from Taken From Life, of which three are newly recorded compositions. The audio was remastered by Bob Ludwig from the original tapes.
Those who were surprised by the writers of "I'm Not Angry" and "What's New Pussycat?" working together perhaps overlooked that Bacharach was engaging in musical collaboration for only the second time in his storied career – the first resulting in just a handful of songs musically written with Neil Diamond. It was Costello who wrote the first musical draft of "God Give Me Strength, "communicating from Dublin to Los Angeles by fax – back in the 20th Century – and far from being offended by this presumption, Bacharach sent back an amended copy, laying out the signature intro motif for flugelhorn, adding the expansive bridge section and making all sorts of subtle but crucial amendments to the melodic and rhythmic phrasing of Costello's first draft. This song was a commission for the Allison Anders' motion picture, Grace Of My Heart, and though both song and movie were overlooked by the Academy Awards, the song did place in the Grammy nominations of the following year, as Costello remarked in his book Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink: "To have written a song like "God Give Me Strength" and simply stopped would have been ridiculous."
So began a series of face-to-face songwriting sessions in both California and New York City. Their working methods ranged from one writer responding to the other's opening musical statement to Costello trying to put lyrical substance and definition to a complete Bacharach composition that did not need any such musical reply. By the end of their initial sessions, there were occasions when they were seated across the room at two pianos, writing successive bars of the new tune. Recorded in Hollywood in 1998, the album, Painted From Memory – orchestrated by Bacharach with the exception of the title track which was arranged by the great Johnny Mandel – has gone on to capture an appreciative worldwide audience far beyond its initial release. The song "I Still Have That Other Girl" even managed to wrestle a Grammy away from both Celine Dion and Van Morrison – no easy task in the crowded field of the "Best Collaboration With Vocals" category of the 41st Awards.