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Here I Am: Isley Meets Bacharach

Here I Am: Isley Meets Bacharach

4.5 6
by Ronald Isley
Both longtime aficionados of classic R&B and younger hip-hop enthusiasts, alerted by his appearances on more current pop productions over the past decade, are well aware that Ronald Isley is one of the great singers of our time. This vocal legend gets to prove that all over again on this sumptuous recording, Singing live in front of a studio orchestra, Isley exhibits


Both longtime aficionados of classic R&B and younger hip-hop enthusiasts, alerted by his appearances on more current pop productions over the past decade, are well aware that Ronald Isley is one of the great singers of our time. This vocal legend gets to prove that all over again on this sumptuous recording, Singing live in front of a studio orchestra, Isley exhibits the kind of penetrating vocal skills that can only be developed over a lifetime of singing. But Isely’s voice, as memorable as it is, isn't the sole focal point. Sharing the spotlight is another legendary pop music figure, Burt Bacharach, who makes his presence felt through impeccable songwriting and the skillful craftsmanship of his arranging and conducting. Isley luxuriates in some of Bacharach and lyricist Hal David’s classiest ballads, including “Make It Easy on Yourself,” “Anyone Who Had a Heart,” and "The Windows of the World," bringing new luster to each through the majesty of his soulful interpretations. It takes a brave man to go where such artists as Dionne Warwick have already laid down seemingly definitive performances, but Isley finds room for his own say. (Hear his personal reworking of "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.") On this superb collaboration, Bacharach lays down the groundwork for Isley to shine; Isley, in turn, does Bacharach proud.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
While the collaboration between soul singer supreme Ron Isley and composer and arranger Burt Bacharach does not have the adventurous scope of Bacharach's collaboration with Elvis Costello -- in that the tunes featured here are mostly Bacharach classics -- it is every bit as satisfying. At 62, Isley's voice is sweeter and more resonant than ever. Bacharach's new charts for these songs take into consideration the singer of "Harvest for the World," "Fight the Power," and "For the Love of You." Inside these towering, lush harmonic architectures shimmers Isley's golden throat, adding just that sultry hint of deep soul to the proceedings. It might be difficult to picture Isley fronting a full studio orchestra for "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head," but his version of the tune is an altogether different animal than the B.J. Thomas version. The chart is a smoky, Jimmy Scott-styled jazz chart and Isley makes it the last song in the world. Likewise, "The Look of Love" is slightly more uptempo and the horns are warmer, more up front than on the original. The long instrumental interlude is followed by a sweet moan from the singer who falls into the faux bossa tune as if it's three in the morning. On "This Guy's in Love With You," the pleading at the heart of Isley's vocal takes the listener into a brand new context. The humble, dry delivery of Herb Alpert has been washed away by Bacharach's pianism and a stuttered backbeat that allows the singer to float above the arrangement. "Count on Me," co-written with Tonio K., is the lilting vehicle for Isley in that it contains space for his gospel voice to open just enough to color the cut with altruism. But it's the album opener that's worth its weight in gold; "Alfie," no matter who has sung it, has always been a deeply moving and evocative song. Between Isley and Bacharach, it leaves the realm of nostalgia and becomes its own aching confessional of disillusionment and heartbreak. The spare electric guitar that introduces the theme and the hushed strings behind the singer's voice underscore the conviction. When Isley moves up in his register, he does so all at once. There is no slide; there's just pure conviction in the grain of his sublime voice. This is a winner, a beautiful effort that combines the give and take of the pop song with the emotion of great American soul singing.
Rolling Stone - Ernesto Lechner
Soul legend Ron Isley has fun with old nuggets such as "The Look of Love" and "Alfie," slowing down the tempos, stretching the notes beyond recognition and teasing the lyrics with his sexy falsetto.

Product Details

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ronald Isley   Primary Artist,Vocals
Burt Bacharach   Piano,Conductor
Robert Becker   Viola
Charlie Bisharat   Violin
Mari Tsumura   Violin
Denyse Buffum   Viola
Darius Campo   Violin
Mark Cargill   Violin
Vinnie Colaiuta   Drums
Larry Corbett   Celli
Jim Cox   Keyboards
David Coy   Bass
Dave Crigger   Drums
Joel Derouin   Concert Master
Yvette Devereaux   Violin
Assa Drori   Violin
Berj Garabedian   Violin
Gary Grant   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Daniel Greco   Percussion
Dan Higgins   Saxophone,Woodwind
Josie James   Background Vocals
Peter Kent   Violin
Warren Luening   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Miguel Martinez   Celli
Harvey Mason   Drums
Dean Parks   Guitar
Ted Perlman   Guitar
Barbara Porter   Violin
John "J.R." Robinson   Drums
Robin Ross   Viola
Rob Shrock   Keyboards
Neil Stubenhaus   Bass
Donna Taylor   Background Vocals
Miwako Watanabe   Violin
Evan Wilson   Viola
John Wittenberg   Violin
Margaret Wooten   Violin
Shari Zippert   Violin
Gayle Levant   Harp
Susan Chatman   Violin
Karen Elaine Bakunin   Viola
Lesa Terry   Violin
Suzie Katayama   Celli
Bob Peterson   Violin
JS   Background Vocals
Darrin McCann   Viola
Nicolas Garcia   Violin
Dave Rockin Duke   French Horn
John Hayhurst   Viola
Virginia Frazier   Viola
Kathleen Robertson   Violin
Dan Smith   Celli
Phillip Yao   French Horn
Kim Moore Johnson   Background Vocals
Kandy   Background Vocals
Michele Richards   Violin
Mario de León   Violin
Brian O'Connor   French Horn

Technical Credits

Burt Bacharach   Arranger,Composer,Producer,String Arrangements,rhythm arrangement
Tonio K.   Composer
Hal David   Composer
Jimmy Hoyson   Engineer
Ronald Isley   Producer,Executive Producer
Ted Perlman   Producer
Allen Sides   Engineer
John McClain   Executive Producer
Schmidt   Engineer
Steven Ivory   Liner Notes
Jeri Heiden   Art Direction
Wil Donovan   Engineer

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Here I Am: Isley Meets Bacharach 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been a long-time fan of the Isley Brothers and Burt Bacharach's music since I can remember. I have always liked Bacharach's music since the 60's when he collaborated with Dionne Warwick. I just happened to have caught this concert very recently on PBS here in my home town. I was just mesmerized by the smoothness of Ronald Isley's voice. I have several Isley Brothers CD's, and always admired his voice, but this collaboration with Bacharach truly puts him over the top. I did not know this CD was out until I was entranced by the concert. I immediately went to Barnes & Noble to see whether it was available and to my pleasant surprise it was! Ronald Isley's voice has just gotten better, like a fine wine that ages over the years. It's a shame that this type of music will not get the recognition it truly deserves. However, I have been purchasing music since the age of 12 and I can tell you that nothing I have in my collection even comes close to this. It is the most beautiful partnership and talent ever to come and I hope they continue down this road. Thank you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The sophistication and skill of these two legendary musicians create a sound that is seductive but understated. The accompanying instruments and arrangements are soulful and endearing. The effect is soft but still very dramatic and lovely. If you love elegant, pop - oh this is so for you! I LOVE it - all of it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had an appreciation of the work by Burt Bacharach. I had a different appreciation of Ron Isley and the Isley Brothers. When I purchased the CD I was not expecting much but to my pleasant surprise I now have an appreciation for the combine effort. Very few CD's have I purchased where I enjoyed every song.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've been a long time fan of Burt Bacharach (since I listened to him with my Mom when i was a child). And I've absolutely LOVED the Isley Brothers since my teens. The combination of the two artists is a perfect congruence .. just as Burt was with Dionne Warwick. THIS is music at its best. And everyone I share this CD with comes away loving it too. This is a wonderful Christmas gift!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love Ronald Isley, but just couldn't get with this CD.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fearlessly singing live in front of a studio orchestra, Mr Isley shows us the kind of sensual vocal skills that can only be developed from a lifetime love of singing. Ron Isley and Burt Bacharach, skillfuly craft the reworking of these clasic recordings. On songs like "Anyone Who Had a Heart,” and "The Windows of the World," Isley makes these gems his very own without a hint of the styles or interpretations of those who recorded these songs before him. Isley's soulful interpretations and Burt's impeccable orchestration makes this recording a must have! This collection of love songs set the mood. Buy it today and tell us what you think.