My Music: Burt Bacharach's Best (TV Movie 2013) Poster

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Fine peek at quality performances, but not enough Hal David
lor_16 May 2016
Late in this documentary compilation, spotlighting the great songs & artist performances in the '60s and '70s from the music of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, there is a threesome routine by singer Chris Cross with Burt and collaborator Carole Bayer Sager at the piano. That represents a later phase of the great Burt's career but hardly justifies the revisionism of trivializing his main lyricist partner Hal David's contribution.

Fortunately a contemporary (2013) interview with the other main collaborator Dionne Warwick briefly but significantly sets the record straight for the attentive viewer. She knows how much David meant to the success of their joint enterprise, creating not merely a string of hits but music proved to stand the test of time via this fund-raising documentary shown at the now too-frequent Pledge Weeks for PBS stations to raise operating moolah.

You'd have to be nuts to think that these great hits, from the famous "Walk on By" to the unjustly obscure (the Gene Pitney songs I grew up on, which are not shown here) would have been great without Hal's lyrics. Burt's mastery of unusual song construction, waltz meters and other instantly distinctive techniques clearly impress and are the skeleton of each hit, but the poignancy comes from the combination of Hal's lyrics and eccentric but heartfelt readings by diverse artists ranging from Dusty Springfield and Karen Carpenter to Chuck Jackson and yes, Herb Alpert in his Louis Armstrong-inspired vocal simplicity.

I'm easily offended when a minor but significant artist is omitted from recognition, so when clearly one-third to one-half of the triad, Hal David, is relegated to Dionne's name-dropping and an occasional background figure in a photo status it destroys the show's credibility entirely.
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