Dayton Daily News, October 23, 1998

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Painted From Memory

Elvis Costello with Burt Bacharach

Kathi Kizirnis

Elvis Costello can still sing a kick-butt "Radio Radio," but what if he wrote it 100 times? That's what bands like Rancid are for — regurgitation. The point is, Costello's been around for 20 years and has proven his bona fide musicianship from country and pop standards to the classical chamber-pop of The Juliet Letters. So if this collaboration seems a little wimpy, and yes, it is easy listening, trust Costello'S judgment. He's been around, and his later work clearly wouldn't have been the same without the influence of Burt Bacharach.

Though it's a collaboration, with both artists credited for composition, Painted From Memory sounds like Costello singing Bacharach. But what Dionne Warwick made sound like a summer stroll Costello renders gloriously painful, saving the record from Muzak hell. Bacharach's swelling, sentiment-bloated arrangements (the liner notes credit about 70 "extras") beg for a reality check, and even Costello's limited vocal range fits the bill perfectly. He handles jazzy, jumping Bacharachian melody lines with gusto and honesty. Consider Memory a pleasant and valuable history lesson.


Copyright, 1998, Cox Ohio Publishing. All rights reserved.

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Dayton Daily News, May 3, 2002


Kathi Kizirnis reviews Painted From Memory.


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