Tucson Weekly, November 19, 1998

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Painted From Memory

Elvis Costello with Burt Bacharach

Gregory McNamee

When Elvis Costello was perfecting his angry young man routine on the streets of London 20-odd years ago, did he harbor dreams of making music with the man who made Dionne Warwick famous? Well, the '90s have seen stranger pairings — Bono with Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash with Glenn Danzig — and the result in any event is a surprising excursion into trademark Bacharach territory, with its pah-pum pah-pum flugelhorns and bass flutes, mixed with lyrics of lost love and broken Middle American/Midlands dreams. Bacharach has always placed great demands on his singers, and he gives Elvis a workout that has the grizzled pop star straining for notes, so that he occasionally sounds like Bert Lahr, the vibrato-heavy Cowardly Lion of The Wizard of Oz. Even so, the disc pays off with world-weary, after-hours tunes like "This House Is Empty Now" and "God Give Me Strength" that showcase both collaborators' considerable skills, and that bear repeated playing.

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Tucson Weekly, November 19, 1998


Gregory McNamee reviews Painted From Memory.


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