By Richie Unterberger

After a somewhat disappointing 1965 that found her unable to crack the Top Forty, 1966 was a year of triumph for Dionne Warwick and her producers and chief songwriters, Burt Bacharach and Hal David. "Message to Michael" was a Top Ten hit, and "Trains and Boats and Planes" and "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself," though not quite as popular, also cracked the Top Thirty. In the usual fashion of the day, her early-1967 LP Here Where There Is Love featured a couple of these previously released hit singles. Supported by some other outstanding Bacharach-David songs and a few interpretations of compositions by other writers, it became her first album to reach the Top Twenty, going all the way to #1 on the R&B charts, and spawned another Top Twenty single when a cut was plucked for release on 45.

    Warwick's sole long-playing release of 1966 had been a live album (Dionne Warwick in Paris, also reissued on CD by Collectors' Choice Music), and one imagines she and her producers welcomed the chance to lay down some more Bacharach-David tunes in the studio. The close bond of their collaboration is supported by several interviews Dionne Warwick gave at the time (and, indeed, numerous that she, Bacharach, and David have given since). "I think it is possible for an artist to get bogged down by sticking to one songwriting team," she mused in Melody Maker in February 1966. "But I am identified with this particular sound—Hal and Burt think of me when they write." Praised Bacharach in October of that year in Newsweek, "Her sound has the delicacy and mystery of sailing ships in bottles. It's tremendously inspiring. We cut songs for her like fine cloth, tailor-made. I used to make suggestions to her. No more. I know what she does will be a jewel."

    Here Where There Is Love was not precisely "Warwick Sings Bacharach-David," though. To be precise, that concept broke down after the first track on side two, as the final four songs were actually by other writers. The first half-dozen cuts were all Bacharach-David efforts, however, three of them hits for Dionne, and another familiar as one of the bigger hits of the mid-1960s, albeit for another artist.

    "Trains and Boats and Planes" got to #22 for Warwick in the summer of 1966, but had actually already been a British hit in 1965 for Billy J. Kramer (whose version went to #12) and Bacharach himself (who, remarkably, took it to #4 at exactly the same time in head-to-competition, though the female group the Breakaways handled the vocals on his rendition). It was Dionne's later interpretation, however, that captured US chart honors. Bacharach, oddly, was resistant to cutting it with Warwick and had to be convinced otherwise, as he felt the song was too country-oriented for Dionne.

    "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself," which Warwick took to #26 in late 1966, is another song that might be more familiar to British listeners via a different recording than Dionne's. Dusty Springfield had scored a #3 British hit with the same tune back in 1964, though it could be seen as payback of sorts, since Springfield had landed a huge US smash that same year with "Wishin' and Hopin'," a track from Warwick's first LP. Actually, Springfield's recording of "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself" wasn't the original version; it had first been done in 1962 on a Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller production for a Tommy Hunt single that just scraped the underbelly (#119) of the Billboard charts.

    "Alfie" completes the trio of hits on Here Where There Is Love that are identified with different singers in Britain and the United States. It was originally recorded (as the theme song for the Michael Caine film of the same name) in 1966 by Cilla Black, who took it into the UK Top Ten, though it only struggled up to #95 Stateside. After its release on the LP, Warwick's "Alfie" single became one of her bigger hits in the spring of 1967, rising to #15. It was more payback in a sense, considering that Black had the hit with "Anyone Who Had a Heart" (where it reached #1) in the UK, where Dionne's original had stopped at #42.

    "I found it very distressing because these songs weren't demonstration songs," Warwick complained when asked about competing British versions by Lois Wilson in Record Collector. "They were new songs written for me to perform and then Cilla Black went and did 'Anyone Who Had a Heart' and 'Alfie,' Dusty Springfield did 'Wishin' and Hopin',' and Sandie Shaw did 'Always Something There to Remind Me.' They would copy the exact arrangements and the exact vocal inflection of the song. They wouldn't change them at all. If I'd have sneezed in the recording of 'Anyone Who Had a Heart' I think Cilla would have sneezed in the exact same spot on her rendition too!" "Alfie" itself was singled out by Bacharach as the song he was proudest of on the 1998 One Amazing Night television program, with David affirming in an interview with Paul Zollo in Songwriters on Songwriting, "It's a song that's very dear to me. It's a philosophy that is a nice one to have as an anthem for your life."

    There was one other song on Here Where There Is Love that would be a huge hit for someone else—but not for Dionne Warwick. "What the World Needs Now Is Love" was actually offered to Warwick first, but she turned it down. "They wrote that song originally for Gene Pitney," she explained in the liner notes to The Look of Love: The Burt Bacharach Collection. "Never got to him. And when I heard it in its original form, it was a cowboy song. And I told them, it's not my thing. And as it turned out, they went in with Jackie [DeShannon] to do it and they used the Warwick formula." DeShannon's distinctive interpretation made #7 in 1965, though its presence on Here Where There Is Love indicates that Dionne couldn't have been too bitter about the missed opportunity. She even recorded it again in the late 1990s, charting (barely) with a remake that made #87 in 1998.

    The other pair of Bacharach-David songs on Here Where There Is Love couldn't help but be overshadowed by their other contributions to the LP. Still, "Go with Love" was a pretty rousingly arranged ballad, and did attract at least one other soul cover version in the late 1960s (by Barbara Acklin). "Here Where There Is Love" itself reflected Bacharach-David's occasional indulgence in impressively winding melodies way too complex for success on 45s, and was an odd choice for the title track of the LP, considering that several of its other songs were far better known.
    Except for "Alfie," all of side two was turned over to non-Bacharach-David material that allowed Warwick to explore different directions than her trademark pop-soul. Lionel Bart's "As Long As He Needs Me" was from the massively popular musical Oliver! Dionne might have been influenced to record the pop standard "I Wish You Love" by Marlene Dietrich; Burt Bacharach, who served as Dietrich's musical director in the late 1950s and early 1960s, arranged a guest spot for Warwick on Dietrich's show in Paris in late 1963, and Dietrich recorded "I Wish You Love" on her 1964 album Marlene Dietrich in London. Bob Dylan's "Blowing in the Wind" was given a strangely jaunty reading to close the album, preceded by the more satisfying "I Never Knew What You Were Up To," which—with its blues-soul grit and forceful, smoky organ—sounds like little else Warwick did in the '60s, though impressively so.

    Far from being one-off experiments, Warwick's detours into show tunes and pop unrelated to rock in any way whatsoever seemed to be a genuine part of her musical tastes and ambitions. She'd devote an entire LP to Broadway and movie songs on her next album, On Stage and in the Movies, also reissued on CD by Collectors' Choice Music. -- Richie Unterberger

contents copyright Richie Unterberger, 2000-2010
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