Rolling Stone - 12/25/03-1/8/04, p.1233 stars out of 5
- "...Soul legend Ron Isley has fun with old [Bacharach] nuggets...slowing down the tempos and teasing the lyrics with his sexy falsetto..."
Entertainment Weekly - 11/14/03, p.124
"Conventional thinking has held it to be nigh impossible to improve on Dionne Warwick's interpretations, but this album is sure to throw that assumption into doubt..." - Rating: A-
Personnel includes: Ronald Isley (vocals); Burt Bacharach (piano); Dean Parks (guitar); Gayle Levant (harp); Dan Higgins (woodwinds, saxophone); Warren Luening (trumpet, flugelhorn); Dave Duke, Phillip Yao (French horn); Rob Schrock, Jim Cox (keyboards); Neil Stubenhaus, David Coy (bass); Vinnie Colaiuta, Harvey Mason (drums); Dan Greco (percussion); Kim Johnson, JS-Kandy, Josie James, Donna Taylor (background vocals).
Producers: Burt Bacharach, Ted Perlman, Ronald Isley.
Recorded at Capitol Studios, Hollywood, California and Record One, Sherman Oaks, California. Includes liner notes by Steven Ivory and Burt Bacharach.
Personnel: Ronald Isley (vocals); Dean Parks, Ted Perlman (guitar); Gayle Levant (harp); Assa Drori, John Wittenberg, Barbara Porter, Shari Zippert, Kathleen Robertson , Michele Richards, Mari Tsumura, Mario de León, Bob Peterson, Nicolas Garcia, Yvette Devereaux, Peter Kent, Lesa Terry, Margaret Wooten, Darius Campo, Susan Chatman, Berj Garabedian, Miwako Watanabe, Mark Cargill, Charlie Bisharat (violin); Robin Ross, Virginia Frazier, Karen Elaine Bakunin, John Hayhurst, Robert Becker, Evan Wilson, Darrin McCann, Denyse Buffum (viola); Dan Higgins (woodwinds, saxophone); Gary Grant, Warren Luening (trumpet, flugelhorn); Phillip Edward Yao , Dave Rockin Duke, Brian O'Connor (French horn); Burt Bacharach (piano); Rob Shrock, Jim Cox (keyboards); Dave Crigger, John "J.R." Robinson , Harvey Mason, Sr. , Vinnie Colaiuta (drums); Daniel Greco (percussion); Kandy, Kim Moore Johnson, JS, Josie James, Donna Taylor (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Al Schmidt; Allen Sides .
Liner Note Author: Steven Ivory.
Recording information: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA; Record One, Sherman Oaks, CA.
Photographers: Neal Preston; William Claxton.
Arranger: Burt Bacharach.
For some, HERE I AM: ISLEY MEETS BACHARACH appears to be a meeting between Mr. Biggs, the character made famous in R. Kelly's music videos, and the Elvis Costello's piano-playing sideman from an Austin Powers movie. Others, however, will recognize that this project really represents a collaboration between the legendary Isley Brothers' ageless frontman and a compositional genius whose work with partner Hal David helped craft some of the most seminal songs in popular American music.
The result of this pairing is a gorgeously recorded stroll through the Bacharach/David canon with the accompaniment of a 40-piece orchestra. In addition, Bacharach played piano, conducted, and created the new arrangements. Having waited nearly four decades to cut some of Bacharach's music, Isley is in fine form with his gorgeously pure vocals fitting hand in glove with these selections. Isley effortlessly moves from the melancholy sentiment of former girlfriend Dionne Warwick's "Alfie" to a radically reworked reading of "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" that turns the classic into a brand new song. When you consider well-known songs such as "The Look of Love," "Close to You," and "A House Is Not a Home" were all recorded live in the studio with a maximum of one or two takes, it's a wonder HERE I AM didn't happen sooner.