Michael Ball - Back To Bacharach

Matt Clutton 26/10/2007

Rating: 4/5

Michael Ball and Burt Bacharach, a perfect match some might well say. One is the UK's leading musical theatre star having spent the last twenty years treading the boards in numerous stage shows in London's West End and on Broadway. The other is an award winning American pianist and composer who has had more memorable smash hits songs in the UK and US than even The Beatles, a remarkable feat.

By no means Michael Ball's first album to date, this latest release entitled 'Back To Bacharach' is some what of a homage to a composer who is dear to Ball's heart. A side step from the musical and movie orientated content of previous releases, years of performing classic Bacharach tracks in concert to an army of fans spanning all ages including 'Make It Easy', 'Close To You' and 'What The World Needs Now' has struck accord with the multi-platinum selling recording artist.

Accompanied by the sounds of a full orchestra and big band, the album is one overwhelmingly beautiful session of merging piano, string and acoustic pocket symphonies, injected with various rhythmatic brass and percussion arrangements. 'The Look Of Love' opens proceedings with a delicate piano and acoustic melody, starting slowly, Ball's quivering vocals are like no other.
'Alfie' a track which Bacharach wrote in a flash but which he fussed over for weeks begins to step up the albums pace. Strengthening vocals are faultless against an ever increasing orchestral accompaniment. 'Close To You' immortalised by the Carpenters, 'Anyone Who Had A Heart' made famous by
Cilla Black and 'You'll Never Get To Heaven' a Dionne Warwick classic follow performed with all the passion they had when first performed by their original collaborators. Closing track 'What The World Needs Now', one of Bacharach's signature tunes recorded by over one hundred artists since its creation in 1965, evokes both joy and sorrow with it's shifting melody and marks a poignant point on which to end.