November 14, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST
We gave it an A-

Conventional thinking has held it to be nigh impossible to improve on Dionne Warwick’s classic Bacharach interpretations, but Here I Am: Isley Meets Bacharach is sure to throw that assumption into doubt. Big Burt oversaw this project personally, tweaking familiar arrangements in unexpected, delightful ways (cock an ear to the totally reinvented ”Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”).

For his part, love man Ronald Isley simply sings the hell out of tearjerkers like ”Anyone Who Had a Heart,” ”Make It Easy on Yourself,” and ”Windows of the World.” We only hope there’ll be a second volume so we can hear what magic this pair might work on ”Walk On By” and ”Wives and Lovers.”

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