You can count on Jim O’rourke to keep surprising the world with another fantastic, well written and produced album. Even with his most experimental stuff, he always knew to find his own unique voice, let alone with his ‘songs’ albums like the brilliant 1999 Eureka.
But it looks like that the anticipation from every new O’rourke album doesn’t really get to him, and he doesn’t fall into expectation traps and keep on doing whatever he want with whoever he wants. And indeed, his recording career marks fantastic collaboration with the best and most interesting musicians like Fennesz, Henry Kaiser, Nurse with Wounds and many many others.
So he lived a period of time in Japan, mingled with local musicians, and suddenly it hit him – “I should do a Burt Bacharach tribute album!”
Burt Bacharach is one of the most important songwriters of this century, and most probably you’re humming his songs from time to time without knowing that this tune was written by this gentleman.
O’rourke had already picked on Bacharach in the past, when he covered Something Big in Eureka, and eleven years after that album, he releases a tribute album for the humble songwriter.
Thurston Moore sings here, Glenn Kotche (of Wilco, one of the best drummers in the world) plays throughout the album, and O’rourke plays almost all other instruments and he puts the vocal interpretations in the hands of his new Japanese friends.
The result is surprising with its modesty. The album maintains an overall jazz-pop vibe, the vocal performances are excellent (mind Kahimi Karie with Do You Know The Way To San Jose?), the arrangements are charming and effective (past collaborator with Bacharach Donna Taylor‘s version of Walk On By is beautiful with its blues-bossa arrangement).
Especially impressive is unpretentious O’rourke, who knew how to step back and vanish the The O’rourke effect, and put all the others in the spotlight.
Of course, this is totally his work, but the heterogenic arrangements, makes All Kinds of People –Love Burt Bacharach- a really beautiful and touching tribute album.
Following my previous recommendation on the beautiful Grant Lee Phillips album, I wonder what is the meaning of that calmness that nested in me all of a sudden. It might be because I found two white hairs in my red beard, and that probably means I’m slowly getting old and being mellow is a part of it. Or maybe it’s just life and that’s that.
Jim O’Rourke – Something Big (from Eureka)