Hot on the heels of The Second Disc’s look at the solo recordings of Burt Bacharach, news just broke that one of the maestro’s most famous non-solo albums is receiving the limited-edition deluxe reissue treatment from the Kritzerland label. United Artists’ cast recording of the 1968 Broadway musical Promises, Promises has long been a favorite recording of Bacharach & David aficionados for introducing their songs “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” “Promises, Promises” and “Knowing When to Leave” to the world, and for capturing the indelible, Tony Award-winning lead performance of a pre-Law & Order Jerry Orbach in one of his many triumphant stage roles.
Promises has been reissued on CD twice before. Rykodisc brought the album into the digital age with its 1999 release (RCD 10750) remastered by NDR’s Dr. Toby Mountain, and when Ryko’s license with MGM Music (successor to United Artists Records) expired, Varese Sarabande picked up Promises for a 2005 edition (Varese 302 066 647 2) remastered by Erick Labson. In researching Promises for the new reissue, Kritzerland’s Bruce Kimmel discovered that Rykodisc had remixed the album from the 8-track session master tapes for the 1999 CD, and Varese had also used this remix. So as Disc 1 of this 2-CD set, Kritzerland is presenting the Grammy-winning original album mix of Promises, Promises (produced by UA’s Henry Jerome with Bacharach’s close collaborator Phil Ramone) in a new remaster from the two-track album masters, for the first time ever on CD.
The real surprise, however, is Disc 2. As was (and largely still is) the custom for the making of Broadway cast recordings, Promises was recorded in a one-day session with little time for retakes and fixes. The performers on the cast album, recording on their day off from the actual show, committed some faulty pitches to wax. Now, taking advantage of modern technology common to present-day recordings, Kritzerland has corrected the pitch problems. Doing so involved going back to those 8-track masters for a thorough remix, and as a result, Kimmel has also recovered minor bits never before released, and has been able to highlight some of Jonathan Tunick’s orchestrations which were previously buried. One bonus track (to be “hidden”) will also be included: female lead Jill O’Hara’s recording of the title song. Finally, Krtizerland has restored all tracks to their original show order. The end result should make for a completely different album experience. Ordering information and more can be found after the jump.
The fruit of Kimmel’s labors can be sampled here, where the album (a strictly limited edition of 1000 copies, sure to go fast) can be ordered. The pitch-correction will immediately be evident to listeners familiar with the original album. The set’s cost is the same $19.98 plus shipping as any of Kritzerland’s single-disc soundtrack and cast album reissues. With the 2010 Tony Award-winning revival of Promises, Promises packing houses on Broadway, the time has never been better to re-experience the sound of 1968 as provided by Burt Bacharach, Hal David and Jonathan Tunick.
And I’d like to take this opportunity to ask readers of The Second Disc: should other reissues, whether of cast albums, soundtracks or rock recordings, take this revisionist tack? (Your humble author welcomes Kimmel’s work, largely because he’s preserving the original LP on Disc 1, and therefore giving us an “alternate take” as Disc 2.) Your responses are, as always, more than welcome!