As an old-time rock/folk/jazz purist, I shudder at many of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's songs.
"The Look of Love" is an exception. Recently hearing Dusty Springfield's 1967 recording of the song put me in one of those rare moods outside of the bounds of time and place.
Springfield's yearning voice evokes Paris or London in the 1920s rather than the shabby days of the '60s, and the sax, piano and trumpet's minimalistic stylings highlight the jazzy poignance of Bacharach's melody. For once, David's lyrics hit passionate heights without smarmy slickness.
I don't know if I'd ever heard Springfield's version before, although it was part of the "Casino Royale" soundtrack. Diana Krall's recording of a few years ago first made me realize the song's quality. In comparison with Springfield, Krall's version is too emotive.
Those like me who gorged on '60s excesses like psychedelic rock discounted songs that continued the "American songbook" tradtion. As we grew older, we rediscovered masters like Cole Porter and gained new respect for '60s holdovers like "Windmills of Your Mind."
Much of Bacharach-David still strikes me as pallid imitations of earlier classics. "The Look of Love" is a notable exception.