Thursday, August 21, 2014
Album number four in my Top Ten rundown comes courtesy of a female vocalist whose voice is without comparison and is a thing of rare beauty. I first heard Roberta Flack's "First Take" about twenty years ago and, even today, I am blown away by the mesmeric, stunning vocals and songs on her debut album. Hard to believe that it reached the top of the US charts, as it is not a hugely commercial album, although it did take almost three years after it's initial release to get there. Her seemingly effortless singing and piano playing throughout are just sublime, and like all the best vocalists, you believe every single word that comes out of her mouth. You feel like she is just performing for you, with wonderful, unerstated arrangements and a purity to the recordings that is nothing short of magical.
I still recall watching Play Misty For Me many years ago and hearing "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" for the first time and, in the days before the internet, trying to find out as much about this amazing singer as I could. When I first listened to "First Take" I heard bits of Aretha, Nina Simone and Sarah Vaughan amongst others, but, above all else, I heard the emergence of a major new talent in the voice of the one and only, Roberta Flack.