Thursday, August 21, 2014
Album number four in my Top Ten rundown comes courtesy of a singer whose voice is without comparison and is a thing of rare beauty. I first heard First Take about twenty years ago and twenty odd years later I still love the mesmeric, stunning vocals and songs on Roberta Flack's 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 and then 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 Franklin, 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.