First Take (Remastered Deluxe Edition) Roberta Flack
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- 1Compared To What (2020 Remaster)05:16
- 2Angelitos Negros (2020 Remaster)06:57
- 3Our Ages Or Our Hearts (2020 Remaster)06:10
- 4I Told Jesus (2020 Remaster)06:10
- 5Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye (2020 Remaster)04:09
- 6The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (2020 Remaster)05:22
- 7Tryin' Times (2020 Remaster)05:08
- 8Ballad of the Sad Young Men (2020 Remaster)07:06
- 9Compared To What (Single Edit) (Single Edit; 2020 Remaster)04:40
- 10The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (Single Edit) (2020 Remaster)04:19
- 11Trade Winds (2020 Remaster)05:42
- 12All the Way (Live; 2020 Remaster 44.1 kHz)08:39
- 13This Could Be The Start Of Something01:20
- 14Groove Me04:18
- 15Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out06:22
- 17Afro Blue09:13
- 18It's Way Past Suppertime03:55
- 19Frankie and Johnny07:14
- 20On the Street Where You Live02:44
- 21The House Song05:51
- 22Ain't No Mountain High Enough03:24
- 23The Song Is Love05:20
- 24To Sir With Love08:24
Info for First Take (Remastered Deluxe Edition)
Roberta Flack enjoyed delayed gratification with her debut, First Take. The album came out in 1969, but it didn’t reach #1 on the pop and R&B charts until 1972, after a song from the record – “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” – was featured in Clint Eastwood’s 1971 film, Play Misty for Me. The song would stay atop the singles chart for six weeks in 1972 before winning the Grammy® Award for Record of the Year in 1973.
The set includes liner notes by SoulMusic.com founder David Nathan and an introduction by pianist-vocalist Les McCann, who was instrumental in getting Flack signed to Atlantic Records. He recalls the first time he saw Flack perform at a club in Washington D.C.: “What I heard touched me on a level that I have never heard since…When my time on this earth is over, in my heart, I want to carry Roberta’s voice back home so the Angels can hear.”
In February 1969, Flack recorded First Take quickly, reportedly only needing 10 hours to complete all eight songs. Among the album’s highlights are two songs co-written by Donny Hathaway (“Our Ages Or Our Hearts” and “Tryin’ Times.”) In coming years, she would record a series of hit duets with Hathaway, including “Where Is The Love” and “The Closer I Get To You.” The deluxe edition of First Take also features three bonus tracks: the b-side “Trade Winds,” as well the single edit versions of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” and “Compared To What.”
The additional album opens with a live version of “All The Way,” a track that was originally released in 1968 on the Les McCann album, Les Is More. It’s followed by 12 unreleased demos that Flack recorded over two days in November 1968 with Joel Dorn, who would produce her first four solo albums. Among those is “Groove Me,” an original song that Flack wrote, but never released.
On the other demos, she covers a range of genres, including her take on traditional songs (“Frankie And Johnny”), blues standards (“Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out”), folk (“The Song Is Love), pop (“To Sir With Love”) and R&B (“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”)
Roberta Flack's debut album, titled First Take in true underachiever fashion, introduced a singer who'd assimilated the powerful interpretive talents of Nina Simone and Sarah Vaughan, the earthy power of Aretha Franklin, and the crystal purity and emotional resonance of folksingers like Judy Collins. Indeed, the album often sounded more like vocal jazz or folk than soul, beginning with the credits: a core quartet of Flack on piano, John Pizzarelli on guitar, Ron Carter on bass, and Ray Lucas on drums, as fine a lineup as any pop singer could hope to recruit. No soul artist had ever recorded an album like this, making First Take one of the most fascinating soul debuts of the era." (John Bush, AMG)
Roberta Flack, piano, vocals
Bucky Pizzarelli, guitars
Ron Carter, double bass
Ray Lucas, drums, percussion
Seldon Powell, saxophone
Frank Wess, saxophone
Benny Powell, trombone
Jimmy Nottingham, trumpet
Joe Newman, trumpet
Charles McCracken, cello
George Ricci, cello
Emanuel Green, violin
Gene Orloff, violin
Alfred Brown, viola
Selwart Clarke, viola
Theodore Israel, viola
William S. Fischer, horn & string arrangements, string conducting
Recorded February 24–26, 1969 at Atlantic Studios, New York City
Produced by Joel Dorn
Internationally hailed as one of the greatest songstresses of our time, GRAMMY Award winning Roberta Flack remains unparalleled in her ability to tell a story through her music. Her songs bring insight into our lives, loves, culture and politics, while effortlessly traversing a broad musical landscape from pop to soul to folk to jazz.
Classically trained on the piano from an early age, Ms. Flack received a music scholarship at age 15 to attend Howard University. Discovered while singing at the Washington, DC nightclub Mr. Henry's by jazz musician Les McCann, she was promptly signed to Atlantic With a string of hits, including, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, Where Is the Love (a duet with former Howard University classmate Donny Hathaway), Killing Me Softly With His Song, Feel Like Makin' Love, The Closer I Get to You, Tonight I Celebrate My Love, and Set the Night to Music, Ms. Flack has built a musical legacy. In 1999, she aptly received a Star on Hollywood's legendary Walk of Fame.
Roberta is currently involved with a very exciting studio venture — an interpretive album of Beatles' classics.
She regularly plays to appreciative audiences around the world, and had the pleasure of appearing recently with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC, conducted by Marvin Hamlisch. In February 2009, Ms. Flack performed with critically acclaimed orchestras in Australia, including the Melbourne, Queensland, Adelaide, Tasmanian, West Australian and Sydney Symphonies.
Very active as a humanitarian and mentor, Ms. Flack founded the Roberta Flack School of Music at the Hyde Leadership Charter School in the Bronx, providing an innovative and inspiring music education program to underprivileged students free of charge.
This album contains no booklet.