First Take Roberta Flack

Album info



Label: Warner Music Group

Genre: R&B

Subgenre: Classic Soul

Album including Album cover

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  • 1Compared To What05:17
  • 2Angelitos Negros06:57
  • 3Our Ages Or Our Hearts06:11
  • 4I Told Jesus06:10
  • 5Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye04:09
  • 6The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face05:23
  • 7Tryin' Times05:09
  • 8Ballad Of The Sad Young Men07:01
  • Total Runtime46:17

Info for First Take

Today marks the 45th anniversary of Roberta Flack’s chart-topping debut album, First Take, which first hit stores on June 20, 1969, but if you would’ve sworn it came out a few years later than that, that’s actually somewhat understandable, as it didn’t actually top the charts until April 29, 1972, well after the release of her third album, 1971’s Quiet Fire.

What took so long for the album to break big? Well, we can’t really answer that question, but we can tell you why it finally broke when it did: Clint Eastwood used the song “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” in his 1971 film, Play Misty for Me, resulting in the track finally being released as a single in the early months of 1972 and making its way to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 on April 15, where it remained until The Chi-Lites’ “Oh Girl” finally replaced it on May 27. Not too shabby, eh?

The album itself is pretty good, too, as it happens. The opening track, Flack’s cover of Gene McDaniels’ “Compared to What,” might not have set the charts on fire as the first single, but it’s a strong performance nonetheless, and it’s far from alone on First Take, which also features a stellar version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye.” Indeed, the album rates a full five stars in the All Music Guide, making it a must-hear for any fan of jazz and R&B.

„First Take is marked by the hushed, folkish accompaniment of 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face' and Leonard Cohen's 'Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye'. (Rolling Stone)

Roberta Flack, piano, vocals
Bucky Pizzarelli, guitars
Ron Carter, bass
Ray Lucas, drums, percussion
Seldon Powell, saxophone
Frank Wess, saxophone
Charles McCracken, cello
George Ricci, cello
Benny Powell, trombone
Jimmy Nottingham, trumpet
Joe Newman, trumpet
Emanuel Green, violin
Gene Orloff, violin
Alfred Brown, viola
Selwart Clarke, viola
Theodore Israel, viola
William Fischer, horn & string arrangements, string conducting

Recorded on February 24–26, 1969 at the Atlantic Recording Studios, New York, NY
Recorded and engineered by William Arit
Mixed by Bob Liftin
Produced by Joel Dorn

Digitally remastered.

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.

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