CD Review: Roberta Flack


Roberta Flack
The Very Best of Roberta Flack
Atlantic/Rhino
By David Chiu

Not a day went by on ‘70s pop radio without hearing “Killing Me Softly With His Song” sung by the formidable Roberta Flack.The track, written about “American Pie” singer Don McLean,” has become Flack’s signature song and a classic, covered 20 years later by the Fugees. Naturally it is on this latest compilation but it’s just one of Flack’s gems, the others being the up tempo Feel Like Makin’ Love and the lovely “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” Flack is also best known with her romantic duets with the late and great Donny Hathaway, evident on “Where Is the Love” and the majestic “The Closer I Get to You.” Had material like “Set the Night to Music” or “Tonight I Celebrate My Love With You (duets with Maxi Priest and Peabo Bryson, respectively), were rendered by any other singer, it would sound schmaltzy, but Flack’s performances gives them a sensual and earthy cool. Flack’s name doesn’t get mentioned often in the realm of great pop singers; Very Best makes a strong case.

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