Album of the Day
Soul music's heyday was near an end, jazz was creeping into the mainstream and singer-songwriters like James Taylor and Joni Mitchell had just launched their careers when Roberta Flack issued her debut. All of those influences can be heard on FIRST TAKE; opener “Compared To What” shows she can belt 'em out like Aretha, and though none of the eight selections are self-penned, choices like Leonard Cohen's “Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye” reflect her taste for intimate, confessional material. But the jazz influence may be the strongest, with noted producer Joel Dorn at the helm and master instrumentalists like bassist Ron Carter in the band. And it was jazz buff Clint Eastwood who turned the collection's “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” into a hit by putting it in his film Play Misty For Me. FIRST TAKE remains a potent reminder of Roberta Flack's singular talents as a vocalist and pianist.