This 2006 Atlantic/Rhino set rivals 1993's SOFTLY WITH THESE SONGS: THE BEST OF ROBERTA FLACK as the Roberta Flack compilation to own. With 17 pristine remastered tracks, BEST OF includes all of the soul singer's most essential performances. Flack's best-known songs are still some of her finest, and those--"Killing Me Softly with His Song," "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," and her duets with Donny Hathaway, "Where Is the Love" and "The Closer I Get to You"--are all here, of course.
But nearly every track is a winner, with a fair representation of Flack's '80s work (such as her duet with Peabo Bryson, "Tonight, I Celebrate My Love") and even a track from the '90s ("Set the Night to Music," a duet with Maxi Priest). Flack's gorgeous instrument of a voice and her impassioned delivery sound as soothing and sensual now as they did when they first made waves in the early '70s (and maybe even more so), making BEST OF a worthwhile place to stop for anyone with even a passing interest in her work.
Roberta Flack emerged on the music scene in the early `70s with a cool, soothing, precise delivery that contrasted greatly with the fiery vocals of established Atlantic labelmate Aretha Franklin. Her more refined style helped her establish a successful niche as a soulful singer-songwriter, ultimately recording 15 albums over 25 years (1970-1995).
Flack was most successful - and prolific - in the early part of her recording career, with the intimate, folk-oriented recordings "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" (1972) and "Killing Me Softly With His Song" (1973) both garnering Record Of The Year Grammies, while the sumptuous "Feel Like Makin' Love" (1974) earned a nomination in that same category. A series of duets with college chum Donny Hathaway were also well-received at this time, including the chart-toppers "Where Is The Love" (1972) and "The Closer I Get To You" (1978).
Outside projects and Hathaway's suicide in 1979 slowed down Flack's output thereafter, but she continued to make some great music. This included the gentle theme for the film Making Love (1982), the breezy chart-topper "Oasis" (1988) and top ten collaborations with Peabo Bryson ("Tonight I Celebrate My Love" - 1983) and Maxi Priest ("Set The Night To Music" - 1991). These latter pairings, by the way, are nice, but don't begin to approach the intensity that Flack shared on record with the mighty Hathaway.
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