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Archive for the ‘Roberta Flack’ Category

Everything is (More Than) Everything: Unreleased Donny Hathaway Works Compiled on New Box Set (UPDATED 9/26)

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Hathaway Never My LoveUPDATE (9/26/2013): After initially posting this was to be released in France, we were pleased to receive confirmation that this box, in fact, will be released stateside as well! We have amended the release date and pre-order links accordingly.

AMENDED POST (9/23/2013): Several years after a great career-spanning box set from France, Rhino is releasing another new box by the late soul legend Donny Hathaway, with two discs of unreleased studio and live content.

Never My Love: The Anthology takes its name from the classic Donald and Richard Addrisi composition, taken to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1967. As we discovered this year thanks to a 45RPM single released for Record Store Day, Hathaway cut his own soulful version, one of 13 tracks on a disc of unreleased studio material. Though much of the material on this disc never made it past the demo/work-in-progress stage, it makes for an intriguing look at the scope of Hathaway’s ambition – particularly the disc’s closing “ZYXYGY Concerto,” a 20-minute, multi-movement piece recorded in the fall of 1973 after a summer touring with the Newport Jazz Festival.

Hathaway’s live prowess takes hold of Disc 3, compiled from nine sets at New York’s historic Bitter End between October 27 and 29, 1971. Donny tackles both his signature hits (“Voices Inside (Everything is Everything),” “Little Ghetto Boy”) and killer covers (Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend,” John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy”) with equal aplomb.  (Of course, four songs from those sets made up the second side of Hathaway’s Live album in 1972, but the songs replicated here – “Everything is Everything” and “Jealous Guy” – are alternate to what’s on the original album.)

And what will you find on the other two discs? Hit the jump to find out.

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Written by Mike Duquette

September 26, 2013 at 11:23

SoulMusic Records Is “Born to Love” With Reissues from Peabo and Roberta, Nancy Wilson and Tavares

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Peabo and Roberta - Born to LoveWith its latest batch of reissues, including titles from Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack, Tavares, and Nancy Wilson, Cherry Red’s SoulMusic Records imprint can truly be said to cover a wide swath of the soulful spectrum.

Duets have long been staples of great R&B.  Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway, James Ingram and Patti Austin, and Otis Redding and Carla Thomas – just to name a few in the pantheon – all proved that “it takes two.”  (That title, in fact, gave Gaye and Kim Weston a hit.)  Flack first teamed with Peabo Bryson for the 1980 Atlantic Records live album Live and More before the duo reteamed at Capitol for 1983’s Born to Love, now available in an expanded and remastered edition from SoulMusic.  As was the custom for countless albums released in the 1980s, numerous producers were enlisted for Flack and Bryson’s studio set.  They enlisted the cream of the crop, however.  Michael Masser helmed two tracks, both written with Brill Building legend Gerry Goffin.  Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager produced another pair, and Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe of Four Seasons fame handled another three songs.  To round out the LP, Flack and Bryson each produced a song.

Despite their varied CVs, the various production teams all turned out music in a sleek, then-contemporary R&B vein.  Masser and Goffin (“Theme from Mahogany,” “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You,” “Saving All My Love for You”) were behind the biggest hit off Born to Love, opening track “Tonight I Celebrate My Love.”  The song had been written for Julio Iglesias and Diana Ross, but hadn’t been recorded by the “All of You” pair, setting the stage for a Top 5 single in the hands of Bryson and Flack.  Masser and Goffin also wrote the up-tempo “Comin’ Alive” with burbling synths from Robbie Buchanan.

Bacharach and Sager, in the early years of their songwriting partnership and marriage, supplied two ballads, “Blame It on Me” and “Maybe.”  Both songs featured an all-star cast of musicians including Abe Laboriel (bass), Jim Keltner (drums), Greg Phillinganes (keyboards) and Paulinho da Costa (percussion), and the latter had another key member of the musical team: Sager’s ex-boyfriend Marvin Hamlisch.  The romantic “Maybe” (described in the new liner notes by Flack as “one of the most beautiful songs ever written”) was crafted from one of Hamlisch’s themes for the 1983 film Romantic Comedy and can be heard over the end credits to that film.  It’s the only writing collaboration between the two titans of melody, Bacharach and Hamlisch, though the two did have a history together: Hamlisch arranged the music for the movie The April Fools, which featured a title song written by Bacharach and Hal David.

Gaudio and Crewe brought Bryson and Flack the rhythmic “Heaven Above Me,” the disco-flavored title song of Frankie Valli’s 1980 solo album, as well as the sweet “You’re Lookin’ Like Love to Me,” which they co-wrote with Sugarloaf’s Jerry Corbetta.  For their third production, they selected Terry Skinner, Kenneth Bell and J.L. Wallace’s “I Just Came Here to Dance.”  Bryson wrote, produced and sang “Born to Love,” the only solo song on the album, and Flack produced and co-wrote (with Al Johnson) the closing track “Can We Find Love Again.”

SoulMusic’s reissue has been expanded with three bonus tracks, the 7-inch and 12-inch single versions of “Heaven Above Me,” and the 7-inch single version of “You’re Looking Like Love to Me.”  Alan Wilson has remastered, and Gail Mitchell of Billboard supplies new liner notes which draw on fresh quotes from Roberta Flack.  The expanded Born to Love is available now, and after the jump, you’ll find the full track listing and order links.  Plus: the scoops on Tavares and Nancy Wilson! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 2, 2013 at 09:11

Robert Flack Compilation is Killing Us Softly from the U.K.

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U.K. music fans, do you need some romance in your life? Rhino’s got you covered the forthcoming release of Love Songs, a new compilation by Roberta Flack.

Flack is, of course, one of the most legendary artists on the Atlantic roster, scoring an impressive run of Top 5 hits (including three chart-toppers) through the 1970s. Her iconic “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” and “Killing Me Softly with His Song” were the first back-to-back Record of the Year Grammy winners by the same artist – and her voice, whether alone or paired with duet partners Donny Hathaway or Peabo Bryson, remains one of those warm, sensual touchstones for soul music as a whole.

Though nothing on the set is previously unreleased, a few of the tracks – notably Flack’s live work with Bryson and the theme to the 1981 film Bustin’ Loose – are largely unavailable on most other compilations. So it’s a nice, alternate look for the new or casual fan.

Pre-order the set from Amazon U.K. here. It’s out on February 15. And as always, the track list is after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

January 27, 2011 at 14:13