Saturday, August 01, 2009

Number 376 - Roberta Flack


Number 376

Roberta Flack

"First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"

(1969)
.
.
................Genre: Soul...............
art by WhiteBlaze
HiYa Folks, it’s been awhile. Too long probably, but eh, that’s life. Busy lives busy people, too many things to do so little time to do it. Apparently I’ve gotten married since I typed to you last. (Too my jobs) Lots has happened, the world still turns though. In a few months I will become a grandmother again, yes can you believe it? I’m still coming to grips with the fact that all my children have flown the coop. Weddings, funerals, births, Life’s good.I’m so looking forward to retiring, travelling around my beautiful country in a van equipped with a huge arse sound system to listen to my music full blast on the highways. Oh Gods my dream will come to fruition.*smiles softly*
On with the reason we’re all here THE MUSIC! Roberta Flack: First time I ever (saw you’re face)Listening to this song, which I love, I feel a lot of things, love being the emotion that comes to the forefront, being that it is obviously a love song. Makes me want to just tell someone “I love you” So to hell with it ... I love you! Lost loves, present loves, future loves. It will always be one of the best loves songs of all time. I dare someone to tell me that it’s not. If you feel this is aimed at you, then maybe it is. I close my eyes listening to music, the face I see whilst the music is playing is the person “I” feel the song is for. I see a face with this song. Is it you? Ms Flack has got the voice Angels live for. She is one of the worlds greatest women vocalists. What else is there to say? Nothing.Enjoy :o) ~ Tez
the future is to bright
Roberta Flack's debut album, titled First Take in true underachiever fashion, introduced a singer who'd assimilated the powerful interpretive talents of Nina Simone and Sarah Vaughan, the earthy power of Aretha Franklin, and the crystal purity and emotional resonance of folksingers like Judy Collins. Indeed, the album often sounded more like vocal jazz or folk than soul, beginning with the credits: a core quartet of Flack on piano, John Pizzarelli on guitar, Ron Carter on bass, and Ray Lucas on drums, as fine a lineup as any pop singer could hope to recruit. With only one exception -- the bluesy, grooving opener "Compared to What," during which Flack proves her chops as a soul belter -- she concentrates on readings of soft, meditative material. A pair of folk covers, "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" and "Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye," are heart-wrenching standouts; the first even became a surprise hit two years later, when its appearance in the Clint Eastwood film Play Misty for Me pushed it to the top of the pop charts and earned Flack her first Grammy award for Record of the Year. Her arrangement of the traditional "I Told Jesus" has a simmering power, while "Ballad of the Sad Young Men" summons a stately sense of melancholy. Flack also included two songs from her college friend and future duet partner, Donny Hathaway, including a tender examination of the classic May-December romance titled "Our Ages or Our Hearts." The string arrangements of William Fischer wisely keep to the background, lending an added emotional weight to all of Flack's pronouncements. No soul artist had ever recorded an album like this, making First Take one of the most fascinating soul debuts of the era. ~ [John Bush, All Music Guide]
The First Time?
Soul is painful?
Flack's slower, more sensual version was used by Clint Eastwood in his 1971 directorial debut Play Misty for Me during a lovemaking scene. With the new exposure, Atlantic Records cut the song down to four minutes and released it to radio. It became an extremely successful single in the United States, hitting number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the spring of 1972 and remaining there for six weeks; the song also spent six weeks at the top of Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks. It reached number fourteen on the UK Singles Chart. The success of "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" essentially launched Flack's career as a popular singer, and the single became one of her signature songs. "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" has been covered by numerous artists such as Marianne Faithfull, the Kingston Trio, Gordon Lightfoot, Shirley Bassey, Céline Dion, Peter, Paul and Mary, Johnny Cash, Isaac Hayes, Nana Mouskouri, Richard Marx, Alison Moyet, George Michael, Elvis Presley, Stereophonics & Jools Holland, David Cook, Journey South, Bobby Vinton, Lauryn Hill, Leona Lewis, The Temptations, Johnny Mathis, Andy Williams, Petula Clark, Aaron Neville and Marcia Griffiths (member of the I-Threes). There is also a jazz rendition of the song by the Rachel Z trio, on their album of the same name. ~ [Source: Wikipedia]
For Marianne Faithful see Number 696
For Celine Dion see Number 910, MM Vol 1 #130
For Johnny Cash see Number 624, #705
For Alison Moyet see Number 951
For George Michael see Number 450, #821, [w Wham] #581
For Elvis Presley see Number 443, #501, #840
For Stereophonics see MM Vol 1 #043
For Temptations see Number 601
What does RS think of Roberta?
With the appearance of her first album a little less than a year ago, Roberta Flack immediately established herself as worthy to enter the pantheon with the two other truly great black female singers of the Sixties, Aretha and Nina Simone. It is impossible to classify her. She is not a "soul" singer like Aretha, who emphasizes gospel rhythms and blues harmonies. She is not a shouter like Aretha, either. She is not a jazz musician, as Nina Simone essentially is, though, Roberta resembles Nina in her amazing ability to get further inside a song than one thought humanly possible and to bring responses from places inside you that you never knew existed. However, where Nina Simone overpowers one with her strength, bitterness and anger, Roberta Flack underplays everything with a quietness and gentleness. More than any singer I know, she can take a quiet, slow song (and most of hers are) and infuse it with a brooding intensity that is, at times, almost unbearable. With her, Leonard Cohen's "Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye" and Ewan MacColl's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" become the basis for meditation. ~ [Source: RS 1970]
For Aretha Franklin see Number 563
Rolling Stone magazine deemed their '376th Song of all Time' was "Fake Plastic Trees" by Radiohead. Radiohead has appeared in The Definitive 1000 of All Time @ #415, #640
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (OK, we forgot) and the Album ranked at (But we did remember the other song)
This song has a Definitive 1000 rating of 79.5 out of 108
Search Artist here:1-2-3-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z

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