Friday, March 9, 2007

Roberta Flack Again

So I have a day off and decide to drive the back way to the Cape and look for junk stores. Within minutes I hit a Salvation Army, has a few bins of records including the largest collection of Herb Alpert I have seen in one place in a long time. Digging away and I find Roberta Flack's Quiet Fire . 1971. Killer cover. Flip it and damn Bernard Purdie on drums plus Grady Tate on percussion. And she covers "to love somebody" a Bee-Gee's tune from their first album (recently rereleased) that Mule covered back in the day.
And of course backing vocals from Les McCann and Eugene McDaniels to keep the whole "compared to what" thing going. The best part besides the music was taking it up to the counter and counting out the 53 cents it cost. Nice.
Opens up with a slow burning "go up moses". Nice power to the people type track. "Bridge over troubled waters" is up next -a very choral version. Definitely a Sunday morning chill out track. "Sunday and Sister Jones" is credited to Eugene McDaniels and again drops a slow groove with plenty of horns and a harmonica setting the tone. Hugh McCracken steps up on guitar (wasn't that the name of one of the enforcers in Slapshot?)
Side 2 continues the chill vibe with a Roberta on piano and Ron Carter on bass song with some strings. She drags a lot of heavy hitters onto this record. "To love somebody" keeps it moving with that understated groove. Nice organ work from Richard Tee.
I usually like the groove to bash me over the head and the tempo fast and furious, but there is something really compelling and beautiful in her understated slow simmer. This record is now my Sunday morning go to record.
Roberta was untouchable in the early 70s.

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