Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Roberta Flack - Compared To What?/Go Up Moses
When Les McCann first heard Roberta Flack singing at The Bohemian Caverns in Washington D.C. in the summer of 1968, he was immediately enamored with her voice which he described as one that "touched, tapped, trapped and kicked over every emotion I've ever known". He immediately took her to see Joel Dorn of Atlantic Records and the result was her debut album First Take, which kicks off with the immaculate Compared To What and I'm sure that you'll agree that the song is one hell of a way of introducing yourself to the record buying public at large - being backed on the album by Ron Carter couldn't have hurt as well.
Go Up Moses is from her third album Quiet Fire which was produced by Dorn and arranged by Arif Mardin and in her band on the album were no less than drumming legend Bernard 'Pretty' Purdie, Grady Tate and Hugh McCracken and this track, which is a take on a traditional spiritual, immediately caught my ears when I first listened to the album. It as an amazing record that captures the very essence of the time for black America by telling them that they need to let Pharoah go because 'he doesn't want you, he needs you', which is quite a striking analogy. Roberta's vocal accentuates what is a righteous groove lay down her band and features both Dorn and Mardin on backing vocals. This is a very special record for me and one that I'll play at the drop of a hat. Roberta is one of the greatest vocalists of our time and her albums are proof of her undeniable talent.
I'm not really sure how much a mint condition copy of this record is worth but I've found two copies in recent weeks for under $4 and both have covers that have had better days but the records are in very good condition. Digging in LA is great, so many gems.
Roberta Flack - Compared To What?
Roberta Flack - Go Up Moses
p.s. Eerily both of these tracks are the exact same length.