Killing Me Softly - Roberta Flack
Like the man who was once her duet partner, Donny Hathaway, Roberta Flack completely personalizes every song she sings, an' imprints so much class an' passion into every vocal performance that to overlook her is to overlook the very essence of great soul music. Anyone who listens to hip-hop or R&B knows her influence is pretty apparent. The simmering an' hypnotic ballad 'Killing Me Softly' opens the album, a beautiful song that was thankfully resurrected by Lauryn Hill and the Fugees, and 'Jesse' is an even more potent song that was memorably sampled by Puff Daddy a few years back on one of his rare poignant moments. Lotta the songs on this album could be torch songs sung in some smoky jazz club, particularly the lush and beautiful 'I'm the Girl'. There's also the Gospel-tinged middle-of-the-road song 'River' and she kicks a swingin', an' infectious number in 'When You Smile', definitely a golden oldie. My favorite joint though is 'No Tears (In the End)', somethin' in that song struck me heavily for some reason, and helped me one step closer to moving on from a very tough break-up. Music is the best medicine sometimes.
Classy, urbane, reserved, smooth, and sophisticated - all the ways you could describe Roberta Flack. If you're a young'n (the under-25 category) like me, an' just getting into the true soul-empowered R&B of the '60s and '70s don't sleep on this woman any longer. If you don't buy this, arguably her finest studio recording, then buy something, ANYTHING from her. For the most part, you can't go wrong.