Roberta Flack’s Debut 'First Take' sees 50th Anniversary Reissue

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Shahar Azran/WireImage

Last year marked half a century since Roberta Flack introduced her one-of-a-kind style to the world with her 1969 album First Take. From the start, it was an album storming with personality, showcasing her thunderous, yet heartfelt delivery. 

SoulMusic.com commemorates the singer and pianist's platinum debut with First Take: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, a limited edition 2CD/1LP set release that features a remastered version of the original album on both vinyl and CD, along with a disc of bonus rarities, live performances and 12 unreleased demos, all in a 12”x12” hardbound book.

The demos stem from songs Flack initially recorded during her audition with Atlantic Records in 1968, including "This Could Be The Start of Something" and other jazz-oriented numbers. Select tracks will be available via digital download and streaming services beginning February 14, starting with the unreleased track "Groove Me." 

The full deluxe edition arrives April 10, set for release a few days before Flack will be presented with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award on April 18, marking Flack's fifth Grammy Award to date. Pre-orders of the deluxe set are available now, exclusively HERE on SoulMusic.com

READ MORE: Robert Flack to Receive Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award

The set comes accompanied with liner notes by SoulMusic.com founder David Nathan, who also co-produced this reissue, and two essays by pianist-vocalist Les McCann, who played an instrumental role in helping Flack score a recording contract with Atlantic Records. 

McCann recalled his first time hearing Flack perform at a club in Washington D.C., "What I heard touched me on a level that I have never heard since...When my time on this earth is over, in my heart, I want to carry Roberta's voice back home so the Angels can hear." 

The classic album includes the iconic single  "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face". It wasn't until three years after its release that the song charted atop the Pop and R&B Charts thanks to being featured in Clint Eastwood's 1971 film Play Misty for Me

Flack also has the distinct honor of winning Record of the Year for two consecutive years as a solo artist - with "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" in 1973 and "Killing Me Softly With His Song" in 1974. Flack is welcoming in the new decade with a rare appearance at this weekend's Grammys to accept the Recording Academy's lifetime achievement award. 

RELATED: Roberta Flack Wants to Meet Lizzo and Ariana Grande at the Grammys

It's a tremendous and overwhelming honor,” the singer shared with The Guardian. “I’ve tried my entire career to tell stories through my music. This award is a validation to me that my peers heard my thoughts and took in what I have tried to give.”

Roberta Flack First Take: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition is available only at SoulMusic.com for $49.98 and is strictly limited to 3,000 copies. It ships April 10. Pre-order here.

Product shot

CD Track Listing
Disc One
1. "Compared to What"
2. "Angelitos Negros"
3. "Our Ages or Our Hearts"
4. "I Told Jesus"
5. "Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye"
6. "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"
7. "Tryin' Times"
8. "Ballad of The Sad Young Men"
Bonus Tracks
9. "Compared To What" (Single Edit)
10. "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" (Single Edit)
11. "Trade Winds"

Disc Two
1. "All The Way" (Live)
2. "This Could Be The Start of Something"*
3. "Groove Me"
4. "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out"*
5. "Hush-A-Bye"*
6. "Afro Blue"*
7. "It's Way Past Suppertime"*
8. "Frankie and Johnny"*
9. "On the Street Where You Live"*
10. "The House Song"*
11. "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"*
12. "The Song Is Love"*
13. "To Sir With Love"*
*Previously unreleased 

LP Track Listing
Side One
1. "Compared to What"
2. "Angelitos Negros"
3. "Our Ages Or Our Hearts"
4. "I Told Jesus"
Side Two
1. "Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye"
2. "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"
3. "Tryin' Times"
4. "Ballad of The Sad Young Men"

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