Today (June 25), in celebration of Black Music Month, Roberta Flack will reissue and expand two studio albums for their 50th anniversaries.
Chapter Two (1970) and Quiet Fire (1971) now feature newly-remastered sound and a helping of newly-released outtakes from the album's sessions. Though these two LPs followed Flack's 1969 debut First Take - celebrated last year with a deluxe edition that was named one of the year's best reissues by Rolling Stone - they remained modest sellers at the time. Flack would, of course, gain greater prominence in 1972 through her first collaborative album with Donny Hathaway and the reissue of First Take's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" that same year; it became the year's best-selling single and a Grammy Award winner.
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Together, these albums showcase Flack's brilliance as a song interpreter, with rousing renditions of songs like Bob Dylan's "Just Like a Woman," Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody" and many more. And both albums deepen those rich qualities with unreleased versions of "Midnight Cowboy" (a Joni Mitchell composition that she herself never put on an album - Flack later produced a version for folk singer and Atlantic Records labelmate Donal Leace), Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On," The Beatles' "Here, There and Everywhere" and an epic, 14-minute take on the Leon Russell standard "Superstar."