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Matthew Ruddick

Author of Funny Valentine, an acclaimed new biography of the jazz trumpet player and singer, Chet Baker.
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Friday, 02 February 2024 17:07

Roberta Flack - Lost Takes

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Unreleased tracks can sometimes be disappointing (usually there’s a reason why they weren’t released at the time), but the intimacy of Roberta Flack’s Lost Tracks results in a quietly, unassumingly disarming vinyl release.

Curated by DJ, producer and label owner Gilles Peterson, this collection features a dozen demos recorded six months before the singer’s debut album First Takes in 1969.

Released for the first time on vinyl by Peterson’s Arc Records on 12 January 2024, the tracks were originally released on CD in 2020.

Flack has four Grammys to her name, with 20 studio albums and her voice needs no introduction, but these individual and personal takes on some classic tracks are breathtaking - sometimes in their simplicity and sometimes in her virtuosity - such as her version of On The Street Where You Live from My Fair Lady.

Gilles Peterson says: “Roberta is a true visionary and one of the great singers of modern times. Imagine the excitement when I saw she had recorded a version of Afro Blue during her demo sessions for First Take. I knew straight away that it was a project we wanted to release via Arc Records and to make available on vinyl for the very first time. We’re thrilled to be releasing this and can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”

These demos give Flack’s voice the space to soar and not least on Mongo Santamaria’s Afro Blue, proving that she’s so much more than an accomplished soul singer.


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