Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Together 'till The End: Roberta Flack Featuring Donny Hathaway (1979)

Roberta Flack Featuring Donny Hathaway
Roberta Flack Featuring Donny Hathaway

''Roberta Flack Featuring Donny Hathaway''

( LP Atlantic Records, 1979 )
Catalog # SD 16013

Roberta Flack Featuring Donny Hathaway is Roberta Flack's ninth album. It was intended as the second duets album to feature Donny Hathaway and her. Hathaway only recorded two songs ("You Are My Heaven" and "Back Together Again") for this album before his suicide. Flack finished the rest of the record on her own.

Tracklisting & Hide Credits:
A1 Only Heaven Can Wait (For Love)
Arranged By – Roberta Flack
Arranged By [Strings] – Armando Noriega
Co-producer – Joe Ferla
Featuring, Backing Vocals – Eric Mercury
Written-By – Eric Mercury, Roberta Flack
A2 God Don't Like Ugly
Arranged By – Roberta Flack
Co-producer – Joe Ferla
Written-By – Gwen Guthrie
A3 You Are My Heaven
Featuring, Backing Vocals – Eleanore Mills
Featuring, Vocals – Donny Hathaway
Producer [Basic Tracks, Vocals] – Arif Mardin
Written-By – Eric Mercury, Stevie Wonder
A4 Disguises
Arranged By – Roberta Flack
Co-producer – Joe Ferla
Written-By – Stuart Scharf
B1 Don't Make Me Wait Too Long
Arranged By [Strings] – Paul Riser
Written-By – Stevie Wonder
B2 Back Together Again
Arranged By – J. Mtume
Featuring, Vocals – Donny Hathaway
Horns, Strings [Additional] – Ray Chew
Written-By – J. Mtume, R. Lucas
B3 Stay With Me
Arranged By [Basic Tracks] – Arif Mardin
Arranged By [Strings] – Armando Noriega
Written-By – Gerry Goffin, Michael Masser

Roberta Flack Featuring DHathaway-label two b

''Don't Make Me Wait Too Long''

Personnel & Credits:
Backing Vocals – Brenda White, Eleanore Mills, Eric Mercury, Gwen Guthrie, Jocelyn Shaw,
Luther Vandross, Merle Miller, Revelation, Roberta Flack, Yvonne Lewis
Bass – Anthony Jackson, Basil Fearrington, Eluriel Barfield, Will Lee
Drums – Howard King
Engineer – Howard Lindeman
Engineer [Assistant] – Bobby Warner, Gary Olazabol, Joe Lopes, Pat Martin, Paul Northfield
Guitar – Hiriam Bullock, Jeff Mironov, John Tropea, R. Lucas
Illustration [Album Cover] – Hélène Guetary
Keyboards – Harry Whitaker, Paul Griffin, Ray Chew, Ray Jones, Roberta Flack
Mastered By – Jack Adelman
Percussion – Errol "Crusher" Bennett
Producer – Eric Mercury, Roberta Flack
Synthesizer – Ed Walsh, Hubert Eaves, Roberta Flack, Ronnie Foster

Format:Vinyl, LP, Album
- Luther Vandross appears courtesy of Ceilidh Productions, Inc.
Recording studios:
- Atlantic Studios, New York, N.Y.
- RCA Recording Studios, New York, N.Y.
- The Hit Factory, New York, N.Y.
- Power Station, New York, N.Y.
- Le Studio, Morin Heights, Quebec, Canada
- Crystal Industries Inc., Los Angeles, California
**Also re-issued on CD.

Roberta Flack Featuring Donny Hathaway covrec

''Back Together Again''

This was intended to be Roberta's second full fledged collaboration with Donny Hathaway but as we all know, Donny committed suicide before the recording was finished, so we'd never know what the final product might have been had the album been completed. Nevertheless, what we eventually got from the sessions were 7 tracks featuring Donny's vocals on only 2 of them. On 2 tracks, the songs ran back to back for nearly 18 minutes long, so Atlantic must have been pretty desperate to drag out the half complete sessions into a full length album. How else to explain an interminable 9-minute plus take of "Back Together Again" when a 4 to 5 minute version would have done the job ? That aside, the good news is that the quality of this, Roberta's disco album, is remarkably even. Roberta's and Donny's voices blend beautifully on their hit duet, "You Are My Heaven". For those who think Roberta doesn't ever let rip, just listen to the last 15 seconds before the fade out. For a fleeting moment, I thought I was hearing Aretha ! The other stand out but curiously ignored track is Gwen Guthrie's "God Don't Like Ugly". Here, Roberta gets into an unusually funky groove with excellent phrasing and some of her most soulful singing. The two non-disco ballads on the album, "Disguises" and "Stay With Me", also hold their own. "Disguises" is particularly poignant and moving. So, "Roberta Flack featuring Donny Hathaway" isn't quite what its title professes. She flirted with disco but avoided its excesses and worst influences. This album is clearly one of Roberta's better late 70s/early 80s efforts since abandoning the persona of virtuoso performer for that of classy MOR artiste.
From Amazon

The combination of Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack undeniably ranks atop the all-time great duet parings in the history of R&B. Any opportunity to have one guest on the other's recordings brought out a sensual energy not to be denied, similar to the magnetic duets between Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye for Motown during the '60s. This seven-song session didn't yield any timeless classics à la "The Closer I Get to You," but Flack's distinct and beautiful voice brings a level of class to this outing that few of her contemporaries were able to achieve. Two Stevie Wonder-penned compositions, "You Are My Heaven" and "Don't Make Me Wait Too Long," bring Wonder's unique arrangements together and give this album a more uptempo feel than most of the prior work of Flack and Hathaway, both as solo artists and as a team. Near the end, the album's climatic piece, "Back Together Again," helps to conclude the album on an upbeat note before breaking it down again into a soft, gentle finale of calm, familiar waters. The realization that these tracks are some of the final recordings Hathaway would appear on before his tragic death brings an element of melancholy to the listening experience.
By Rob Theakston (AMG)

Roberta Flack Featuring DHathaway stereo8


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