From the Vault...


Roberta Flack &
Donny Hathaway

"Roberta Flack And
Donny Hathaway"

© Atlantic Records

Year of Release: 1972

track listing
  • I (Who Have Nothing)
  • You've Got A Friend
  • Baby I Love You
  • Be Real Black For Me
  • You've Lost That
    Loving Feeling
  • For All We Know
  • Where Is The Love
  • When Love Has Grown
  • Come Ye Disconsolate
  • Mood

  • WSVNRadio Archives
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    Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway
    "Roberta Flack And Donny Hathaway"

    Roberta Flack -- a gifted singer, her hits were from the 1970s: "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," "Killing Me Softly With His Song," "Feel Like Makin' Love" (all #1 songs). Her duets with Donny Hathaway were priceless. Among their duet hits, were "Where Is The Love" and "The Closer I Get To You." Of those two songs, "Where Is The Love" was from their 1972 album, Roberta Flack And Donny Hathaway. As for Donny, I really didn't remember his songs as they were during his time. Tragically, he fell out of a hotel window to his death, in 1979. There were more duets from the two, at the time of Donny's death. 1980's album, Roberta Flack Featuring Donny Hathaway was credited as a (solo) Roberta Flack album, featuring some duets from the two. In learning of Hathaway's music, he was compared to Stevie Wonder. Compared to such a great talent as Stevie, Hathaway was bound to be a popular singer, despite his death.

    Roberta Flack And Donny Hathaway is a album of great music, and great talent. This album was released before the well-known songs mentioned earlier in this review became famous. And with that, both of their careers were just in the beginnings of stardom. It definitely went that way for Roberta. We can only imagine how more famous Donny Hathaway's career in music would have become. Hathaway had already released two albums prior to the duet album with Roberta; she had released three prior. Donny would release one more album of his own, in 1973. From 1974 to his death, there weren't any albums released from him. Throughout the 1970s, he sufferend from severe bouts of depression. At the time of his death, he felt that "white people" were trying to kill him, and had connected his brain to a machine, for the purpose of stealing his music and his sound. From his behavior, recording sessions could not continue. All of the musicians involved were sent home. Hours later, Donny Hathaway was dead.

    "I (Who Have Nothing)" leads off the album, a pure R&B Soul song. More soulful than Tom Jones' version. "You've Got A Friend" is a well-done R&B version, originally written by Carole King, recorded by her, and another popular version by James Taylor."Baby I LOve You" is a remake of the Aretha Franklin song. It's performed extremely well, as yes, Roberta Flack is easily compared to Aretha. "Be Real Black For Me" is another great R&B/Soul song. And here, Donny is easily compared to Stevie Wonder, and Roberta to Aretha. This song was co-written by both Roberta and Donny, along with Charles Mann. Then, there's their remake of the Righteous' Brothers' "You've Lost That Loving Feeling." The remake version is way different than the original, and performed well to say. It's pure R&B/Soul sound is great.

    "For All We Know" was written in 1934. (Not the Carpenters version of the same title.) Roberta and Donny's version has more of a gospel feel to their version, with just a touch of Jazz. It's a beautiful rendition, with the piano, soft horns, and great vocals. "Where Is The Love" is the most popular song from this album, and probably the most-remembered song when the two names of Roberta & Donny are mentioned. (The other one, would be "The Closer I Get To You," which I thought was by Roberta and Peabo Bryson.) "When Love Has Grown" (co-written by Donny Hathaway & Eugene McDaniels) is another great soulful duet, and compared again, to Aretha & Stevie. "Come Ye Disconsolate" is another gospel-sounding track, and just as equally magnificient in sound. The album closes with "Mood," as the title definitely sets the song. It is quite moody, maybe even sad. Written by Roberta Flack, it would the album's only instrumental, as Roberta was also a piano player.

    Roberta Flack And Donny Hathaway would be the only album the two would record together, where each song was credited for both of them. We can only imagine the future albums they could have recorded. This album is definitely a pure and soulful album. Both of their voices blended extremely well, and very talented in their own right together. "Where Is The Love" was the smash hit. As mentioned, both were just getting started in their music careers at the time this album was recorded. And, Hathaway's music of his own was never really heard in my time, listening to the radio. But for those who did remember him during his time, they have said that he was a gifted singer and songwriter. "Another Stevie Wonder." In listening to Roberta Flack And Donny Hathaway, the comparison to Stevie (and Roberta to Aretha), the combination of Roberta and Donny were a match made in musical Heaven.

    This is the debut of both their music on the WSVNRadio site. More of their music of their own will follow, in future reviews. For those who enjoy good R&B and soulful music, the 1970s decade had plenty of that. Towards the middle of that decade, Roberta Flack would shine her own star on her hit songs. Donny Hathaway would be a "discovery" artist. It would be sad, that many would discover him after his death. Discover both Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway as a beautiful and soulful duet together on this album. Roberta is still with us, as she is currently 83 years old.

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    Previous Review: #1725
    Jude--No One Is Really Beautiful
    Next Review: #1727
    Kenny Loggins--Yesterday Today Tomorrow: The Greatest Hits Of Kenny Loggins