Classics: Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway – Back Together Again (Atlantic)
Everything had been done to make of ‘Roberta Flack featuring Donny Hathaway’ (Flack‘s ninth album) a manifesto in the history of Soul Music. First, because its goal was to reunite two absolute giants. But also, because of its impressive line-up standing as a who’s who in the genre… With luminaries such as Stevie Wonder and Jocelyn Shaw (in other words: Jocelyn Brown!). Not to mention Hubert Eaves III (D-Train‘s producer). And, last but not least, David Foster to name a few…
Alas Hathaway would only record two songs (‘You Are My Heaven’ and the ironically titled ‘Back Together Again’). This before committing suicide. Therefore leavin’ his partner in the obligation to record the rest of the album on her own.
It is to say how the groovy ‘Back Together Again’ leaves quite a special taste. One of the best productions ever by the likes of James Mtume and Reggie Lucas. With Luther Vandross and Gwen Guthrie in the backing vocals. And mixing work courtesy of Tee Scott. As many talents whose names speak for themselves!
– One of the greatest songstresses of our time, Grammy Award winning Roberta Flack remains unparalleled in her ability to tell a story through her music. Her songs bringing insight into our lives, loves, culture and politics. This, while effortlessly traversing a broad musical landscape from Pop to Soul, Folk and Jazz.
Classically trained on the piano from an early age, Ms. Flack received a music scholarship at age 15 to attend Howard University. Discovered while singing at the Washington, DC nightclub Mr. Henry’s by Jazz musician Les McCann, she was promptly signed to Atlantic. There, she delivered an impressive string of hits. From ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ and ‘Killing Me Softly With His Song’. To ‘Feel Like Makin’ Love’ and ‘The Closer I Get to You’. But also ‘Tonight I Celebrate My Love’ and ‘Set The Night To Music’. This, in addition to ‘Where Is the Love’ and ‘Back Together Again’ which she recorded with former Howard University classmate Donny Hathaway.
In 1999, she aptly received a Star on Hollywood’s legendary Walk Of Fame.
Roberta Flack regularly plays to appreciative audiences around the world. She had the pleasure of appearing with the National Symphony Orchestra in WDC under the direction of Marvin Hamlisch. In February 2009, she performed with critically acclaimed orchestras. This bringing her in Australia. From Melbourne, to Queensland and Adelaide, among other places.
Ms. Flack is also very active as a humanitarian and mentor. She founded the Roberta Flack School of Music at the Hyde Leadership Charter School in the Bronx. Therefore providing an innovative and inspiring music education program to underprivileged students free of charge.
– James Mtume, a singer, songwriter, and multi instrumentist, and Reggie Lucas (himself a guitarist and songwriter too) met during their days as members of the Miles Davis band in the early 70’s.
Together, they produced an impressive series of outstanding gems. Among their most memorable ones: ‘Back Together Again’ for Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway. Then ‘You Know How To Love Me’ for Phyllis Hyman. But also ‘What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin” and ‘Put Your Body In It’ for Stephanie Mills. Not to mention ‘Say You Will’ for Eddie Henderson. And, last but not least, Real Thing‘s ‘She’s A Groovy Freak’.
Ultimately they would work together on the two first albums of Mtume. In other words, ‘Kiss This World Goodbye’. Then ‘In Search Of The Rainbow Seekers’ out of which came ‘So You Wanna Be A Star’. This before parting ways by the beginning of the 80’s.