Roberta Flack – Featuring Donny Hathaway

More Roberta Flack

More Soul, Blues, and Rhythm and Blues

  • KILLER sound on both sides of this 1979 Atlantic pressing with each earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades
  • Both sides are clean, clear and spacious yet still pretty rich and Tubey Magical
  • “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… Flack’s distinct and beautiful voice brings a level of class to this outing that few of her contemporaries were able to achieve.” – All Music

This vintage Atlantic pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What the Best Sides of Featuring Donny Hathaway Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1979
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

What We’re Listening For on Featuring Donny Hathaway

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Only Heaven Can Wait (For Love)
God Don’t Like Ugly
You Are My Heaven
Disguises

Side Two

Don’t Make Me Wait Too Long
Back Together Again
Stay With Me

AMG  Review

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… Flack’s distinct and beautiful voice brings a level of class to this outing that few of her contemporaries were able to achieve.”

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.

Leave a Reply