Sunday, February 10, 2019

Flack History Month

I'm back in the middle of snowy season to begin a flurry of postings with this incredible concert, authored by today's birthday diva.
She's been at this music thing at a very high level for a very long time, let's just say.
If you had a dollar for every baby made to her music, you'd be able to buy Capitol Records and just put your name on the building, so everyone on Sunset Blvd. could see.
She is 82 today and still a most powerful voice.
Some of her songs are so beloved, covers of them zoom to the top of the charts like rocketships going to the Moon.
There are living icons of song and then there are living icons of song. And then there's Roberta Flack, born this day in 1937.
Whether on her own through her myriad, mutlitplatinum solo records, or in the company of Soul deities like Donny Hathaway or Peabo Bryson, there is simply no one else like her.
I'm tryna think if I've ever met anyone that professed to not like her music, and I'm coming up totally empty.
Then there's this unbelievable show I have to share today, oh my. This is something I've tried to fix before, and been hoping would get recirculated for years, but which I've never seen online since back when I first got it in 2005.
This one has its issues fasho. Firstly and foremostly it's the dropouts/digiskips that either happened in the tape transfer or in a CD generation subsequently. There were 9 instances in 8 different songs where a very small portion of music was dropped and it just pops ahead. As a drummer I hear these interruptions as if they were 40,000,000 nails on 400,000 blackboards; my inner groove is disturbed by them to no end. 
So I set about repairing them in my inimitable substitution fashion, making microrepairs using material from elsewhere in a song to reconstitute the missing pieces. Some of these edits take hours but I refuse to give up until they are in place and as seamless as can be made possible.
The sound was the other issue: this was captured kind of flat and drained of the lush harmonics present in the performance. I used the typical Sound Forge 11 Graphic EQ and Graphic Dynamics tools to bring the sonic architecture of it into line with the stratospheric, transcendent quality of the show, and I'd like to think I succeeded.
Roberta Flack
"Live Under the Sky"
Yomiuri-Land East
Tokyo, Japan
7.28.1985

CD1
01 I Keep Forgetting
02 Love Was Never Meant for Me
03 Killing Me Softly
04 Feel Like Makin' Love
05 I Can See the Sun In Late December 
06 Set Free
07 Gentle Is My Man

CD2
01 Suzanne 
02 River 
03 Love Light In Flight 
04 Where Is the Love
05 The Closer I Get to You 
06 One On One
07 Whole Truth
08 The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
09 If I Am Still Around Tomorrow

Total time: 1:32:41

Roberta Flack - vocals, piano
Barry Miles - keyboards
Larry McRae - bass
Howard King - drums
Phillip Hamilton - guitar
Harry Whitaker - keyboards
Zene Zacharoff - keyboards
Dennis Collins - vocals
Gabrielle Goodman - vocals

sounds like an FM master reel, remastered and repaired by EN 2018-2019
562 MB FLAC here
This concert is really as good as archival music gets, with Roberta sending the normally reserved Japanese audience into full-on roaring and clapping participation in nearly every tune. I've tried before, but I thought it was finally time to tackle its glaring sonic issues and turn it into a definitive edition of itself, at least until a better FM transfer or a pre-FM source can bubble to the top.
I shall return this coming week with more trouble for your treble and badassery for your bass... I might even slide some midrange game down.
But today is the day to hook up to this woefully undercirculated and utterly magical concert by one of the true, true legends of it all, and for you to celebrate Flack History Month in the proper style!--J.