Whereas songbird Nina Simone relied heavily on blues and jazz, Roberta Flack brought more folk to the table perhaps a reflection of her first album coming out so close to the summer of '69 as well as groove-heavy Southern soul, showing some of her North Carolina roots. If your knowledge of her subdued soulfulness begins and ends with "Killing Me Softly With His Song" (thanks to Lauren Hill), you've just skimmed the surface. Dig deeper for protest songs such as "Compared to What," and you don't need a belief in a god to weep when she belts out "I Told Jesus." Stick with early Flack because as she approached 1975, the year Captain & Tennille reigned as king and queen of the pop charts, the world went cuckoo for adult contemporary, and Flack abandoned her brooding sound to sing "Feel Like Makin' Love" to the tune of a vibraphone. That's an instrument, kids.
Mon., March 1, 8 p.m., 2010