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Roberta Flack Releases Beatles Tribute Album

Beatles - Roberta Flack
Central Press / Andy Kropa, Getty Images

Ever since the Beatles first arrived on the scene, interpretive singers have plucked through their catalog for material, either as one-offs or full-blown tribute albums. The latest comes from an unlikely source: Roberta Flack, whose latest album, ‘Let It Be Roberta: Roberta Flack Sings The Beatles,’ is her take on the Fab Four’s songbook.

Released on Feb. 7, ‘Let It Be Roberta’ finds the 73-year old Flack in elegant voice singing 11 Beatles classics and ‘Isn’t It A Pity’ from ‘All Things Must Pass,’ George Harrison’s 1970 solo debut. The arrangements are diverse, with ‘Come Together’ expanding on the original’s slinky groove, while her version of ‘We Can Work It Out,’ released as a single last September, has a modern R&B feel. The album closes with a jazzy interpolation of ‘Here, There and Everywhere’ recorded at Flack’s 1972 performance at Carnegie Hall.

Flack, best known for her jazz-soul hits of 1970s like “Killing Me Softly With His Song” and “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” remembers being blown away by the Beatles when she was first getting her start playing piano and singing in clubs in Washington, D.C.

“I love the stories the songs tell,” Flack told NPR. “I love the simplicity — the fact that they’re so accessible. The thing that just overwhelms me is how these young musicians were able to write so deeply and so intensely and to be so correct that here we are talking about it all these years later. People all over the world know these songs.”

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