Roberta Flack's recording career started late - just before she turned 30. She had been classically trained, initially as a pianist and then on voice, but turned to modern music whilst teaching. Her singing is exceptional for its clarity and her ability to convey emotion.
The first CD in this set is her first album, First Take, released in 1969, and is the most accomplished debut I have ever come across. Combining pop, soul and jazz styles, this is crossover music of the highest order. It was not an instant, success, but "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" became a huge hit in 1972.
The second CD is her third album, Quiet Fire, a title that accurately describes Flack's early style. Most of the songs are delivered at particularly slow tempo, but with a passion that makes this far from dull.
The third CD, Killing Me Softly, starts with the major hit of the same name. It is another excellent album, but one in which her style starts to transform into one that is more maintstream.
The fourth and fifth CDs, Feel Like Making Love and Blue Lights in the Basement are good quality albums, but, at times, lack some of the distinctive features that make the earlier albums so interesting. Nevertheless, they still contain good songs and Flack's singing is peerless.
One factor to consider is that at least two of these albums (Quiet Fire and Feel Like Making Love) are deleted as single CDs - so, short of paying an exhorbitant price in the second hand market this is the only way to get hold of them. Thus, although I would otherwies recommend First Take and Killing Me Softly as single CD purchases, this set is an economical way of buying Quiet Fire and getting the other two CDs as a free part of the bargain.