Like many of the American critics I have been waiting for the release of this album on CD for about 10 years now, and I also thought that they should release the album with all the bonus singles that haven't appeared (until now) on CD, and that's what they did! 'The first time...' is one of Vikki's strongest albums and it plays to her strengths as an artist and a singer. Why she wanted to do more original material after this is beyond me as I think 'Ms America' and 'One hell of a woman' are among her weakest albums.
There are some surprising renditions of other people's work on this album though, I wasn't expecting 'Without you' to be taken so leisurely before kicking in with Vikki's typical 'cabaret' style belt (wonderful!). And of cause their is 'Cabaret', equally as good as Lisa Minnelli's original version. But I'm not sure that covering such classic songs by an equally strong vocalist is always a good idea. Here I am referring to 'Gypsies, tramps and thieves' and 'The way of love'. Cher's versions were so definitive, not that Vikki's are bad, but they don't compare favourably. It doesn't help when the same producer is used for those recordings. 'The first time I ever saw your face', 'Summer of '42' & 'Speak softly love' are all wonderful, delivered in a typical Vikki Carr style. 'Didn't get to sleep at all' would have made an excellent single. I don't know why Columbia didn't release any from the album except for 'The big hurt' which was on the UK version of the album.
The bonus single tracks, although all welcome, don't really fit into the over all theme of the album. The singles really did have a different 'sound' or 'production', and sound a little out of place here. I'm not really a fan of including xmas songs on a non-Christmas album, but they are 2 of the best extra cuts here. 'Reflections' from 'Lost Horizon' (remember that movie!!!) is quite nice but 'Let the band play on' is definitely the strongest bonus track. It's a pity she didn't copy Anne Murray more and record more songs like that in the 1970's. That said 'The first time ever' is a classic album by Vikki.
Beautiful !! I have been waiting so long for this to be released on CD and this is well worth the wait. Vikki has such class and a voice that is pure gold. Never one to use cheap gimmicks she is a credit to the music industry . Such a shame that vocalists like Vikki don't seem to be in vogue right now but in my book she is in a class of her own.
I purchased this album when it was released in the UK under the title "Son Sung Blue" The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. A different track listing to that of the USA release. But here it is with some of the songs that din't make the cut and my favourite The Big Hurt (which was on the UK issue). I have waited a long time to own this on CD and I am very pleased to have it now.
After a successful tenure at Liberty Records, in 1970 Vikki Carr decided a change of label would benefit her rising career and Columbia seemed to offer the best deal. THE FIRST TIME EVER (I SAW YOUR FACE) (1972) was her third album from Columbia and following the trend of recreating contemporary hits by others, the singer was faced with such a repertoire. Fortunately, the outcome was successful with producer Snuff Garrett and arranger Al Capps at the helm to fashion the ideal orchestral ambiance that allowed Vikki to freshen up what could have been predictable fare.
Foremost, were two songs which were hits for Cher - the upbeat GYPSIES TRAMPS AND THIEVES and the powerful ballad THE WAY OF LOVE - plus Neil Diamond’s SONG SUNG BLUE (under which title this album was released in the UK), Kris Kristofferson’s HELP ME MAKE IT THROUGH THE NIGHT and Ewan MacColl’s album emotional title number were ideal choices. Broadway and Hollywood provided Vikki with a rumbustious CABARET to coincide with the release of the film adaptation and the opportunity to offer full-out dramatic renderings of THE SUMMER KNOWS (THEME FROM “THE SUMMER OF ‘42‘”), SPEAK SOFTLY LOVE (LOVE THEME FROM “THE GODFATHER“) plus BRIAN’S SONG (title of a popular television movie); the latter song replaced on the UK album release by THE BIG HURT which coincidentally is included among the nine bonus songs which represent selected singles released during the period 1970-1975. Included are two Christmas songs - WHAT CHILD IS THIS? to the tune of GREENSLEEVES and traditional hymn, IT CAME UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR. REFLECTIONS was from the Burt Bacharach/ Hal David score of the flop movie LOST HORIZON and LET THE BAND PLAY ON is one of those songs in the mode of the Peggy Lee classic IS THAT ALL THERE IS?
Overall, this is a superlative tribute to Vikki who continues to enjoy popularity via her Spanish-language recordings. Real Gone Music’s usual fulsome notes give thorough attention to this reissued album which has been remastered to the highest degree along with the bonus tracks whilst also placing such songs within the early Seventies music scene.
Great album by Vikki, 9 bonus tracks too but the 2 unreleased songs mentionned above on the track listing doesn't exist on the CD 12. Spending All My Time Now Lovin' You (Previously Unreleased) 13. I Can't Let My Heaven Walk Away (Previously Unreleased songs 12 & 13 do not appear on the CD A total of 20 and not 22 songs