Roberta Flack Let It Be Roberta-Roberta Flack Sings The Beatles

It's not surprising that Roberta Flack's first offering in eight years would be an all-covers album. After all, the two songs most synonymous with Flack, at least commercially – "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" and "Killing Me Softly With His Song" – are interpretations of compositions by Ewan MacColl and Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel, respectively. Perhaps taking inspiration from Bettye Lavette's successful 2010 release of British Invasion classics, Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook, Let It Be Roberta sees Flack tackle 12 Beatles classics. The Lennon/McCartney catalogue is so embedded in our collective consciousness that you can't shake the echoes of the original songs and the fact that Flack is well aware of this makes this set interesting. "In My Life" is given a spry, mid-paced reboot that ironically underscores the wistfulness of the original through an air of jubilation. "I Should Have Known Better" has an urban-contemporary energy and the classy guitar shadings and Flack's equally refined vocals on a bluesy take of "Oh Darling" push these standards in new directions. A few clunkers abound: Flack's voice is simply too poised for "Come Together" and a duet with Sherrod Barnes on "The Long & Winding Road" aims to recapture Flack's immortal chemistry with the late Donny Hathaway, but falls a bit short. (429/Sony)