Someone whom I trust, dearly, shared a song with me a few weeks ago. The song was “Be Real Black for Me” by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway. If you’ve heard this song, you already know how genuine and sincere the lyrics are. But Flack and Hathaway deliver it magically. I had never heard this song before except in Scarface’s sampling of it in “My Block.”
I was happy to learn there was an entire CD of Flack and Hathaway duets, so I bought it with the quickness. There’s so much variety in it, a devastatingly bluesy treatment of I (Who Have Nothing), originally by Ben E. King, an almost taunting rendition of You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling, originally by the Righteous Brothers, a song from their church roots, Come Ye Disconsolate, and piano solo, Mood. The self-titled Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway is probably the best purchase I’ve made all year and it hasn’t gotten old yet. I play it every morning like kneeling for a prayer. I walk differently, speak differently all day because of it. I play it when my son and I are driving home. He especially likes to sing the grand finish of Be Real Black for Me in his strongest, most joyful 2 year-old voice. I love it when he chimes in to duet with me.