Donny Hathaway – These Songs for You, Live! (2004) Vbr

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I mistakenly thought I had posted this over the weekend, but I had not. It might be because I was listening to it over and over again and only *thought* I had shared it here.

This is a beautiful record, aside from the legitimate complaints from Hathaway fans that his legacy as a live performer has yet to receive proper documentation. What this record does is combine tracks from 1972’s “Donny Hathaway Live!” with tracks from “In Performance” (recorded in 1973 and released after his death), so the end result is somewhat confusing indeed. It’s a sandwich of music recorded live before and after his magnificent 1973 album ‘Extensions of a Man’ was made, and it’s fantastic. Even if you already grabbed the ’72 live record here earlier, give this one a try — the sound has been remastered by Rhino and the extra songs are well worth it. ‘You’ve Got a Friend’ still gets me weepy every time. ‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,’ and “I’ll Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” are also highlights missing from the other collection, and of course the Leon Russell-penned tune ‘A Song For You’ is a classic. (Thanks to Cristina, a loyal fan of The Carpenters, for reminding me of the confusing legacy of this song.. I probably should have looked it up first — Leon did in fact record it first on a 1970 record called ‘Leon Russell and the Shelter People’, which I own, but it’s been covered so many times I actually thought he had written it from someone else. I’ve seen Willie Nelson perform it live (also recorded it on a 1973 record) and it fits him perfectly, so I’d begun thinking Leon wrote it for him.. wrong! For a history of the song, look here)

Donny Hathaway – These Songs For You, Live! (2004) VBR

FULL ARTWORK

1 Flying Easy [#] Hathaway 3:11
2 Valdez in the Country [#] Hathaway 4:08
3 Someday We’ll All Be Free [#] Hathaway, Howard 5:30
4 You’ve Got a Friend King 4:34
5 He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother [#] Russell, Scott 7:49
6 What’s Going On Benson, Cleveland, Gaye 5:27
7. Yesterday [#] Lennon, McCartney 5:24
8 Superwoman [#] Wonder 6:42
9 A Song for You Russell 5:48
10 Sack Full of Dreams McFarland, Savary 5:30
11 Little Ghetto Boy Hathaway, Howard 4:33
12 I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know Kooper 5:55
13 The Ghetto Hathaway, Hutson 12:22
14 Interview [#] 2:58

Bill Withers – Still Bill (1972) Soul classic with bonus tracks!

This is just pure magic from start to finish. Lets forget about Bill’s amazing story for a moment and just focus on his music, his unique sound, and immediately identifiable voice and writing style. The fact that he was a ‘music business outsider’ of sorts no doubt contributes to all of the above, but in many ways its beside the point. This is some of the most soulful music ever committed to wax. It’s in the rare cadre of records that is simultaneously sad and joyful, youthful and mature, with Bill belting out lyrics that can be dryly biting but never never bitter, sung from a place of pains and sorrows suffered with an eye towards the warmth of a future yet unlived, sophisticated and yet disarming in its forthright matter-of-factness. Familiar yet with a new twist around every measure, this is Still Bill…