Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Bill Withers - Live At Carnegie Hall (1973)


  

Recorded in October 1972, released in April 1973

This is a truly wonderful, atmospheric live performance from the charismatic soul/funk/folk artist Bill Withers. It has a real "live" feeling to it, you can hear the audience clapping along and Withers interacting with them and you really feel you are there.

At the time of the concert, Withers had only released two albums. Some of the tracks are from those albums, such as the funky "Use Me", the soulful "Ain't No Sunshine", the moving "Grandma's Hands" and the uplifting, anthemic "Lean On Me", but others, like "World Keeps Going Around", "For My Friend" and the anti-Vietnam War "I Can't Write Left-Handed" are previously unreleased and also don't appear on subsequent albums. Also, the Stevie Wonder-esque "Let Us Love" only appears on this album. It was released as a stand-alone single. So, it is not just an album of previously-known tracks, there is some otherwise unavailable material on here. 

Withers is often remembered as an essentially laid-back, acoustically-driven artist but it must not be forgotten that he also used an absolutely top-notch backing band who do their stuff throughout this performance. The album is a pleasure from beginning to end and also quite nostalgic in the manner in which Withers speaks to his audience - very much of its time, using terms like "dig" and "cats". We can dig it, man.



TRACK LISTING

1. Use Me

2. Friend Of Mine
3. Ain't No Sunshine
4. Grandma's Hands
5. World Keeps Going Around
6. Let Me In Your Life
7. Better Off Dead
8. For My Friend
9. I Can't Write Left-Handed
10. Lean On Me
11. Lonely Town, Lonely Street
12. Hope She'll Be Happier
13. Let Us Love
14. Harlem/Cold Baloney                                     

B+

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