This past month marks 50 years since Bill Withers’ debut Just As I Am. Apple Music is celebrating the release, lauding it as “one of the greatest, most personal soul LPs ever recorded.”
It didn’t hurt that Bill Withers had musicians playing on his album that read like a who’s who throughout his career: Booker T. Jones (Booker T. & The MG’s); Stephen Stills (Crosby, Stills, & Nash); James Gadson, Ray Jackson, Melvin Dunlap, and Benorce Blackmon (The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band); Dorothy Ashby; Keni Burke; Ralph […]
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation,” muses music legend Bill Withers in the new documentary Still Bill. “I would like to know how it feels for my desperation to get louder.”
In 1985, the great R&B singer Bill Withers made his last record, leaving fans hungry for more of the sinuous grooves, poignant lyrics and smooth voice that made his songs so instantly recognizable.
We saw some killer shows in the last couple of weeks: The Radiohead and Kings of Leon sets at All Points West were brilliant; Wilco debuted a ridiculous new song at Lollapalooza while wearing rad Nudie suits; and Bob Dylan dazzled in Brooklyn. But sometimes we miss one. In this case it was the Bill Withers Tribute, part of the Celebrate Brooklyn series, which drew folks like Jim James (”Ain’t No Sunshine”), Nona Hendryx (”Lovely Day”) and others to pay tribute to the reclusive soul genius. And for the first time in decades, Withers himself stepped onstage, to sing “Grandma’s Hands.”