Bill Withers’ intensely personal folksy R&B style is celebrated on this double-disc set which naturally includes signature recordings Ain’t No Sunshine, Lovely Day, and Lean On Me, as well as Grandma’s Hands and the funky Use Me, both of which have powered numerous sip-hop recordings. Although all the essential songs are all here in studio form, some are also included in live takes that, unusually, add another dimension to them and fully justify their inclusion.
Mojo, April 08
The first cross-label best-of from the Boeing toilet seat soul man acknowledges how great his first four albums were by including just three tracks from his post-’75 career.
Soul Up North, Spring 2008
Music Club Deluxe have again given the discerning soul fan something to look out for, Bill has not had the chart success that Gladys Knight & Dionne Warwick have enjoyed, but here at Soul Up North, we know that that doesn’t count for much in the quality stakes and there’s no doubting the quality of Bill’s song writing and singing ability. Because there are two CDs in this set once again we’re privileged to have a total of 34 tracks to entertain us. Some need no introduction, ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’, ‘Lean On Me’ and ‘Lovely Day’ all being very well known. However there are also his lesser and semi known sides too to interest us, ‘Heartbreak Road’ is a mid tempo plodder with a funky bass, and the slightly faster ‘The Same Love That Made Me Laugh’ is very catchy. The final eight tracks on disc two are taken from a live concert and although some of the tracks can be found earlier on the disc, the live versions are different enough to be worthy of inclusion. No out and out northern dancer to be found, but quality lyrics sung from the soul. Sleeve notes are well written by Mark Nelson, and a nice photo of Mr Withers.