Wednesday, January 04, 2006

What I'm listening to this week.

Donny Hathaway
Atlantic Records

I picked up this old favorite a couple of weeks ago at Tower Records. Inexpensive at $12.00, this CD includes the original vinyl album artwork but is missing the liner notes.

I'll bet it's been 20 years since I've heard these recordings by the great singer/keyboardist/songwriter Donny Hathaway and a terrific band that included guitarist Cornell Dupree and ace bassist Willie Weeks, plus another guitarist, conga and trap drums, and Hathaway on acoustic and Wurlitzer electric piano. The album was recorded before very enthusiastic fans at the Troubadour in Los Angeles and the Bitter End in New York, and was released in 1972.

These recordings are great fun and Hathaway, the band, and the fans are all having a ball! The first tune is a fine version of Marvin Gaye's "What's Goin' On," followed by Hathaway's "The Ghetto" which features smoking piano and percussion solos. The crowd helps out with the vocals on Carole King's "You've Got A Friend" by singing the choruses for the band leader. There's even a cool version of John Lennon's "Jealous Guy" here where the band helps out with some vocal harmonies on the chorus. The final tune, "Voices Inside (Everything Is Everything)," is a 14-minute jam that features the famous 3+ minute-long solo by electric bass maestro Willie Weeks.

This is a terrific record by one of the premier soul artist of the time, and I recommend it highly. Play it loud!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have been listening to this album as enthusiastically as the people who attended the live show for the last 30 years. Weeks' solo on Voices Inside is extraordinary!! The music world has missed the talent of Hathaway since his death in the late 70s. I have not heard anything musically in perfection, intensity or passion that rivals this live performance. It simply is NOT possible for anyone to say they are a music fan if they don't come away with an appreciation for how tight this live set was. It just doesn't get any better than this.