14 Songs, 1 Hour 17 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Recorded in October, 1972, at the peak of his fame, Bill Withers’ Live At Carnegie Hall affirms everything that is special about its author: his warmth, his forthrightness, his force. The album is the culmination of a West Virginia factory worker’s rise to the country’s most hallowed stage, with Withers determined to share every ounce of his elation and gratitude with his audience. The live setting gives him an opportunity to mine his songs for all they were worth. The snaky groove of “Use Me Up” is turned into a climatic eight-minute anthem, while the introspective despair of “Hope She’ll Be Happier” becomes a subtly orchestrated prayer for strings and piano. His rapport with his band and audience is astonishing; the crowd sits in rapt silence for story songs like “Let Me In Your Life,” while “Lean On Me” is nothing short of a full-bore congregational jubilee with Withers as minister. Every sound is illustrated with more fullness and detail than a studio could ever hope to offer. With Curtis Mayfield’s Curtis Live! and Donny Hathaway’s Live, Carnegie Hall is part of a family of revelatory early-Seventies soul concert celebrations.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Recorded in October, 1972, at the peak of his fame, Bill Withers’ Live At Carnegie Hall affirms everything that is special about its author: his warmth, his forthrightness, his force. The album is the culmination of a West Virginia factory worker’s rise to the country’s most hallowed stage, with Withers determined to share every ounce of his elation and gratitude with his audience. The live setting gives him an opportunity to mine his songs for all they were worth. The snaky groove of “Use Me Up” is turned into a climatic eight-minute anthem, while the introspective despair of “Hope She’ll Be Happier” becomes a subtly orchestrated prayer for strings and piano. His rapport with his band and audience is astonishing; the crowd sits in rapt silence for story songs like “Let Me In Your Life,” while “Lean On Me” is nothing short of a full-bore congregational jubilee with Withers as minister. Every sound is illustrated with more fullness and detail than a studio could ever hope to offer. With Curtis Mayfield’s Curtis Live! and Donny Hathaway’s Live, Carnegie Hall is part of a family of revelatory early-Seventies soul concert celebrations.

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About Bill Withers

Singer/songwriter Bill Withers took soul music in a radically introspective direction in the early '70s, reviving the world-weary storytelling of the blues and embracing the autobiographical intimacy of folk rock. Already shaped by a lifetime of racial injustice and emotional upheaval by the time he first entered the studio in his early thirties, the West Virginia-born Withers applied hard-won, humanistic wisdom to sketches of striving city dwellers ("Harlem"), estranged fathers ("I'm Her Daddy"), and anguished alcoholics ("Better Off Dead”) with a voice that could soothe or scald. Bringing that same maturity to soul's greatest subject, Withers could revel in the small moments that make love feel sublime ("Lovely Day”), capture the devastation of a relationship’s regrets ("Ain't No Sunshine”), and offer inspiration while reaching out to a friend in need (“Lean on Me”). He left an undeniable stamp on socially conscious, intimately personal R&B singer/songwriters like Anthony Hamilton and D'Angelo, freeing them to mine life's deepest pleasures and darkest pains while finding poetry in day-to-day struggle.

HOMETOWN
Slab Fork, WV
BORN
July 4, 1938

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