Bill Withers – Greatest Hits
(Numbered Limited Edition 180g LP)
Bill Withers created mellow, down home-style soul for barely more than a decade before electively retreating from the industry to pursue craftsman interests.
Yet over the course of the handful of albums he made for Sussex and CBS, the Appalachian native struck lasting emotional chords in legends ranging from Booker T. Jones to Stephen Stills—not to mention the millions of listeners that fell under the spell of now-standard tracks such as “Lean on Me,” “Use Me,” and “Ain’t No Sunshine.”
The antithesis of the sweaty R&B shouter that prowled the edge of stages, Withers dealt in calm and vulnerability.
Serving as a template for modern British soul contemporaries like Sam Smith and an extension of the timeless fare explored by Van Morrison, Curtis Mayfield, and Al Green, Bill Withers’ Greatest Hits belongs in every music lover’s library.
Mobile Fidelity’s reissues of the 1981 compilation provide a transparent view of Withers’ relaxing timbre and the subtle grooves underlining his arrangements.
Characteristics ranging from the tension of the guitars, funky bends of the bass, whisper-soft coo of the formal strings, airiness of the backing harmonies, and sharpness of the snare drum emerge with utmost clarity and lifelike presence.
Always prized for its naked honesty and pure conviction, Withers’ music positively caresses the senses on this LP and SACD, the unadulterated production and beautiful soundscapes revealed anew with each listen. You won’t find a better-sounding roots R&B collection.
1. Just the Two of Us
2. Use Me
3. Ain’t No Sunshine
4. Lovely Day
5. I Want to Spend the Night
6. Soul Shadows
7. Lean on Me
8. Grandma’s Hands
9. Hello Like Before
10. Who Is He (And What Is
He to You)?