Bill Withers – Just As I Am

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  • Superb sound throughout with each side earning a solid Double Plus (A++)
  • Both sides here are big, open, spacious and super present with a solid bottom end
  • Many of his best songs are on here, such as ’Ain’t No Sunshine,’ ’Grandma’s Hands’ and ’Harlem’. 
  • “In a career laden with highlights and hallmarks in the annals of soul history, Just as I Am gets rather overlooked as one of the best soul debuts ever issued…” – All Music, 4 1/2 Stars

What the best sides of this Classic Soul album from 1971 have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl import pressings like this one offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1971
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with the guitars and drums having the correct sound for this kind of recording
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Harlem 
Ain’t No Sunshine 
Grandma’s Hands 
Sweet Wanomi 
Everybody’s Talkin’
Do It Good

Side Two

Hope She’ll Be Happier 
Let It Be
I’m Her Daddy
In My Heart 
Moanin’ And Groanin’ 
Better Off Dead

AMG 4 1/2 Star Review

In a career laden with highlights and hallmarks in the annals of soul history, Just as I Am gets rather overlooked as one of the best soul debuts ever issued… it’s almost as if Withers is in a living room singing to a small group of people, rather than making a record. Of course, the instantly recognizable anthem “Ain’t No Sunshine” gets all of the acclaim it so richly deserves, but tracks like “Harlem” and “Better Off Dead” also warrant kudos for the intensity and maturity of their performances. Even when he’s doing covers, Withers treats them as if they are his own compositions and handles them with great delicacy.