Top Artists – Bill Withers

Bill Withers – Menagerie

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  • With two nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sides, this copy is close to the BEST we have ever heard, right up there with our Shootout Winner
  • Big, rich and smooth — this is vintage analog after all ** this is just the right sound for this music
  • Includes Withers’ signature hit, “Lovely Day” as well as “Lovely Night For Dancing”
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Where his Sussex material was slyly eclectic, touching on a number of different styles, this album is more cohesive, a smooth album that points the way toward quiet storm while retaining a warm soulfulness, largely due to Withers’ wonderful voice.”

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Bill Withers / Still Bill – Surprisingly Well Recorded Soul

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  • Some of the best soul sound you’ll ever hear – natural, full-bodied and present, with the kind of richness and smoothness you only get from vintage analog
  • It’s Withers’ most consistent album, with outstanding sound for the two big hits – “Lean On Me” and “Use Me”
  • 5 stars: “It’s warm and easily accessible, but it has a depth and complexity that reveals itself over numerous plays — and, given the sound and feel of the music, from the lush arrangements to his comforting voice, it’s easy to want to play this again and again… the greatest testament to his considerable gifts.”
  • If you’re a Withers fan, this is a Must Own Classic from 1972 that belongs in your collection.
  • The complete list of titles from 1972 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.

Many of Withers’ best songs are on here, classics of the ’70s canon such as ’Use Me’, ‘Who Is He (And What Is He To You)? and ‘Lean On Me.’

This killer early Sussex pressing was one of the best from our recent shootout. It beat practically every other copy we put up against it (on side one anyway) with superb presence, top-notch clarity, full-bodied vocals and serious energy. I don’t think you could find a better sounding Bill Withers album no matter what you did. I wish there were more ’70s soul albums that sounded as good as this one does.

The vinyl is about as quiet as any Sussex pressing ever is. Finding these good sounding early pressings in audiophile playing condition is not easy as I’m sure you can imagine. (more…)

Bill Withers – Live at Carnegie Hall

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  • KILLER Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on sides two and three and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the other two sides
  • These sides are incredibly spacious, clear, rich and chock full of analog Tubey Magic – exactly the right sound for this surprisingly well recorded live album
  • 4 stars: “A wonderful live album that capitalizes on Withers’ trademark melancholy soul sound while expanding the music to fit the room granted by a live show… One of the best live releases from the ’70s.”

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Grover Washington – Winelight

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  • Outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound from beginning to end on this wonderful Elektra pressing – fairly quiet vinyl too
  • Both sides here are incredibly rich, full-bodied and musical with excellent bass — essential for this funky music
  • We’ve called this album a Demo Disc for Bass and any Hot Stamper copy will show you why
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Winelight is one of his finest albums, and not primarily because of the Bill Withers hit “Just the Two of Us.” It is the five instrumentals that find Washington (on soprano, alto, and tenor) really stretching out…”

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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

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