Top Artists – Bill Withers

Grover Washington – Winelight

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  • Superb sound throughout this wonderful Elektra pressing
  • Both sides here are rich, full-bodied and musical – this is the sound of Analog that we fell in love with all those years ago (57 and counting in my case)
  • 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…”


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 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…)

Letter of the Week – “I’m bowled over! Grover is so NOT Kenny G.”

More of the Music of Grover Washington

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One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom, 

So get a load of this. Until this afternoon I’d never even listened to Grover Washington – – that link you sent me earlier has All The King’s Horses highlighted not very far down. I remember seeing that album on the site not long ago, but Grover Washington?? Is Tom nuts? I considered him to be in the same category as Kenny G, lord emperor of Smooth Jazz… whatever, some people love it but it’s not for me. I’m a bop/hard bop guy – Monk, Dolphy, Dexter, Hubbard, Coltrane, Griffin, Morgan… no way I could be a fan of Grover.

But OK, Tom’s been right on so many things up til now… let’s see if Spotify (horrors!) has that album. WHOA… I’m bowled over! Grover is so NOT Kenny G. – the guy grooves hard, but funky – with a soul/blues feel, sometimes a little latin beat mixed in. Damn!!! It’s still available? Add to Cart. And Winelight is only $150? I’ll take that too.

Restraint is fickle, and situational. Thanks again.


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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.”


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