Bill Withers – Live at Carnegie Hall


There was a time, not too long ago when I was hunting down samples like a mad man, and I bought any compilation of such on sight.  It was during  one of these episodes that I picked up a gem called “A Break From the Norm: The Norman Cook Collection.”  Every song on the album had been sampled by Norman AKA Fatboy Slim…and amongst these tracks was one by Bill Withers called ‘I Can’t Write Left Handed;’ which if you’ve never heard it, is gorgeous and just devastating.

I owned a Bill Withers Greatest Hits CD at the time, but it had nothing like this on it, so I had to check the liner notes to find out that it was from the “Live at Carnegie Hall” album.  Out of print for some odd years it had luckily been recently reissued (thank you reissue gods!) and I snatched it up in my greedy little hands and laughed that maniacal laugh that I do when I know I’ve struck gold.

“Mmwwaaa ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!”

Or something like that.

For months after that I did nothing but burn copies of this for my friends and force people to listen to it at parties.  I recently invested my money in a local bar, whose patrons are now treated to random bursts of my music whenever the mood strikes me to take over the booth.  This album now gets requested quite a bit.

Not a song, mind you, but the whole album.

It’s kind of like a Greatest Hits album…but live…and better.  Sure it’s got the classics like ‘Use Me’ and ‘Lean on Me,’  but also deeper cuts like ‘Better Off Dead’ and ‘Harlem/Cold Baloney’ as well.  It’ll live in your car or iPod for a while if you get it, believe me.

Born in 1938, Withers wrote and sang his songs from the 60’s all the way through the mid eighties before he retired.  I was looking him up on line the other day (read: Stalking) and found out that he mostly gardens nowadays.  An artist like this is gardening instead of playing??? Seriously, WTF Bill?

Like who wouldn’t drop a C Note to catch him live today?

Word on the streets is that he’s got a stock of unreleased material lying around that my soon be made into an album.  One can only hope.

But, seriously…can I get a tour, Bill?  At this point I’d settle for a one night stand at the Hollywood Bowl…


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