Despite the import of the occasion--an October 1972 night at America's most prestigious hall--what really impresses about Bill Withers's Live at Carnegie Hall is the good feeling and sense of interplay passed between the s... more »tar, his band, and the audience. From the surpassingly casual opening of "Use Me" and its build through eight-plus minutes and an extended ending to the complexity and occasional joy of Withers's socio-personal "Lean on Me," "I Can't Write Left-Handed," and a medley of "Harlem" and "Cold Bologna," Carnegie is an underappreciated document of what for a moment was progressive R&B. Always one of music's most humble performers, Withers quietly, intensely proves his mettle over the length of this one-time double LP. --Rickey Wright« less
Despite the import of the occasion--an October 1972 night at America's most prestigious hall--what really impresses about Bill Withers's Live at Carnegie Hall is the good feeling and sense of interplay passed between the star, his band, and the audience. From the surpassingly casual opening of "Use Me" and its build through eight-plus minutes and an extended ending to the complexity and occasional joy of Withers's socio-personal "Lean on Me," "I Can't Write Left-Handed," and a medley of "Harlem" and "Cold Bologna," Carnegie is an underappreciated document of what for a moment was progressive R&B. Always one of music's most humble performers, Withers quietly, intensely proves his mettle over the length of this one-time double LP. --Rickey Wright
"I'm surprised that this isn't mentioned in the same breath as B.B. King's "Live At The Regal" and James Brown's "Live At The Appolo" as one of the best live albums ever. The energy of this performance is amazing and the crowd is so into the music that the whole disc is just ELECTRIC. The live version of "Use Me" is SO good, with the whole crowd clapping on the off beat. Best of all, after the band jams on the song for seven minutes, you can hear the shouts of "One more time!!" from what sounds like the back row of Carnegie Hall. Bill Withers asks the crowd, "One more time?" and the place goes nuts, at which point the band launches back into the song without missing a beat. This is just one of the moments captured here that can only be described as magical. The appreciative round of applause that Withers gets from the crowd after delivering an amazing vocal on "Hope She'll Be Happier" is also noteworthy. Bill Withers really possessed a natural talent for songwriting; his lyrics are simple and direct but say so much. The middle verse of "World Keeps Going Around" where he describes the dating chain of the narrator with a few different women is amazing. Songs like "Grandma's Hands" and "I Can't Write Left Handed" are incredible lyrically also. This was a great performance where everything just clicked: great songs, great band, and an enthusiastic crowd. This should be essential listening for everyone. The finale of Harlem/Cold Baloney is so awesome. Bill Withers gets the whole place to chant "shake em on down" as he leaves the stage. What an ending! This is really an unsung masterpiece."
None other like Billy...a beauty for sure!
John K. Reed | 11/03/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have waited too long for this release. My friend once said..."Bill Withers...I forgot about him....that's right...he was different...his songs always sounded special or sacred to me".That's says it all. They only way I can describe, Billy, as I like to call him is - "all heart". I never heard the starkness of, "I Can't Write Left-handed...anywhere else. Billy repeatedly writes songs sounding like "they HAD to be written". Unfortunately, he was overshadowed by other artists like Al Green, Issac Hayes, Marvin Gaye etc. and although the former are strongly talented, Withers is an equal trobadour. Perhaps he is a humble or gentle giant.Sit down, quiet and still, and give a full ear to, "Maybe the Lateness of the Hour". Something about it always reminds me of Beethoven's, "Moonlight Sonata". I have deeply experienced this gentle giant's art and if you ever get a chance to hear his version of, the Fab Four's, "Let It Be"....like my friend says.."Man does he do Let It Be" I am a songwriter and Bill Withers has been a guide for me to, "push all the rules off the drafting table cause this is what I got to say". Furthermore, I met him briefly, after a show about 8-9 years ago and without even knowing me...he greeted me with a real big hug.And MTV should put Bill's BEAUTIFUL, "Ain't No Sunshine" video, filmed in the seventies, back on.And somebody should build him a website...then again...he is so cool....he could probably care less about all the hullabaloo.What a beauty you are Bill! Thanks for all the sacrifices, I know you had to make to bring us you. Kesho!"
Part soul, protest, folk, and blues all rolled into one.
John K. Reed | Harrisburg, PA United States | 02/07/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let's see. On this one album he hits family, love, friendship, poverty, war, maturity with deadly accuracy. And all along the way we are treated to sophisticated (not complicated) arrangements that are just flawlessly executed. Lean on Me, Grandma' Hands, Friend of mine, ain't no sunshine, I can't write left handed, better off dead, and Cold Baloney. Well these are just great songs.My parents played this record alot when I was a child but I don't think I really appreciated it until I got to hear it as an adult. Cold baloney brings tears to my eyes almost each time I hear it.I would have loved to have been at this concert. Well worth the purchase price. A must have album."
The best music ever
P. Serge | Paris, France | 09/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"it's as simple as that: if you like good music, the one that comes from soul and guts, you have to get this album. forget about style, this ain't typical soul music, or anything that could really be labelled. this music comes from the heart, and can speak to anyone, whatever your taste in music is. if you already own some bill withers material, you're missing the essential piece: his studio work is great, but bill's voice, his sincerity, his sense of humor, his "fire", all those things are really amplified by his live performance, and his funky, funky band, brings the best possible music to fit his lyrics. so, to every music listener in the world: whether it's a lovely or a sad day for you ,you'll find in this record something to listen, something that will fit your mood. don't you hesitate, this is forever good music, that will never get old."
Bill Withers is SASSY!
terri stricklind | Tennessee | 05/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of his better albums. "Carnegie Hall" sheds light onto the talents of this man who has been my favorite singer/songwriter since the age of 11 (I'm 24 now). I'm thankful for the greatest hits and all, but will there ever be re-issues of his original albums in their entirety? "Still Bill" contains some tracks that are so smooth, make you just want to strip naked and get on down! However, "Adjustments", in my opinion, is THE BEST BILL WITHERS album to date. Although a couple of songs from this album have been reissued on "The Best of Bill Withers", the world is being deprived of other such greats as 'Heartbreak Road', 'You', and the list goes on. If record companies (along with "on-line music sites that assist in advertising") would care about the shear satisfaction of their customers, they would put all of Bill Withers' albums back on the market and it really will be a "Lovely Day""