Bill Withers - Live at Carnegie Hall 1973 [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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04-02-2007, 10:12 AM
I snagged this used vinyl the other day for a cool five bucks and had to give it a little shout out. I don't know if anyone else is a fan of Bill Withers, but I tend to think he's underrated-- don't know what his reputation was in the 70s, but I think that most people today think of him as "that guy who did 'Lean on Me'" if they think of him at all. This record tells a different story, though. Over the course of two platters, he's passionate, political, funky, and poetic. I don't know much of the story of the show itself (whether it was an "event" or just some random gig that happened to get recorded), but the set is great. All of his signature tunes are present, including "Lean on Me," "Use Me" (a barn-burning 9-minute jam), "Grandma's Hands," and "Ain't No Sunshine," but the real gem is one number that I haven't heard anywhere else, "I Can't Write Left Handed." The show coincided with the end of the Vietnam War and this song is a meditation on the human cost of warfare-- the physical damage as well as the emotional damage to our collective psyche. I almost want to transcribe the lyrics here, but I think it's better just heard the way it was recorded. It's in the tradition of great anti-war songs in that it doesn't take an extreme position devoid of nuance, doesn't call names or point fingers, and doesn't even really explore the reasons or the justifications for the particular conflict... it just paints a quietly devastating picture of the fundamental injustice of sending young people to fight. Anyway, don't know if anyone else has heard this record, but do yourself a favor and check it out if you run across it.


04-02-2007, 03:54 PM
He's not under rated at all. Over rated? Hmm...

I've been looking for his vinyl for about a year now, and no luck at all. It's Bill Freakin Withers, I should be able to find it everywhere...besides Ebay. Please enjoy the album for me as well.


Dusty Chalk
04-07-2007, 10:00 PM
Yup, got this record based on the recommendation of another RaveReccer a couple of years ago, methinks...don't remember who, though, Jay, perhaps? And I agree, that's the highlight for the album for me as well. Even though I got it for Ain't No Sunshine.