14 Songs, 1 Hour 17 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Recorded in October, 1972, at the peak of his fame, Bill Withers’ Live At Carnegie Hall affirms everything that is special about its author: his warmth, his forthrightness, his force. The album is the culmination of a West Virginia factory worker’s rise to the country’s most hallowed stage, with Withers determined to share every ounce of his elation and gratitude with his audience. The live setting gives him an opportunity to mine his songs for all they were worth. The snaky groove of “Use Me Up” is turned into a climatic eight-minute anthem, while the introspective despair of “Hope She’ll Be Happier” becomes a subtly orchestrated prayer for strings and piano. His rapport with his band and audience is astonishing; the crowd sits in rapt silence for story songs like “Let Me In Your Life,” while “Lean On Me” is nothing short of a full-bore congregational jubilee with Withers as minister. Every sound is illustrated with more fullness and detail than a studio could ever hope to offer. With Curtis Mayfield’s Curtis Live! and Donny Hathaway’s Live, Carnegie Hall is part of a family of revelatory early-Seventies soul concert celebrations.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Recorded in October, 1972, at the peak of his fame, Bill Withers’ Live At Carnegie Hall affirms everything that is special about its author: his warmth, his forthrightness, his force. The album is the culmination of a West Virginia factory worker’s rise to the country’s most hallowed stage, with Withers determined to share every ounce of his elation and gratitude with his audience. The live setting gives him an opportunity to mine his songs for all they were worth. The snaky groove of “Use Me Up” is turned into a climatic eight-minute anthem, while the introspective despair of “Hope She’ll Be Happier” becomes a subtly orchestrated prayer for strings and piano. His rapport with his band and audience is astonishing; the crowd sits in rapt silence for story songs like “Let Me In Your Life,” while “Lean On Me” is nothing short of a full-bore congregational jubilee with Withers as minister. Every sound is illustrated with more fullness and detail than a studio could ever hope to offer. With Curtis Mayfield’s Curtis Live! and Donny Hathaway’s Live, Carnegie Hall is part of a family of revelatory early-Seventies soul concert celebrations.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.8 out of 5
57 Ratings

57 Ratings

Dutch and the Four-Letter Words ,

Soul and funk at its finest

Before things got a little crazy and outlandish, there was Bill Withers. A true poet who would have been a professional at the art form if it were as popular as music. Taking up the guitar and utilizing his poignant, thoughtful and vivid lyrics, Withers has written at least one song that makes us feel something powerful. This live album is the best recorded show I own -- the only live album I compare it to is Built to Spill "Live" and that's a collection of songs. The emotion in Withers' voice is especially prevalent on "Hope She'll Be Happier" and "I Can't Write Left-Handed." "World Keeps Going Around" has one of the best bass lines out there and the "For My Friend" is easy to relate with if you have ever had a beef with someone you cared about. The tightness of the backing band should also be mentioned -- Withers starts the chorus early on "Use Me" and his accompanying musicians are able to keep up without missing a beat. Literally. Not to mention the aforementioned opening track contains a treat most concert-goers wished more artists would do when playing one of their hits. A must-have for anyone with musical taste!

drowem ,

A Classic!

Take note young people and musicians... this is what good music is all about.

Sung with real power, real emotion, and in a language that everyone can easily understand. Buy the album, buy a song or two, just add some of this album's songs to your personal library.

Trust me... if you haven't needed songs like these, grow a little more, and you will!

tf10 ,

Best Album I Own

Band is cranking, songs are classic, Bill is on fire w/ his storytelling and charisma.....a classic. A rare album you can play straight through.

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