Tag Archives: Bill Withers

Bill Withers, Just As I Am (Sussex, 1971)

Gratitude rundown this week:

  • @boomservicenyc on Discogs for your spectacularly low price on that Fatback Band record. I’m following the tracking and it should arrive tomorrow, thanks to the mighty USPS. Related: thank you to the mighty USPS.
  • Jason Hehir for the Last Dance doc on ESPN, and to Rudy Chung, music supervisor, for the decision to put “I’m Bad” over that footage of Michael Jeffrey Jordan LIGHTING UP THE FUCKING CELTICS, because it truly moved me and 5 days later I’m still thinkin about it so bravo.
  • My mom for location scouting for me because I needed a brick wall to do this cover. In the end, I was too self-conscious to take a pic out in the real world so I used brick photo paper in my living room, but Mom, your kindness did not go unnoticed.
  • Wild, wonderful West Virginia, for giving us Jerry West, the white Jason Williams, Randy Moss, and William Harrison Withers, Jr.
  • Stills, Nash, Booker T., and anyone else in the studio during the Just As I Am sessions, for encouraging Bill to leave all 26 “I know”s in “Ain’t No Sunshine.”
  • WordPress’ generous character allowance for its captions, as it has allowed me to self-indulgently write all these lines while I struggle with thinking of something fitting to say about Bill Withers that would describe how his music has shaped me but still… I got nothin, other than to say his voice is like a hug on your grandma’s porch and goddammn if this man couldn’t take the most regular mundane thing in life like a Harlem radiator and show you some meaning and beauty in it that you’ve been overlooking while you’re getting ready for work and worrying about your checking account.

Christmas Soul Special (Blue Moon, 1982)

Christmas Soul Special

This album is hot garbage so here lemme rank the most non-horrible Xmas songs for you:

12. The Ramones, “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)”

11. Yellow Man, “Santa Claus Never Comes To The Ghetto”

10. either Barrington Levy, “One Christmas Day” or Jacob Miller, “All I Want For Ismas” (undecided at press time)

9. Charles Brown, “Please Come Home for Christmas”

8. Marvin Gaye, “I Want to Come Home for Christmas” (saccharine as fuck but still like open-heart surgery because of Marvin’s voice & phrasing)

7. “Merry Christmas Baby” – the Bawse & the E Street Band, mostly because of the keys/drums/horns of the intro (Bittan/Weinberg/Clemons).

6. Bill Withers, “The Gift of Giving.”

5. Prince, “Another Lonely Christmas”

4. The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl, “Fairytale of New York”

3. Donny Edward Hathaway, “This Christmas”

2. Darlene Love, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”

1. Vince Guaraldi, “Linus and Lucy,” obviously

[Close, but nope: Run-DMC, “Christmas in Hollis” due to sheer annoying oversaturation (oddly, however, this does not impact the seeding of “Linus and Lucy”), Joni Mitchell’s “River” which is lovely but loses points for encouraging pouty Caucasian female wallowing, James Brown’s “Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto” (boring), and “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” by John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band, due to John Lennon’s hypocrital ass singing us a big ol’ guilt-trip let’s-all-do-better song while pretending he’s not a man who consistently physically assaulted the women in his life. HAVE A SEAT, LENNON.]

 

Redman, Whut? Thee Album (Def Jam, 1992)

Reggie

Way wayyyy back in the land of 1992, Erick Sermon was immersed in his Roger Troutman infatuation, my cousin was bummed ’cause Run-TMC was over, your uncle made disapproving comments when he saw those Michigan thugs in their black socks on TV, and a professional American sports franchise called the mother fucking REDSKINS (!!) won the Super Bowl. (Really – that was the name of the team. I’m not kidding. Can you imagine??!?!???)

Now it’s 2014 and a lot has changed – Jalen Rose is still super charismatic & likable, yes, and Tim Hardaway still plays except now there’s a “jr” after his name, but rap don’t sound like this no more and the horrendously racist “Redskins” name is no longer supported by idiotsOH WAIT NEVER MIND WHOOPS. Anyway, regardless of the passage of time and the world changing, the fact is “Time 4 Sum Aksion” will forever be the greatest high school basketball squad warm-up song ever made. Forever and ever amen.

 

Barbara Mason, Give Me Your Love (Buddah, 1972).

give me your love

I don’t really care for Barbara’s voice or the stupid babyish “Yes, I’m Ready” lyrics about not knowing how to use your body to show affection (????! Lemme draw you a picture, Ms. Mason), but this one’s got the words “Gamble,” “Huff,” and “Curtom” on the back cover, plus I already had that striped shirt, so it was destined to be.