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still bill

For a long time, I associated Bill Withers with ‘Lovely Day’ and its long-held note, and radio programmers lacking imagination.

And that was pretty much it.

And then I was introduced to Bill’s debut album ‘Just As I Am’ from 1971 – and it was a revelation.

There he was with Booker T, Jones in the producer’s chair, backed by the MG’s, and all those great songs that everyone has covered.

‘Ain’t No Sunshine,’ ‘Grandma’s Hands,’ and the opening track ‘Harlem,’ which is just astonishing – check out what Al Jackson gets up to on drums.

By the time I realised this, Withers had long since turned his back on the music business, so we’re left with a string of great records to enjoy.

The Sony Legacy reissue of ‘Just As I am’ from 2005 came in DualDisc, with documentary footage that gave a flavour of Withers, the man.

If that snapshot is anything to go, tonight’s documentary on BBC4 promises to be revelatory.

One story I heard about Withers is that he drives round in a beat up old Chevvy truck, complete with empty coffee cups littering the floor – because that’s the way he likes it.

‘Just As I Am’ is about right.

Bill Withers – Ain’t No Sunshine

Bill Withers – Harlem – Live

Still Bill – BBC iPlayer

One Response to “still bill”

  1. “I just wanna learn to accept everything before I die” – Bill Withers. Boy, that hit a chord. bbc4

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