Ignored Obscured Restored
Today I learned that the great Bill Withers died at the age of 81. His family released a statement that said it was due to heart complications. At least it wasn’t Coronavirus related! In his honor I’d like to repost a SotW that I wrote about him on December 22, 2012.
I’ve always loved the Bill Withers’ song “Hope She’ll Be Happier” that was on his first album Just as I Am. So without a lot of fanfare, here it is:
This album is the one with “Ain’t No Sunshine” on it. It’s really a very good record with some great musical accompaniment from the Memphis boys down at Stax records and other top notch players like Stephen Stills, Jim Keltner and Chris Ethridge.
The song is very simple – a nice guitar figure is repeated over a passionate vocal delivered in the style of a black spiritual. The lyric is about a man who is in great pain over losing his woman. He can’t quite come to grips with the reason she left but hopes she will ultimately be happier with the new guy.
This song leaves me in the same emotional state I find myself in after hearing Leonard Cohen’s “Halleluiah” – especially the wonderful Jeff Buckley version.
Now there’s one more thing I need to share and that’s the version Withers’ recorded in Africa when he visited with the James Brown headlined 3 day festival that came to be known as “The Rumble In the Jungle.” The 1974 concert is available on DVD under the title Soul Power. Withers’ performance of “Hope She’ll Be Happier” at this concert will take your breath away.
In this version it’s just him, his guitar and his voice. But it’s powerful.
Enjoy… until next week.