Three Live Soul Records of the 70s

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apples and apples?

Curtis
6
55%
Donny
2
18%
Bill
3
27%
 
Total votes: 11

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Count Machuki
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Three Live Soul Records of the 70s

Postby Count Machuki » 05 Jul 2018, 15:30

They're of a piece, I think. Listening to one always makes me want to listen to one of the others. But which one's best and why? What's the best song on any of these? The best performance?

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Re: Three Live Soul Records of the 70s

Postby Charlie O. » 05 Jul 2018, 15:37

I've never really understood the love for the Donny Hathaway one.

The Bill Withers one is a good, sometimes great performance, but a double live LP based on repertoire from just two studio albums is pretty silly.

The Curtis one smokes.
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Re: Three Live Soul Records of the 70s

Postby Phenomenal Cat » 05 Jul 2018, 15:41

I love Curtis Live. I've listened to that album far more than any of his studio stuff and I generally don't like live albums. I really tried to dig the Bill Withers album but every song was so drawn out. And I know this sounds strange, but some of it was a bit too aggressive. I like my Bill really laid back.

I've never heard the Donny Osmond one.
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Re: Three Live Soul Records of the 70s

Postby Count Machuki » 05 Jul 2018, 16:24

If you like Curtis Live you'd almost certainly like Donny Hathaway Live, Cat. The songs maybe aren't as strong but it's got that same vibe and his voice is amazing throughout. I'd say there's an even stronger connection to the audience and the band is tight AF. For guitar, you get Phil Upchurch on one side and Cornell Dupree on the other side...not too bad!
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Re: Three Live Soul Records of the 70s

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 05 Jul 2018, 18:27

All greater than great.

The Withers record is the greatest of the three, with “Grandma’s Hands” and “I Can’t Write Left Handed” being the standouts.

The after-the-fact added strings perhaps make it a bit of an “impure” live album. But jeez...the playing on this record is immense. You look at the pictures from that night and everyone on stage is sitting down - and you get the feeling of just how locked in they were.
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Re: Three Live Soul Records of the 70s

Postby sloopjohnc » 05 Jul 2018, 18:28

Charlie O. wrote:I've never really understood the love for the Donny Hathaway one.

The Bill Withers one is a good, sometimes great performance, but a double live LP based on repertoire from just two studio albums is pretty silly.

The Curtis one smokes.


Ditto on the above.
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Re: Three Live Soul Records of the 70s

Postby toomanyhatz » 05 Jul 2018, 20:11

Listening to them all today. Seems to me they all commune very effectively with the audience and respective bands. And they all feel special, like you're seeing a rare performance where everything just falls into place perfectly.

I put them in the following order, though it's paper thin:

Bill
Donny
Curtis
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Re: Three Live Soul Records of the 70s

Postby Diamond Dog » 05 Jul 2018, 20:33

Charlie O. wrote:I've never really understood the love for the Donny Hathaway one.

The Bill Withers one is a good, sometimes great performance, but a double live LP based on repertoire from just two studio albums is pretty silly.

The Curtis one smokes.


Likewise with the Hathaway - I bought it on recommendations from others, and I just didn't understand what all the fuss was about.

Never heard the Withers - I may check it out.

Curtis live is a fine fine album.
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Re: Three Live Soul Records of the 70s

Postby Sneelock » 05 Jul 2018, 20:43

Davey the Fat Boy wrote:
...The after-the-fact added strings perhaps make it a bit of an “impure” live album.,,

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Re: Three Live Soul Records of the 70s

Postby echolalia » 05 Jul 2018, 23:50

I don’t know the Bill Withers one – must rectify.

Of the other two, I like Donny Hathaway better. I think it’s an amazing album. If part of the appeal of live music is seeing the musicians play, then this album puts you there in front of them. It has an effervescence about it. You can really get involved in the solos! Not that I don’t love Curtis Live but DH is a clear winner for me. You’ve Got a Friend is really great.

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Re: Three Live Soul Records of the 70s

Postby fange » 06 Jul 2018, 01:05

They're all great.
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Re: Three Live Soul Records of the 70s

Postby Walk In My Shadow » 06 Jul 2018, 21:26

Curtis certainly. Didn't much like it when I first got it but that was rectified.

Donny's great too.

Not a fan of Bill.
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Re: Three Live Soul Records of the 70s

Postby The Write Profile » 06 Jul 2018, 21:36

It's a tossup between the Withers and Mayfield. Both are superb live albums, but for different reasons. The Curtis succeeds in being almost unbearably intimate, while the Withers is almost communal in the way he gets the audience to respond. The way Withers leads the audience in the singalong is both warm and funny, while the Curtis record sounds almost as if you are right there in the room with him. His vocals are gorgeous throughout, plaintive and soulful (especially on "The Makings of You" ad "Gypsy Woman"), while Withers's vocals are tough and grunty, particularly on the Harlem/Cold Baloney medley. Both represent an audience and artistic peak, certainly there's a sense that they're thoroughly in command of their art.
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Re: Three Live Soul Records of the 70s

Postby toomanyhatz » 06 Jul 2018, 23:03

I just voted for Hathaway, not 'cause I think it's obviously better, but because I feel like it's getting short shrift here. I get that the other two are more about the whole package - original songs to go with the great band and unique performance - but I feel like DH achieves a similar sense of intimacy with other people's songs. That's just as tough to do in its own way. The version of "Jealous Guy" in particular - he really owns it.

Similarly, a lot of the excitement generated comes from the band. But he's not leaning on them. He's collaborating and getting the best out of them. And his own playing is revelatory.

It could be a three-way tie, really. And there are definite similarities. But there are differences as well, and I would hate for ones that are strengths to be overlooked in the shuffle.
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Re: Three Live Soul Records of the 70s

Postby toomanyhatz » 06 Jul 2018, 23:09

...although I just noticed BW only has one vote! That's crazy!
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Re: Three Live Soul Records of the 70s

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 07 Jul 2018, 06:00

toomanyhatz wrote:...although I just noticed BW only has one vote! That's crazy!


Three now...but it is still crazy.

I could easily rave about the other two albums. There’s plenty to say about them. The sinewy guitar and beautiful drum and percussion combo that makes the Curtis album feel so singular. The incredible bass and keyboard work that dominates the Hathaway album. The sense of time and place that both of those records evoke. I could go on and on...

But I’m taking a second pass at writing about the Withers record, because I think it is special - even in this company.

The record opens up almost cinematically. It is Carnegie Hall...you’ve just walked in from the rain and the Withers immediately counts off. It sounds both gigantic and kind of coiled up. The clapping from the audience is almost as pronounced as the drums. There’s an electricity in the air that is audible.

This isn’t just a really great club gig caught on tape. This is THE gig. These guys are at Carnegie Hall. They are in a semi-circle, on stage. Playing like they know that this gig is the one they’d been building to for years.They know it. The audience knows it. Withers is gonna keep on doing his “down to earth” shtick, but everyone knows that the reason it is so effective is that HE IS at CARNEGIE HALL, and thus - not just like everyone else.

There is a strong case to be made that Live at Carnegie Hall is Withers single best album, and perhaps the greatest pure shot of what he did - and of him at the very height of his artistic powers. It is a lightning in a bottle album. A moment that was never going to be repeated again.
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