CD Review : Bill Withers – The Ultimate Collection (Sony)

Between 1970 and 1985, West Virginian singer/songwriter Bill Withers released 8 albums and scored several hits on both sides of the Atlantic. By the time he became disillusioned with the music business in the mid-80s a handful of his hits had already worked their way into regular playlists, led by the soulful Ain’t No Sunshine and funky pop of Lovely Day.

The Ultimate Collection delivers 19 Bill Withers originals, some were hits for him, some were covered with greater success by others. The 1971 single Grandma’s Hands was sampled for No Diggity by BLACKstreet, featuring Dr. Dre, Club Nouveau scoring a worldwide hit with a cover of Lean On Me, while covers of his 1978 collaboration with Grover Washington JR, Just The Two Of Us, easily run into double figures.

Its good therefore to switch back and appreciate these tracks in their original format, performed with soul, style and a hint of sunshine, all of which never goes out of style.

Andy Howells