Donny Hathaway – 1972 – Live

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Donnie Hathaway – Live – is one of those really rare in-person performance, where everything comes together, you don’t just get the music, you get the sweat, the movement, the cachunk, the entire spectrum of emotion.

Hathaway was not a virtuoso singer, but it would be hard to find another performer able to deliver more raw sincerity. His electric piano playing is really stellar here, especially on Hey Girl, where he weaves a hypnotic trance. Without exception, the band is loose and relaxed, completely aligned with each other and Hathaway’s objectives.

Hathaway was, and is, the real thing. While his celebrated duets with Roberta Flack are sweet, polished, and reliably popular, if you want to experience the raw talent and heart that make him undeniably great, “This is it.”

Tracks
A1 What’s Going On 5:17
A2
The Ghetto 12:18
A3
Hey Girl 4:02
A4
You’ve Got a Friend 4:33
B1
Little Ghetto Boy 4:32
B2
We’re Still Friends 5:15
B3
Jealous Guy 3:09
B4
Voices Inside (Everything Is Everything) 13:40

Easily one of the greatest live experiences ever captured on wax, Donny Hathaway’s Live from 1973 is half taken from a show at New York’s Bitter End club and half from the Troubadour in Hollywood. The group backing Hathaway is absolutely phenomenal – Willie Weeks, one of the most in-demand session musicians of the time kills it on bass, Earl DeRouen keeps things extra funky with his congas, and Fred White and Mike Howard (on drums and guitar, respectively) are no slouches either when it comes to these grooves. Donny himself plays mostly the Wurlitzer electric piano, though I think I heard organ on at least one track. There’s a lot of what I would call ‘soul jamming’, just endless riffing on some soulful Wurlizer chords, but the way these musicians interact with each other is so goddamn incredible, these songs could go on forever and I’d never get sick of them. And as if that wasn’t enough, Donny was blessed with one of the all time great voices for soul music. He sounds a bit like Stevie Wonder with a more gospel edge, but there’s a certain level of pain and sadness in his vocal chords that is unmatched by anyone else. That’s one of the reasons I prefer all three covers on here to the originals, particularly Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On“, his tortured soul is perfectly suited for the subject matter.

Live is also one of those rare exceptions in an artist catalog where the live record is even more essential than the studio albums; the only two songs that appeared before were “The Ghetto” and “Voices Inside (Everything is Everything)“, on Everything Is Everything and both songs are now extended over 10 minutes, with extreme conga playing in the former and a masterful Willie Weeks bass solo in the latter. “Little Ghetto Boy” also has a studio counterpoint on Come Back, Charleston Blue, but the live version eclipses it easily.

Like all my personal favorites, I could go on and on, but I’ll conclude by sharing my all-time favorite moment on this LP: After the swirly jazz intro to “The Ghetto” ends, some girl in the audience, sensing the excitement of what’s about to come, exclaims “Alright, this is it!” That about sums the whole thing up perfectly.

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Conversation for album: Donny Hathaway – 1972 – Live

32 Comments
  • Andrew
    Posted at 12:05h, 26 March 2012 Reply

    Listening to this brings me back to a better time and place. Donny was so awesome, and thisο»Ώ album endures as a masterpiece.

  • zobba
    Posted at 12:55h, 26 March 2012 Reply

    thanks

  • amacord
    Posted at 17:42h, 26 March 2012 Reply

    yes, essential. btw, the suonho rework captures this magic nicely for the dancefloor πŸ™‚

  • Brotherpete
    Posted at 17:45h, 26 March 2012 Reply

    this strange coco link doesn’t work. anybody?

  • Brotherpete
    Posted at 21:13h, 26 March 2012 Reply

    Thanks for correcting the link!

  • amazing post - loving listening to this at the moment
    Posted at 01:50h, 27 March 2012 Reply

    love the work you guys do on this blog

  • amazing post - loving listening to this at the moment
    Posted at 01:51h, 27 March 2012 Reply

    love the work you guys do on this blog…. thank you muchly!

  • for me the last song is only 2 minutes long?
    Posted at 03:59h, 27 March 2012 Reply

    for me the last song is only 2 minutes long once downloaded?

  • Nikos
    Posted at 15:42h, 27 March 2012 Reply

    it’s ok now!

  • Garcia
    Posted at 21:48h, 27 March 2012 Reply

    Donny speaks for myο»Ώ heart and soul sometimes…

  • Frankie Teardrop
    Posted at 00:15h, 28 March 2012 Reply

    Man oh man, I’d only read about the greatness of this recording before. Thank you guys so much for putting it up!!!

  • Lucas Olson
    Posted at 01:03h, 28 March 2012 Reply

    Thank you so much for this. And this amazing blog!

  • Thomas
    Posted at 09:06h, 28 March 2012 Reply

    Absolutely oneο»Ώ of the greatest!

  • Nikos
    Posted at 20:30h, 28 March 2012 Reply

    This is an awesome LP. Donny Hathaway’s smooth, soulful vocals are tremendous.

  • sergio
    Posted at 20:32h, 28 March 2012 Reply

    Thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaank youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu from Spain!!!

  • Martin Sire
    Posted at 22:57h, 28 March 2012 Reply

    After becoming an instant fan of Donny Hathaway from hearing “Extensions Of A Man”, I was totally unprepared for the genius on this album. This is probably only one out of a handful of albums that blew my mind on first listen. I hate to say it, but I think he up’s Marvin one notch on “What’s Goin On”. As far as I can tell, the funky “The Ghetto” is the greatest jam of all time. A must have for anyone.

  • Johnathan
    Posted at 19:35h, 29 March 2012 Reply

    This had been a wonderful discovery in soul/R&B music for me and I encourage everyone to purchase this CD and all of Donny’s catalog.

  • Boris
    Posted at 23:22h, 29 March 2012 Reply

    An extraordinary album of soul music at its finest. A classic. Buy it.

  • Lucas
    Posted at 18:22h, 30 March 2012 Reply

    Donny shines. Awesome piano work. Flawless vocals. Tight band. Simply excellent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kirk
    Posted at 10:27h, 31 March 2012 Reply

    May Donny rest in peace – at least we have the great legacy of record like this.

  • Jamal
    Posted at 14:11h, 31 March 2012 Reply

    The interaction with the audience is fabulous, you can feel the love flowing back and forth, especially on You’ve Got A Friend. The audience sound likea gospel choir!

  • Adam
    Posted at 10:43h, 01 April 2012 Reply

    This is a fabulous musical composition of some really funky instruments and superb musicians.

  • Ron
    Posted at 09:02h, 02 April 2012 Reply

    An essential album for Soul fans and music fans in general.

  • Raphy
    Posted at 21:17h, 03 April 2012 Reply

    This is a very good album…..The great Genius.

    Big [email protected]!

  • Raphy
    Posted at 02:01h, 04 April 2012 Reply

    I thought my album and this one is the same…On my Lp I have “A Song For You & To Be Young Gifted & Black>>>LIVE! What Happening? Now those two Shots I mention Are The BOMB!! Believe Me!

    Big [email protected]!

  • Robin
    Posted at 20:36h, 05 April 2012 Reply

    Hathaway was, and is, the real thing. While his celebrated duets with Roberta Flack are sweet, polished, and reliably popular, if you want to experience the raw talent and heart that make him undeniably great, “This is it.”

  • caley
    Posted at 05:55h, 13 April 2012 Reply

    I’ve been living with (and loving) ‘Jealous Guy’ for something like 8 years now. Why did I never get around to this album until just now?! Thanks!

  • malkifunk.tumblr.com
    Posted at 04:53h, 25 April 2012 Reply

    Great post, absolutely sums up the album perfectly. Personally one of my absolute favorites–total must have. Jealous guy might be my favorite-and check this out–it’s Raul Midon with soulive behind him, covering Donny’s cover of Jealous Guy. I was there–out of this fucking world. http://youtu.be/IcKBQESYpyM

  • ajkellyonthebass
    Posted at 20:24h, 17 May 2012 Reply

    Damn. This record is amazing. I sat down and learned every Jerry Jemmott lick on the record. Thank you.

  • ajkellyonthebass
    Posted at 12:59h, 18 May 2012 Reply

    Sorry Willie Weeks

  • thegroove
    Posted at 12:45h, 27 November 2013 Reply

    This is an essesntial record for all music lovers, if you can handle it!

  • chris Mellow
    Posted at 19:12h, 15 January 2017 Reply

    MASTERPIECE – one of my favorite all time record.
    as always – a big thx to legendary Nikos and his crew for increasing knowledge and giving me so many hours with fantastic music, IΒ΄ve never had a chance to hear without you guys.

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