Friday, March 5, 2010

Currently playing- Donny Hathaway

The African American soul singer Donny Hathaway who died in 1979, aged just 34, is recognized as one of the great soul singers. His work has had such a lasting impact. Best known for his duets with Roberta Flack, Hathaway is one of my favourite performers. His live album These Songs for You Live and his last studio masterpiece Extension of Man have been playing on my CD today. This is music of such emotional power.

Much of his solo music, previously unavailable on CD, is being re-released. The live album These Songs for You, LIVE includes songs from two live albums previously unavailable on CD, as well as unreleased live songs. This is a truly remarkable live CD that captures the musical inventiveness, power and beauty of Hathway's music. As well as his own compositions (Someday We will all Be Free,The Ghetto) Hathaway covers classic songs such as You've Got a Friend (Carole King), Song for You (Leon Russell), Yesterday (The Beatles), He ain't heavy he's my brother, What's Going on (Marvin Gaye) and Superwoman (Stevie Wonder).

Hathaway is such a fine interpreter of song. He brings a profound dignity and humanity to the songs,but he sings and plays with such funk. His piano introduction to the Leon Russell penned song "A Song for You" is one of the most evocative introductions to a song in contemporary music. Russell's song has been widely recorded by other performers, but Hathaway's interpretation is in my view the finest.

No comments: