Songs 1 to 4 (the old side one) of Donny Hathaway Live were recorded in August 1971 at The Troubadour in Hollywood and songs 5 to 8 (side two) were recorded in October 1971 The Bitter End in New York. It was released in the following year.
I only found out about the excellent live album because it was recommended to me through a comment on the best live soul album poll.
Donny Hathaway had a troubled life. He was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and he committed suicide in New York on January 13, 1979. With such a short career, the recordings we have are precious.
Donny Hathaway Live 1971
- What’s Going On – 5:18 (cover of the Marvin Gaye classic)
- The Ghetto – 12:09 (on the Everything is Everything studio album as a 6 minutes 50 seconds track)
- Hey Girl – 4:03
- You’ve Got A Friend – 4:34 (cover of the Carole King song, originally on the Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack album)
- Little Ghetto Boy – 4:33
- We’re Still Friends – 5:12
- Jealous Guy – 3:08 (cover of the John Lennon classic)
- Voice Inside – 13:47 (on Everything is Everything where it is just 3:28 long)
I have a few concerns about the three well known covers – What’s Going On, You’ve Got A Friend and Jealous Guy – out of a total of just eight songs but Hathaway’s strength is as an interpreter and arranger of songs and he recorded plenty of covers.
The band were:
- Donny Hathaway – vocals, electric piano, piano, organ
- Phil Upchurch – lead guitar on songs 1 to 4
- Cornell Dupree – lead guitar on songs 5 to 8
- Mike Howard – guitar
- Willie Weeks – bass
- Fred White – drums
- Earl DeRouen – conga drums
Hathaway is an excellent singer in the Marvin Gaye smooth vocalist tradition rather than a belter like Wilson Pickett.
The performances of the covers are just about different from the origins to have a worthy place on the album but where it really comes alive is on the two extended tracks – The Ghetto with some lovely piano work from Hathaway and Voice Inside with a bass solo from Willie Weeks.
With two percussionists it has plenty of rhythm and prominent beats.
I will come back and give it a number rating and it feels like a 26 out of 30 live album. It’s very highly recommended but it’s not as good as Sam Cooke’s Live At Harlem Square Club as far as I’m concerned.
What Other People Say
I’ve seen it feature in these best live album lists.
Vox Best 70
It’s also loved at Amazon.
Buying Donny Hathaway Live
To help you to find the album quickly and easily, I’ve given you the following links::
- Amazon.com as a CD or mp3
- Amazon.co.uk as a CD or mp3
- iTunes as a digital download
- eBay as a CD
Hathaway recorded a second live album, In Performance that was released after his death. You can sometimes find Live and In Performance sold as a two-for-one CD. However the second recording doesn’t have the great reputation of the first.
What Is The Best Soul Live Album?
Is this one of the greatest live soul albums or do you think there are better live albums released by other soul artists?
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You can see all the polls at Live Album Polls.