That so little of Bill Withers' catalogue is available domestically is nothing short of scandalous; someone at Sony (who also own the four superb early Sussex albums) should be beaten soundly. Still Bill did slip out here a few months ago, but with little fanfare, and now that and his 1971 debut, Just As I Am, produced by Booker T Jones, appear on Australian label Raven.

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Bill Withers – Just As I Am

That so little of Bill Withers’ catalogue is available domestically is nothing short of scandalous; someone at Sony (who also own the four superb early Sussex albums) should be beaten soundly. Still Bill did slip out here a few months ago, but with little fanfare, and now that and his 1971 debut, Just As I Am, produced by Booker T Jones, appear on Australian label Raven. There’s an extraordinary run of perfectly crafted little songs tumbling out of these records (“Ain’t No Sunshine”; “Use Me”; lesser-known gems like “Grandma’s Hands”), a large number of which were huge hits at the time. The production is taut and simple, Withers’ gorgeous, woody voice deceptively casual in delivery. Perhaps the most familiar are simply too familiar?how else could such a talent have been forgotten?