This is an important one for me. It seems like I never go too long without listening to it for a few days. I heard about this record as a teenager in the 90’s, but I never saw it anywhere because it was out of print. I probably could have found it on vinyl, but didn’t have a record player at that time, so I stuck to CD’s. Keep in mind this was pre-internet, at least for me it was, so I was getting music from the record stores I lived by, and it was not around. I eventually tracked down a dub of the Japanese CD release and it became one of my favorite albums.
In general the 90’s and early 2000’s were pretty good for the (new and used) CD bins, with lots of titles being reissued and available. That’s how I learned a lot and built a nice music collection, but somehow this one fell through the cracks. In 2004 it was reissued in the US as part of the CD “These Songs For You, Live!”. It had some new tracks, which was nice, but also left some tracks off from the original—groan! I recently acquired a couple of decent vinyl copies (one original and one reissue), so now all is well, but I’ll probably break down and pop for a super clean original at some point.
Although recognized, particularly for his work with Roberta Flack, I think that Hathaway is still somewhat underappreciated. His range as a singer, player, and arranger is pretty staggering when you look at his full discography. His studio records are excellent and well worth checking out, but this live LP is stellar from top to bottom and is a good place to start if you haven’t dug in already…..and Willie Weeks IS the baddest! (Details: Atco SD 33-386)