Category Archives: Bill Withers

NO SUNSHINE IN A STORM

 

I just stepped outside to have my good-morning-cigarette-with-coffee to find that it is now snowing here in NY. Looking up at the level, bleached-slate sky, today’s song popped into my head. It could be this was already swimming around in there because of my recent post of Ken Boothe’s 1973 rock-steady rendition of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine.”

Perhaps this too could be considered a “cover” of the Withers’ classic, but it is also so much more than that. Taking Withers’ original as a jump-off, The Prodigal Sons deliver solid-rock gospel with a rhythm section that trudges on through the darkness; a darkness that they are urging you to know will pass with a persistent spirit. What stands out for me on this track are the emphatic lead vocal by Johnnie Holmes and the odd organ that twitches around the melody (I believe by Cority Quarles), which sounds like a precursor to RZA’s instantly captivating yet always peculiar production technique.

On Newark, New Jersey’s Richburg Records label, and off their 1976 Fred McGriff produced album of the same name—here’s The Sensational PRODIGAL SONS with “No Sunshine In A Storm.”

The Sensational PRODIGAL SONS

To those who don’t have to shovel–enjoy the snow; and to those that do–I’m sure It’ll melt soon.

                                                                                                                                                                 ————————Bobby Calero

Ref:

Withers, B. (1971), & Prodigal Sons. (1975). No Sunshine In A Storm. [recorded by Prodigal Sons] On No Sunshine In A Storm. [Vinyl] Richburg. (1976)

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EVERYDAY WILL BE LIKE A HOLIDAY…BUT ’TILL THEN—NO SUNSHINE

"Silver Clouds - Pewter Sky" by Julia Curphey

I’ve got two for you today:

First up is the uplifting “Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday” by William Bell. Born July 16, 1939 in Memphis, Tennessee, Bell went on to be one of the principal architects of the Stax Records’ sound. His first hit for the label was 1961’s mournful, country tinged soul ballad “You Don’t Miss Your Water” (which was later covered in ’68 by the Gram Parsons incarnation of The Byrds for their country-rock masterpiece Sweetheart of the Rodeo). Due to a two-year stint in the Armed Forces Bell’s career was put on hold, and he did not release his first full-length album, The Soul of a Bell until 1967 (Bell, 2012). William Bell is also the man (along with Stax’s house organ player Booker T. Jones) behind “Born Under a Bad Sign” which was covered in ’68 as well, by British blues-rock supergroup Cream for their third and penultimate album, Wheels of Fire.

Released in 1967 and heavily featured in Miguel Sapochnik’s 2010 sci-fi action-thriller, Repo Men, starring Jude Law and Forest Whitaker; here’s

Every Day Will Be Like A Holiday

William Bell

——————(Click To Listen)

Like it? Buy it.

Next up is some melancholy reggae to compliment the sodden, pewter sky outside my basement window. From the Denham Town area of Kingston, Jamaica, and off of his Black Gold & Green album, here’s “The Voice of Choice” Ken Boothe’s 1973 rock-steady rendition of the Bill Withers classic, “Ain’t No Sunshine.”

——————(Click To Listen)

Like it? Buy it.

Interestingly enough, I recently read an interview with Bill Withers where he states that the inspiration behind this song was actually one of my favorite movies, the 1962 co-dependent, alcoholic-nightmare/love-story Days of Wine and Roses directed by Blake Edwards and starring Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick. It is a must-see film.

———————Bobby Calero

Ref:

Bell, W. (1967). Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday. [recorded by William Bell] On Very Best of William Bell. [CD] Stax. (2007)

Bell, W. (2012). William Bell—A Principal Architect Of The Stax/Volt Sound. William Bell. Retrieved January 12th, 2012 from http://www.williambell.com/WilliamBell/about/

Withers, B. (1971). Ain’t No Sunshine. [recorded by Ken Boothe] On Black Gold & Green. [Vinyl] Trojan Records. (1973)

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