Bill Withers, Soul Singer
Vernon Gibbs, The Village Voice, 16 April 1979
SINCE NO one else has had the nerve to say it, I might as well. Bill Withers is a great soul singer. Some purists might blanch at the thought of putting Withers in such exalted company as Wilson Pickett or Otis Redding, but if we define soul singer to mean a stylist who summons passion from the most subterranean depths then certainly Withers deserves the accolade. Detractors may correctly argue that Withers' technical facility compares unfavorably with the greats; indeed, compared to Ray Charles, Withers is dry husks blowing across an Iowa cornfield. But the man gives it everything he's got and in soul music honesty can save.
Total word count of piece: 751