Bill Withers, who died lat week, was one of the most underrated songwriters of his generation. Everyone knows his popular songs – ‘Lean On Me’, ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’, ‘Lovely Day’ – but it is in his lesser-known works that his craft really shines. He was, as the Beach Boy’s Brian Wilson observed in a tweet, a‘songwriters’ songwriter’, a story teller as much as a writer of songs. So, here are some of his less well-known recordings, which bring out both his story-telling ability and the funkiness of much of work, from ‘I Can’t Write Left-Handed’, a softly angry song about the aftermath of the Vietnam War, to the quiet tribute to his grandmother, ‘Grandma’s Hands’, to ‘Kissing My Love’, a truly funky cut.
I Can’t Write Left-handed
Who Is He And What Is He To You?
The Same Love That Made Me Laugh
Kissin My Love
The photo of Bill Withers is James Minchin III for ‘Rolling Stone’