Sunday, 17 August 2014

"Never My Love: The Anthology" by DONNY HATHAWAY (2013 Rhino 4CD Box Set Which Features 2CDs Of Previously Unreleased Material) - A Review by Mark Barry...





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"…Sack Full Of Dreams…" 

Back in 2010 - I reviewed the first ever multi-disc Box Set on the wonderful American Soul Artist DONNY HATHAWAY. It was issued by Rhino France and called "Someday We'll All Be Free" (see detailed review) - and even though it had great newly remastered sound quality - its liner notes were in French - not a lot of good to anyone outside of Paris. 

Well at last - along comes an English-language Box Set in late 2013 - a superb 4CD 'companion' piece to "Someday We'll All Be Free" that boasts two whole discs of exclusive previously unreleased material. Here are the 'everything is everything' details...

UK released November 2013 - "Never My Love: The Anthology" by DONNY HATHAWAY on Atco/Rhino 8122796543 (Barcode 081227965433) is a 58-track 4CD DigiBook Box Set of Remasters that breaks down as follows...

Disc 1 - Favourites (79:10 minutes):
1. I Thank You Baby
2. Just Another Reason
Tracks 1 and 2 are a 1969 USA 7" single on Curtom CR-1935 credited to JUNE & DONNIE.  It was reissued in 1972 as "I Thank You" on Curtom CR-1971 - re-credited to JUNE CONQUEST and DONNY HATHAWAY

3. The Ghetto Part 1
4. The Ghetto Part 2
Tracks 3 and 4 are a 1969 USA 7" single on Atco 45-6719 (the album version is one long track - the single edits are unique)

5. Thank You Master (For My Soul) - a 1970 A-side Promo-Only Edit on the USA 7" single Atco 45-6759. The album version is 5:47 minutes - the edit here is 3:26 minutes.

6. Voices Inside (Everything Is Everything)
7. Tryin' Times
8. To Be Young, Gifted & Black
9. I Believe To My Soul
Tracks 6 to 9 are taken from his debut LP "Everything Is Everything" released October 1970 in the USA on Atco SD 33-332 and 1971 in the UK on Atco 2465 019

10. This Christmas - the A-side to a non-album 7" single issued November 1970 in the USA on Atco 45-6799

11. A Song For You - the A-side of a 1971 USA 7" single on Atco 45-6828
12. Magnificent Sanctuary Band - the B-side of "Take A Love Song" - a 1971 USA 7" single on Atco 45-6817 (new to CD in Mono)
13. Giving Up - the non-album A-side of an USA 7" single issued 1972 on Atco 45-6884

14. Come Back Charleston Boy
15. Little Ghetto Boy (Studio Version)
Tracks 14 and 15 both from his June 1972 Soundtrack album "Come Back Charleston Blue" on Atco SD-7010. Track 14 credited to DONNY HATHAWAY with MARGIE JOSEPH

16. Valdez In the Country
20. Love, Love, Love
21. Someday We'll All Be Free
Tracks 16, 20 and 21 taken from his 5th album "Extension Of A Man" released July 1973 in the USA on Atco SD-7029

17. I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know
18. Lord Help Me
Tracks 17 and 18 are the A&B-sides on a 1972 USA 7" single on Atco 45-6903
19. Come Little Children - a non-album A-side to a 1973 USA 7" single on Atco 45-6951
22. You Were Meant For Me - a non-album A-side to a 1978 USA 7" single on Atco 7092
[DISC 1: Tracks 1, 2, 10, 11, 12, 17 and 18 are MONO - all others STEREO]

Disc 2 - Unreleased Studio Recordings (70:00 minutes):
1. Never My Love (November 1973)
2. A Lot Of Soul (November 1973)
3. Let's Groove (January 1974)
4. Latin Time (1974)
5. Tally Rand (February 1975)
6. Memory Of Our Love (1974)
7. Sunshine Over Showers (December 1975)
8. After The Dance Is Done (September 1978)
9. Don't Turn Away (1968)
10. Always The Same (Recording Date Unknown)
11. Brown Eyed Lady (1974 Instrumental)
12. The Sands Of Time And Change (Recording Date Unknown)
13. Zyxygy Concerto (aka "Life, Parts 1-4") (October 1973)

Disc 3 - Live At The Bitter End, 1971 All Previously Unreleased (77:28 minutes):
1. What's Going On
2. Sack Full Of Dreams
3. Little Ghetto Boy
4. You've Got A Friend
5. Voices Inside (Everything Is Everything)
6. He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother
7. Jealous Guy
8. I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know
9. Hey Girl
10. The Ghetto
THE BAND: Donny Hathaway on Keyboards, Cornell Dupree and Mike Howard on Guitars, Willie Weeks on Bass, Fred White on Drums and Earl DeRouen on Conga

Disc 4 - Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway Duets (62:45 minutes):
1. I (Who Have Nothing)
2. You've Got A Friend 
3. Baby I Love You 
4. Be real Black For Me
5. You've Lost That Loving Feeling 
6. For All We Know
7. Where Is The Love
8. When Love Has Grown
9. Come Ye Disconsolate 
10. Mood
Tracks 1 to 10 are the 1972 album "Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway" issued in the USA on Atlantic SD-7216

11. The Closer I Get To You from the Roberta Flack album "Blue Lights In The Basement" - issued 1977 in the USA on Atlantic SD-19149

12. You Are My Heaven
13. Back Together Again
Tracks 12 and 13 are from "Roberta Flack featuring Donny Hathaway" - issued 1979 in the USA on Atlantic SD-16013

The 28-page booklet has fantastically detailed liner notes by noted Blues & Soul Writer CHARLES WARING with a proper break down on each disc (could have done with more photos though). Long-time Rhino Engineer BILL INGLOT did the Tape Research and CHARLES BENSON the remastering and the sound is superb. These are not audiophile recordings - so there's hiss on many songs - but the remasters let them breath and the clarity is wonderful.

Eagle-eyed fans will notice from the listing about that there's only 4 tracks from his 10-song debut LP "Everything Is Everything", none at all from his 2nd album "Donny Hathaway" and only 3 from 1973's fabulous "Extension Of A Man" album (his last proper studio outing). The stunning "Live" set from 1972 is absent entirely - replaced obviously by the Previously Unreleased Concert on Disc 3. There were also 5 previously unreleased studio cuts and two live songs on the "Someday We'll All Be Free" Box - none of which are on here either. As that French box set contains `all' those albums and a smattering of the "Come Back Charleston Blue" Soundtrack in remastered form - throwing out that 2010 4CD set isn't an option just yet.

What is cool about "Never My Love: The Anthology" is to finally get those non-album 7" single versions - most of which have never appeared on compilations prior to this. But the real prize has to be Disc 3 and 4 - 13 Previously Unissued Studio cuts and a full 10-track gig circa his classic "Live" album from 1972 (one of my favourite Soul albums ever). As fans will know from 1974 right through to 1978 (before he tragically took his own life in January 1979 by jumping out of a hotel window) - represent the wilderness years for Hathaway - plagued as he was with inner personal demons and a creative crunch. To find a stash of unreleased recordings mostly from that time frame is little short of astonishing. Also - the "Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway" duet album from 1972 hasn't been remastered since 1995 - so a 2013 upgrade was long overdue as well.

The unreleased studio tracks on Disc 2 are a very mixed bag alternating between the sublime and the dismissible. Fans may ask why Rhino decided to call this entire compilation after an unreleased song - because the Disc 2 opener "Never My Love" is beautiful - a gorgeous love song and a true find. Where has this been all these years? The countrified "A Lot Of Soul" is unfortunately awful Hicksville and the vaudeville "Let's Groove" not much better. "Latin Time" is an interesting six-minute funky instrumental that feels like a run-through towards something to be completed at a later stage and "Tally Rand" the same. After a slew of mediocre outtakes "Memory Of Our Love" comes as a refreshing `song'. But then we get to the other gem on here "Sunshine Over Showers" - another languid ballad sung as only he could. "After The Dance Is Through" is a horrid fast-paced Disco song. It's followed by a brass-blasting 1968 outtake called "Don't Turn Away" that’s more gritty Stax than mellow Atlantic - it's excellent. "Always The Same" is another uptempo brass belter with a late Sixties Motown feel. You're then hit with two gorgeous slow instrumentals - "Brown Eyed Lady" and "The Sands Of Time And Change" - both clearly going to make great ballads had he gotten round to filling them with words. It ends with the entirely instrumental melancholy of "Zyxygy Concerto" or "Life Parts 1 to 4" – a Strings and Soul monster sounding to me like the opening track "I Love The Lord, He Heard My Cry (Parts I & II)" on "Extension Of A Man" - but in full form. A long-lost Soundtrack of sorts - it lasts a huge 20 minutes plus and is monumentally good.

The live gig features a slowed down "What's Going On" and the lovely Grady Tate song "Sack Full Of Dreams" and his cover of John Lennon's "Jealous Guy". When he gets into "Voices Inside (Everything is Everything)" the show ignites - it's a stunning 16-minute band funky workout like the 12-minute version of "The Ghetto" - what a wow!

In the annals of Soul there are giants - Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding and for me there's always been the curtailed genius of Donny Hathaway. What a legacy he left and what a loss. Be with the angels you beautiful spirit...
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