Certainly one of the saddest in the Unsung series. Donny was a tormented soul, who left so much for the world still. I certainly challenge anyone to name a catalog as full and rich as the one Donny was able to put together in such a short period of time.
This sing might be familiar if you own, and you certainly should own it, Donny Hathaway’s Extension Of A Man. It is a beautifully arranged funky and soulful masterpiece. “Valdez In The Country” is a song Donny wrote for Bay Area based funk-rock group Cold Blood for their album First Taste Of Sin, Donny produced this entire album as well. First Taste was the third album for Cold Blood, who was lead by the sensational Lydia Pense. The collaboration of Donny and the group was amazing. Cold Blood has lasted for several decades in different forms but they never managed to reach this level of again. Everything was spot on with the album, if you haven’t heard it I suggest you track down a copy and give it a listen. I challenge you to find a single note or sound out of place on the entire work.
I’m going to say it, I believe that “This Christmas” deserves to be retired and NOBODY should be allowed to cover it ever!! That being said, I’m glad I don’t have the final say on things like this, because Chris Turner’s vision of the track is refreshing. If you are going to remake a song, reinvent it, add your own twist to it. Own it. Because Donny’s version is flawless and if you’re just going to imitate him, then I’ll pick him any day.
It just isn’t Christmas time without some Donny Hathaway on the stereo……….
Mr Hathaway is easily one of my favorite artists and a very under appreciated individual.
Another one of those timeless powerful songs, written by Leon Russell and featured on his self-titled album. It’s been covered by everyone from Donny Hathaway to Christina Aguilera to Bizzy Bone the song has more than stood the test of time.
Elliot Yamin (Live on American Idol)
Ray Charles (Live on The Lou Rawls Parade Of Stars 1994)
Herbie Hancock & Christina Aguilera (Live)