Ain’t No Sunshine

This week, a torch song from folk-blues-soul singer songwriter Bill Withers. He was a one-man genre: Ain’t No Sunshine sent his career into overdrive.

Bill Withers wrote Ain’t No Sunshine for his 1971 debut album, Just As I Am. He was a rookie with some distinguished collaborators including producer and FCH regular Booker T. Jones.

There are many fine versions of this week’s song, so I’m posting an above average number of this number. I hope that didn’t numb you. That pun, however, might do the trick.

We begin with the songwriter himself:

Space ace jazz chanteuse Nancy Wilson was among the first to cover this week’s song.

Betty Wright makes her Friday Cocktail Hour debut this week. I hope I got that right.

Norman Whitfield is best known as a songwriter. He was also a helluva producer as you can see from this extended version of the Withers classic by the Temptations.

Joan Osborne is a chronically underrated artist but not here at First Draft.

Here’s Buddy Guy and Tracy Chapman with a bluesier than thou version of the Withers classic.

Aaron Neville loves Ain’t No Sunshine so much that he’s recorded it twice: first with his brothers in 1996, then ten years later on his marvelous soul covers album.

What would the Friday Cocktail Hour be without instrumental covers of the week’s tune? This time, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Maynard Ferguson, and Isaac Hayes.

That’s it for this week. I propose a toast in honor of the late, great Bill Withers. It’s what Mac, Irma, Allen, and Aaron would want. Never argue with them.


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