One of the world’s most gifted artists, and he’s yet to get his full due respect. Donny Hathaway was a talent that spoke of absolute cosmic perfection. His performances were at once organic and completely innovative. He was a talent on the same plane of conscious effortlessness as Stevie Wonder. When he sat at the piano, opened his voice to the audience, a melting sensation like being infused with red, hot beauty seeped into every listener.
One of his most incredible performance pieces was the live recording of this 1972 concert. As a whole the album may or may not be as cohesive as many would’ve liked; however, the performances were precise, clear and his voice as perfect as anything that’s ever been put on wax. Probably one of the most astonishing pieces from the album is his cover of Stevie Wonder’s enigmatic “Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You).” Truly, it’s a piece of auditory magnificence that I think both informs and expresses the crystalline quality of Hathaway’s voice and his incredible sense of interpretation of not just this song, but of music in general. The already cosmic excellence of the song itself worked perfectly with the timbre of Hathaway’s voice, which painted even more stellar shades on the fusion piece. With just a keyboard and backing percussion, Donny Hathaway managed to give new depth and elegance to a song that I consider one of the greatest compositions of modern music.
Indeed These Songs For You, Live! is a powerful example of the grace of a man whose talents the world may not have fully realised or appreciated. Truly, one of the greatest voices of our time, this live piece of music is a testament to the sheer genius of one Mr. Donny Hathaway.