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In a career laden with highlights and hallmarks in the annals of soul history, Just as I Am gets rather overlooked as one of the best soul debuts ever issued. Remastered and repackaged as a part of Sony's DualDisc series, Just as I Am gets cleaned up and presented to a new generation of listeners who may have missed out the first time. And with this remastering comes an intimacy, warmth, and immediacy to the recordings that was only hinted at with previous versions; it's almost as if Withers is in a living room singing to a small group of people, rather than making a record. Of course, the instantly recognizable anthem "Ain't No Sunshine" gets all of the acclaim it so richly deserves, but tracks like "Harlem" and "Better Off Dead" also warrant kudos for the intensity and maturity of their performances. Even when he's doing covers, Withers treats them as if they are his own compositions and handles them with great delicacy. And while the audio performances are top-notch, the new documentary on the making of the record, as well as rare performances of "Ain't No Sunshine," "Ain't Her Daddy," and "Harlem" are the icing on the proverbial cake. Kudos to Sony for not only reissuing a long lost masterpiece, but for doing it in such a classy fashion.
Performance CreditsBill Withers Primary Artist,Guitar
Steve Stills Guitar
Jim Keltner Drums
Donald "Duck" Dunn Bass
Chris Ethridge Bass
Booker T. Jones Guitar,Keyboards
Al Jackson Drums
Bobbye Hall Porter Percussion
Technical CreditsFred Neil Composer
John Lennon Composer
Paul McCartney Composer
Bill Withers Composer
Bill Halverson Engineer
Booker T. Jones Arranger,Producer
Bill Lazerus Engineer
Wayne A. Dickson Reissue Producer
Rico "Superbizzee" Washington Liner Notes,Interviewer
Johnny Colden Remixing