Hathaway, Donny

Band members               Related acts

- Donny Hathaway (RIP 1979) -- vocals, keyboards




- Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack)





Genre: soul

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Extension of a Man

Company: ATCO

Catalog: SD-7079

Year: 1973

Country/State: Chicago, Illinois

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5415

Price: $10.00


While widely acclaimed to be Donny Hathaway's creative zenith, at least to my ears, 1973's "Extension of a Man" was less impressive.  It certainly wasn't his most accessible, or commercial outing.  Produced by Arif Mardin and Jerry Wexler, the collection showcased Hathaway's breathtaking voice and stylistic diversity.  The result was a soul album, but one that mixed in classical, Gospel, jazz and other influences.  Written, arranged and conducted by Hathaway, the extended opening instrumental 'I Love the Lord; He Heard My Cry, Pts. I & II' and was pretty and a nice showcase of his diverse talents, though a little too highbrow for my tastes. Still, judging by his extensive liner notes, Hathaway was extremely proud of the composition.  'Someday We'll Be All Be Free' was a dazzling ballad - perhaps the song he'll ultimately be remembered for.  It's almost enough to justify buying the LP.   'Flying Easy' was a bluesy number that Hathaway described as being written 'for Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass'.  Showcasing a Latin feel, the instrumental 'Valdez in the Country' was catchy and with some lyrics probably could have garnered some airplay.  Written by Al Kooper  while he was part of Blood, Sweat and Tears, 'I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know' was probably the most blues-based effort - nice Hugh McCracken lead guitar.  'Little Children' was the one song Hathaway's liner notes didn't mention.  Upbeat and fun, it was also one of the best songs on the album.  'Love, Love, Love' sounded like a Stevie Wonder ballad; a fact Hathaway acknowledged in the liner notes: 'a basic Motown groove ... Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gate ... are the inspiration for the arrangement and the concept of this composition ...'   Intended as a follow-up to 'The Ghetto', 'The Slum' was nothing more than a polished jam session.  Complete with '20s era arrangements his cover of Danny O'Keefe's 'Magdalena' was forgettable.   The Leon Ware ballad 'I Know It's You' was pretty, but bland and an overbearing arrangement didn't help.  So all-in-all not bad, but not my favorites Hathaway set.  (By the way Hathaway's liner notes, including song-by-song explanations of motivation and meaning were fascinating.)  


ATCO tapped the album for a pair of singles:



- 1973's 'Love, Love, Love' b/w 'Someday We'll All Be Free' (ATCO catalog number 45 6928) # 44 pop, # 16 R&B

- 1974's 'Come Little Children' b/w 'The Slums' (ATCO catalog number 45-6951) # 67 R&B




"Extension of a Man" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) I Love the Lord; He Heard My Cry, Pts. 1 & 2 (instrumental)   (Donny Hathaway) - 5:32

2.) Someday We'll All Be Free  (Donny Hathaway - Edward Howard) - 4:14

3.) Flying Easy   (Donny Hathaway - Walter Lowe - Franklin Moss Jr.) - 3:13

4.) Valdez in the Country (instrumental)  (Donny (Hathaway) - 3:33

5.) I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know   (Al Kooper) - 5:23


(side 2)
1.) Come Little Children   (Donny Hathaway - Don Pow) - 4:35

2.) Love, Love, Love   (J.R. Bailey - Ken Williams) - 3:25

3.) The Slums   (Donny Hathaway) - 5:11

4.) Magdalena   (Danny OKeefe) - 3:08

5.) I Know It's You   (Leon Ware) - 5:13


Sadly this proved to be Hathaway's final studio set. Over the next six years he was increasingly bedeviled by depression and other health issues.  His recording career basically went into hybernation with Hathaway spending time in and out of hospital facilities.   In January 1979 he was found dead on a New York City Street, having apparently leapt to his death from the Essex House hotel room he was living in while recording an album with Roberta Flack.  Given the glass in his hotel room had been neatly removed, authorities reached the conclusion he'd committed suicide.  He was only 33 years old.




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