Personnel: Donny Hathaway (piano, electric piano).
Unfortunately, Atlantic's A Donny Hathaway Collection, one of the few career retrospectives available (and basically the only one in print), isn't quite definitive; it presents a version of Hathaway's career inordinately focused on his commercially successful duets with Roberta Flack, and his slowest, most dirge-like solo recordings. A few of his best up-tempo tracks are represented ("The Ghetto," his live cover of "What's Going On"), but not before haunted material like "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know," and "Giving Up." Admittedly, his duets with Flack are among the best recordings of his career, ranging from the depressed ("Where Is the Love") to the atmospheric ("The Closer I Get to You") to the downright driving ("Back Together Again"). But A Donny Hathaway Collection neglects far too much material from his two greatest solo albums, 1970s Everything Is Everything and 1973's Extension of a Man, to be considered the perfect first choice. It may simply be a matter of embellishing the myth of the tortured artist, but this doesn't present both sides of the Hathaway legend. ~ John Bush