1) Donny Hathaway – Live
This album is essential, not only because it’s a master- class in funky, soulful playing and demon-strates Weeks’ flawless live chops, but for his extended bass solo on ‘Voices Inside (Everything Is Everything)’. The way Willie sets up a hypnotic groove, then expands and vamps on with reckless abandon, incorporating some technical flourishes when needed, is awe-inspiring.
2) Randy Newman – Little Criminals
Although he’s capable of huge soul grooves and fancy solos, a lot of Weeks’ work has been in a more supportive role for rock and pop artists. On this 1977 album, by songwriting legend Randy Newman, Weeks splits the bass duties with Klaus Voorman. He proves his versatility and restraint in ‘Ride In The Rain’, with its simple root-fifth country-style bass line, and the melancholic ‘Baltimore’ with its descending motif. Not a chops-fest, but bass playing at its most elegant and minimalist.
3) The Miracles – Love Crazy
The Miracles were Motown’s first signed band and one of the label’s best- selling acts. By the time this album was released, they had left Mo- town and were signed to Columbia, and their star was somewhat on the wane. Given that Weeks has routinely cited James Jamerson as a big influence, it’s little surprise that he worked with the former Motown stars. This album features some high-quality soul from Weeks, with more than a tip of the hat to Mr Jamerson.