4. Bill Withers, 'The Complete Sussex and Columbia Albums'
With his debut hit, 1971's "Ain't No Sunshine," Withers seemed to come from nowhere – a blue-collar job in the aerospace industry – fully formed, with a grainy, lyrical voice and earthy songwriting that was both folk and soul, warming yet emotionally direct. This nine-CD box has Withers' entire LP output. The 1971-75 albums are his best – a graceful grit, loaded with hits. By the time Withers left the business in the late Eighties, his records were a smoother, sweeter turmoil, another kind of quiet storm.