Tinga Stewart

Why Can't We Live Together?

Song Review by

Soul singer/organist Timmy Thomas was a one hit wonder in the US pop chart, with his sole contribution to the listing the 1972 smash "Why Can't We Live Together?", which also topped the R&B chart, and was followed over the years by another quartet of R&B hits.

Thomas's laid back call for unity, backed by pattering percussion, thick atmospheres, and sparse instrumentation, eventually cried out for a rootsy make-over, and the Virgo Sound System ordered one up from Channel One Studio in 1977. The Revolutionaries were obviously familiar with the song, adding even more percussive elements to the mix than the original, and expanding the arrangement with brass, guitar, and organ solos which stray straight into psychedelic territory, and are best heard, along with the stellar brass, on the extended mix.

Tinga Stewart's performance is equal to the phenomenal riddim, riven with emotion, and far more powerful than Thomas's own. In Stewart's deft hands, the lyrics become an accusation, a demand, and finally an affirmation that indeed "we can live better." A stunning cover that leaves the original in the dust.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Darker Than Blue: Soul From Jamdown 1973-1980 2001
Various Artists
Blood And Fire 6:59