William Bell – Stax Classics
Format: CD / Label: Stax Records
Releasedatum: 19 mei 2017

Tekst: Iain Patience

These days, since the passing of James Brown in 2006, William Bell might easily slip on the jacket of the Godfather of Soul. For sixty years he has been working hard, turning out albums that have a seemingly effortless feel about them, albums that are grounded in the traditions of Deep South soul music, always strong on tremendous horn sections, fiery fretwork and Bell’s own, scorching soulful vocal delivery.

With ‘Stax Classics’, we have a release that indeed hi-lights his ability and reminds us of just why he has remained rooted at the top of the international soul-blues tree. Tracks covered come from his huge back-catalogue but offer a glimpse back in time to his days as one of Stax Record’s finest troubadours and frontmen. Once more recording with Stax, and his last release, on that label, ‘This Is Where I Live’, picking up awards and general acclaim, Bell is a genuine soul-survivor, a man who has weathered changing musical tastes and fashions and successfully remained working pretty much at the peak.

In many ways, this is a tribute album, an enormously satisfying display of the man and his music as a young man reaching his musical prime. On a personal note, if anything, I believe his voice has weathered and strengthened over the years till now when it is powerful, clear, expressively emotive and excellently matured.

No look at Bell of this kind would be complete without his signature tracks, two of the best-known and much-loved soul deliveries ever recorded – Born Under A Bad Sign and Private Number, both tracks that have become blues and soul standards down the years since he wrote and recorded them. Both feature here, as might be expected, ensuring this is a must-have release for lovers of that Memphis sound, Stax and Bell in particular.

01. I Forgot to Be Your Lover
02. Private Number (Feat. Judy Clay)
03. You Don’t Miss Your Water
04. Lovin’ On Borrowed Time
05. A Tribute to a King
06. My Baby Specializes (Feat. Judy Clay)
07. Born Under a Bad Sign
08. All for the Love of a Woman
09. My Whole World Is Falling Down
10. I’ve Got to Go On Without You
11. Everybody Loves a Winner
12. Gettin’ What You Want (Losin’ What You Got)

Website: William Bell

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