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The Very Best of William Bell (Single Version)

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Album Review

William Bell is probably the most woefully underappreciated artist in the Stax Records stable. Primarily a ballad singer, Bell avoided the charismatic stage histrionics of singers like Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett in favor of a more subtle and melodic approach. He was also a gifted songwriter, penning in conjunction with his writing partner Booker T. Jones (of MGs fame) a handful of country-soul classics, including "You Don't Miss Your Water," a hit for Bell in 1961, and "Born Under a Bad Sign," which became the theme song for blues giant Albert King after his version was released in 1967. Bell wasn't afraid to mix pure country elements into the deep soul stew, as "You Don't Miss Your Water" shows, and his 1967 hit "Everybody Loves a Winner" is as much Merle Haggard as it is Otis Redding. "Eloise (Hang on in There)," another Bell/Jones collaboration, sounds like a great, lost Four Tops song, and is one of the many highlights on this revealing anthology, which works not only as an introduction to this underrated artist, but also as a solid survey of his top moments.

Biography

Born: 16 July 1939 in Memphis, TN

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A principal architect of the Stax/Volt sound, singer/composer William Bell remains best known for his classic "You Don't Miss Your Water," one of the quintessential soul records to emerge from the Memphis scene. Born William Yarborough on July 16, 1939, he cut his teeth backing Rufus Thomas, and in 1957 recorded his first sides as a member of the Del Rios. After joining the Stax staff as a writer, in 1961 Bell made his solo debut with the self-penned "You Don't Miss Your Water," an archetypal slice...
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The Very Best of William Bell (Single Version), William Bell
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