Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Feeling Stax-i-fied With William Bell!
William Bell - Never Like This Before
William Bell's recordings for Stax from 1961 through to the label's demise in 1975 are often overlooked among discussions of Otis Redding, Rufus and Carla Thomas, Isaac Hayes and the Staple Singers, but his fine singing and songwriting resulted in lots of great material that is worth seeking out. William Bell told Rob Bowman that up-tempo tunes were never quite his forte at Stax, as the net result was somewhat less "soulful" than ballads like "You Don't Miss Your Water" or "Somebody Mentioned Your Name." Fortunately, as far as I'm concerned, his up-tempo stuff is sufficiently soulful. Today's selection was a 1966 release, which was coupled with the great "Soldier's Goodbye" (featured in an April 2006 post). "Never Like This Before" is a hard-hitting testimony of how love can make one feel. Bell really puts over the lyrics while Booker T. & The M.G.'s and the Mar-Keys do their usual job of laying down a hot stomping groove. It's getting a lot of rotation on my personal playlist these days, and I played it at "Rhythm & Booze" last month. Get on down with William Bell!
The good thing is that Bell is still very active, running his Wilbe Records and touring around the globe. Here's a great video from YouTube showing Bell rehearsing "Never Like This Before" with a band during a trip to the UK.