Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A Soldier's Goodbye

William Bell - Soldier's Goodbye

William Bell, although one of the first star acts on Stax Records, has often been overlooked in the history of that label and in the history of soul music. Bell's warm and sometimes erudite stylings made his records as comfortable as an old friend. From the country soul masterpiece "You Don't Miss Your Water" to the Northern Soul staple "Happy" to the recently-sampled "I Forgot to Be Your Lover" to the disco-era smash "Trying to Love Two," and from his involvement with the rare soul staple Peachtree Records to his current Wilbe concern, Bell has had a long history in the business and has graced the world with many great recordings. Today's selection was the flip of "Never Like This Before" and is one of two great Stax 45s themed around Bell's own military service, the other being the swinging "Marching Off to War." "Soldier's Goodbye" is an intense ballad featuring very attractive guitar work by Steve Cropper and good horn charts by the Mar-Keys. You know you're in for a great recording from the opening guitar note.

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