As if he had been born for it, William Bell coined the music style named after his native town Memphis. His vita makes you sit up and take notice. Even years before his debut album was released on the now legendary Stax label, Bell wrote lyrics for the independent label and created the original sound of the South.
His lyrically intense and in the best sense simply constructed music appeals to the sensitive mind with the chart hit "Everybody Loves A Winner". And it gets even better: With "You Don't Miss Your Water" Bell gives the archetype of down-to-earth country soul a tangible shape with whistling organ clouds and wide wind waves. Bell cultivates moderate forms of expression quite differently from the emotionally charged Wilson Pickett.
Instead of breathless staccato, his music breathes in even strokes, not shying away from the heavy-blooded review ("I've Been Loving You Too Long"). This is followed by sensitive declamation over festering organ sounds ("Nothing Takes The Place Of You") and a sluggish but clearly articulated speech dressed in music ("Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye"). Powerful and rocky on the other hand are catchy numbers like "Eloise", and knocking rhythm with colorful background vocals ("Never Like This Before") explores new tonal terrain.
But as befits exciting storytelling, each number tells its own story.
This Speakers Corner production was made using analog master tape and 100% pure analog mastering All licenses and GEMA contributions were paid.
Recording: January and May 1967 at Stax Studios, Memphis (TN)
Production: Jim Stewart
"Speakers Corner has preserved the stereo sound of 1967 excellently. There's dynamism in the groove." (Audio, August 2019)
Label: Speakers Corner Records, Stax
Format: LP, Album, Reissue, Stereo