New Lease On Life
William Bell's music epitomizes the classic Stax/Volt sound. With Stax Records, Bell joined other musicians like Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, The Staple Singers, Eddie Floyd, Albert King, Issac Hayes, the Bar-Kays and Booker T & the MGs.
Bell's song "You Don't Miss Your Water" became one of Stax's biggest hits. Bell's others hit songs include "Any Other Way", "Never Like this Before" and "Private Number". Musicians such as Gram Parsons, Otis Redding, Albert King (Bell penned "Born Under A Bad Sign"), Lou Rawls, and Rod Stewart covered his songs.
Born in Memphis, but based in Atlanta since 1970, Bell works as a songwriter, singer, and producer. Recorded in Atlanta, New Lease On Life is Bell's first CD release in five years. On these twelve songs, Bell exercises his old musical instincts that evoke a smooth R & B sound with his soulful songwriting.
The title track defines this recording as a laid back collection of songs. Bell collaborates on this album with Reginald Jones, Jeff Floyd and Al Hayes. "Part Time Lover" evokes the old Stax days when Bell's hook and melody combined with his low-to-the-ground singing blend into a well-crafted song. 'Honey From the Bee" renders a slow swing with a beautiful chorus of back-up singers.
Bell flirts with reggae elements on "Got An Island Feeling" that sounds as if it would sound great under a grove of palm trees near the sand and water. "Treat Her Right" conjured an urban-brass feeling that calls pilgrims to the dance floor. "Save Us" serves as a toe-tapping melody with a song message that reminds the listener of poor children in the mean streets.
"Every Sunday Morning" ends the CD with a rythmic beat and warm bass with gospel singers and lyrical a ode to traditional values of redemption and living right, which always made his music enduring. New Lease On Life represents the latest chapter in Bell's distinguished catalogue.
- James Calemine