2 LPs on 1 CD: WOW... (1971)/BOUND TO HAPPEN (1969).
Includes liner notes by Lee Hildebrand.
Digitally remastered by Joe Tarntino (1997, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
Personnel: William Bell (vocals); Eddie Hinton, Jimmy Johnson, Terry Manning (guitar); Barry Beckett (keyboards); David Hood (bass); Roger Hawkins (drums); Kim Weston, Patrice Holloway, Jessie Smith, Mickey Stevenson, Booker T. Jones, The Nightingales (background vocals).
Producer: Al Bell
Principally recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, Musle Shoals, Alabama in October 1970.
BOUND TO HAPPEN:
Personnel includes: William Bell (vocals); Michael Toles, Steve Cropper (guitar); The Memphis Horns (horns); James Alexander, Donald "Duck" Dunn (bass); Al Jackson, Jr. (drums).
Producer: Booker T. Jones.
Engineers: Ron Capone, Terry Manning, Bobby Manuel.
Principally recorded at Ardent Recording Studios, Memphis, Tennessee on January 9, 1969.
William Bell's WOW (1969) and BOUND TO HAPPEN (1971) couldn't sound more unalike. WOW is the Stax aesthetic writ large, whereas BOUND TO HAPPEN is more urbane and much less down-home in feel. Taken together, as presented here, the music is simply excellent all around.
As a rule, Bell is not as gritty as his mentor Otis Redding. Bell is primarily a gospel crooner, although he does get down and dirty, Redding style, on "A Smile Can't Hide (A Broken Heart)." Other highlights include "Happy," one of the Stax factory's occasional Motown emulations, a definitive version of Bell's classic "Born Under a Bad Sign," and the wrenchingly intense "My Whole World is Falling Down."