Personnel: William Bell (percussion, background vocals); William Bell (vocals); Jimmy O'Neil, Jimmy O'Neill (acoustic guitar); James H. Patterson (baritone saxophone); Gerg S. McClean (trumpet); Josh Williams (bass guitar); Vernon Echols, Vinni O'Neil, Kathleen Jackson, Rebecca Rhome, Vernon Echols, Kathleen Jackson (background vocals); Wayne Goins (guitar); Reginald Wizard Jones (strings, keyboards); Ted Stovall (tenor saxophone); Paul Garrett (trumpet); Jimmy Jackson (drums, percussion); Trina Meade, Tomi Martin (background vocals); Wilbe Rhythm Section.
Additional personnel: Janice Bulluck, Rubi Burt.
A woefully underappreciated soul singer, William Bell, often in collaboration with Booker T. Jones (of MG's fame), wrote some stone cold country-soul classics, including "You Don't Miss Your Water," a hit for Bell in 1961, and "Born Under a Bad Sign," which became the theme song for blues giant Albert King after his version was released in 1967. As a staff writer for Stax Records, Bell wasn't afraid to mix pure country elements into the deep soul stew, as "You Don't Miss Your Water" shows, and his 1967 hit "Everybody Loves a Winner" (two versions are included here) is as much Merle Haggard as it is Otis Redding. "Eloise (Hang On in There)," another Bell/Jones collaboration, sounds like a great, lost Four Tops song, and is one of the many highlights on this anthology. Fans of the legendary Stax sound will love this collection, and as a single-disc package, it makes for a solid introduction to this fine singer and writer. ~ Steve Leggett