You Don’t Miss Your Water
Everybody Loves A Winner
Never Like This Before
Eloise (Hang On In There)
Marching Off To War
Tribute To A King
Private Number -With JUDY CLAY
Love – Eye – Tis -With JUDY CLAY
Singing HAPPY on Jules Holland New Years Eve: 31st December 2014
William Bell with long time fan (Dave Blue Note DJ) – Blackpool, England 2005
William Bell’s moving Tribute To A King – about Otis Redding, recorded after his tragic death was not a major chart hit but it was a soulful and moving tribute to Otis by his close friend. It was popular and played frequently at the time of its release at the two major soul clubs in Manchester The Twisted Wheel and The Blue Note. Roger Eagle the Manchester DJ was a big Stax fan and introduced Stax recordings at both clubs. William Bell started out in a group called the Dell- Rios.
Of course it was “Monkeying Around” that we first heard sung by Georgie Fame at the first Twisted Wheel, we guessed it was influenced by that whole thing about ‘Monkey’ dance crazes: The Miracles with Mickey’s and Major Lance and the Miracles with thier versions of ‘The Monkey Time’, as well as several others. Roger Eagle the ‘Wheel’ DJ eventually obtained a copy from the USA on the Stax label (I think from a deletions auction list). Roger wrote too and received a box of Stax singles Free direct from the company in Memphis. That’s why The Twisted Wheel and later the Blue Note club (where Roger moved too) were the instigators of promoting all things Stax, long before other clubs we were hearing William Bell tracks: “Eloise”, “Never Like This Before”.
Later it was; Marching Off To War a ‘B’ side which took off big, particularly at the Blue Note Club – it was a poignant reminder that kids in the USA were having to go and fight in Vietnam and not by choice. Many soul tracks exerted a great influence on the anti-Vietnam war movement that arose about this time. The fact of the matter was that casualty figures for black soldiers ran at 25% whereas the number of black soldiers as a percentage of those fighting was 8%.
The A side was Share What You Got (But Keep What You Need).
Never Like This Before was another dance floor shaker. This was followed by Eloise (Hang On In There) another excellent and popular track.
Tribute To A King was William Bell’s tribute to Otis Redding and it remains as a testament to him not only from William Bell but also from all at Stax studios who contributed to the track or just stood around. They all loved Otis.
Private Number with Judy Clay was probably William Bell’s biggest hit.
The ‘B’ side Love Eye-Tis was a rework of the Harvey Scales (‘b’ side) Love ITIS.
William Bell wrote many hits for STAX record performers including Sam and Dave.
Real name William Yarborough was born on the 16th of July 1937 in Memphis, Tennessee. He was a Stax session musician and song writer along with Isaac Hayes and David Porter. He was in Rufus Thomas‘s backing band in 1957 and then joined the Del Rios.
1961 joined Stax took as a song writer. His first release was You Don’t Miss Your Water, one of Stax’s first hits in the USA. He had to do national service almost immediately after its release which halted his career. However, the later resulting track Marching Off To War was a huge hit on the Manchester (England) soul scene.
His first album, The Soul of a Bell, came out in 1967 which included Everybody Loves a Winner released as a hit single.
He also wrote Born Under a Bad Sign for Albert King one of the best funky blues tracks ever. As you may have guessed from this piece, William Bell is one of our all time favourites and all round good guys.