Mississippi-Arkansas Bridge - William Bell

from the album This Is Where I Live (2016)

Someday, someone will take a retrospective look at how the Vietnam War derailed the careers of many rising soul singers and how this caused a pivot in American music.

William Bell would be one of the people I would like to interview for this would-be documentary.  A rising star at Stax Records, he was instrumental in creating the Memphis Sound as a performer and songwriter.  He even co-wrote Born Under a Bad Sign with Booker T. Jones.  His ordinal recording of To Be A Lover would later be covered by Billy Idol.

Unfortunately, the release of his debut album was delayed until he finished his tour in Vietnam.  During that time, the music market shifted and that fine record never reached the heights it might otherwise have.  Meanwhile, his contemporaries - like Otis Redding - became legends.

Still, he has had a great career and created a legacy of incredible music.

This year, at age 77, he released This Is Where I Live, a splendid traditional soul record of impeccable quality.

I am most drawn to one of the closing tracks - Mississippi-Arkansas Bridge - for the way it combines a funky, delta vibe with classic Memphis soul.  You can hear Creedence Clearwater Revival in the guitar, Robert Cray in the vocals, the muscle of Memphis horns, and the voice of a truly great singer who despite critical acclaim never attained the commercial success he so richly deserves.

Click Here to listen to Mississippi-Arkansas Bridge.

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