William Bell – 1973 – Relating

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Rip & research by Mr.Moo

Posting & additional info’s by Nikos

Relating is a great return to basics for William Bell – and an album recorded with a warm, intimate quality that we really love! The vibe here is almost in the style of some of the growing Malaco work coming out of the Jackson scene – with a sound that’s smooth, but somehow even more deeply soulful than before – lots of room up top for the lead vocals to come across with a sense of personal commitment – but also some full, rich backings that include organ, guitars, and even a bit of strings. 

Tracks
A1. Lovin’ On Borrowed Time 3.56
A2. All I Need Is Your Love 2.41
A3. Such A Fever 3.03
A4. Nobody Walks Away From Love Unhurt  3.45
Α5. Gettin’ What You Want (Losin’ What You Got)  3.30
Β1. I’ve Got To Go On Without You 3.50
Β2. Drinkin’ And Thinkin’ 4.32
Β3. You’ve Got The Kind Of Love I Need  3.08
Β4. You Don’t Want A Man 2.53
Β5. Nobody But You 4.35

by gboe

Is this the best William Bell album? And the best late Stax album? Over the years I’ve swung back and forth on my feelings for this record. As a young 80’s r&b digger, I picked it up for the label alone but judged it too little Stax and too 70’sh. Yet I found myself listening to it with pleasure from time to time. Bell was never a favorite Stax singer of mine, except for “Private Number“, and listening to his output between that and his 1976 disco-hit “Trying to love two“, I always wondered what kept his record-deal going. Inconsistant albums, strings-loaded ballads So not Stax. But over the years I have dismissed some of the Stax in my collection. Otis still thrills, but the Sam & Dave records gradually moves from listening to Discogs sales listing. Unlike Bell’s “Relating”. I’ve found that it is one of the few late Stax albums, that doesn’t point into the label dead end but points to a better artistic path than the one Stax did take. This is mature, 70’s soul. This is not just a single or two and fillers but like Marvin Gaye William Bell moves on to the album format, laying down a set of songs that fits each other. The instrumental side has matured as well. The MG’s Duck Dunn and Al Jackson has an important role laying down some of the best.

by Soulmakossa

Although released in 1974, ‘Relating’, Bell’s final album for Stax, was actually recorded in 1972-’73. After his highly creative and social conscientious album ‘Phases of Reality‘, Bell got down on the hardships, blood, sweat and tears of romantical relationships, creating another ‘concept LP’ in the process.
The achingly beautiful, smooth, slow sailing “Lovin’ on Borrowed Time” – Bell’s penultimate hit for Stax – makes for a great opening. The production is sparse yet warm, featuring classy, jazz guitar licks and great male background vocals.
All I Need Is Your Love” starts off gentle and blissfull, with Al Jackson – who also produced the LP – kicking in a tight, sturdy yet gentle groove, with simmering strings and a gently purring Hammond guiding Bell through another majestic vocal.
There’s a late night, easy goin’ vibe present on the sensual, mid-tempo “Such a Fever“, which climaxes in a thoroughly steamin’, horn filled finale, whereas “Nobody Walks Away From Love Unhurt” sports an irresistible Latin groove, with Al Jackson not only manning the drums, but also playing the congas. Amazing stuff.
Bell’s very last hit for Stax, “Gettin’ What You Want (Losin’ What You Got)“, treads the smooth soul territory more overtly, a slow burning, subdued but sternly delivered warning against the ultimate backfire that comes out of infidelity (Bell even quotes Johnnie Taylor’s “Love Bones” hit in mid-song) that dreamily flows along while soft, wailing horns glide in and out.
Some nice fills on acoustic guitar (courtesy of Bobby Manuel) give a delightful country-soul vibe to the remorseful, pensive “I’ve Got to Go on Without You“, but the absolute highlight of ‘Relating’ surely must be the lenghty, sad, introspective “Drinkin’ and Thinkin‘”: Vibes, a touch of strings, gentle brass, a wicked sax solo and William delivering a terrific, sweet, sensitive vocal. The ultimate early morning ‘I got the Blues‘ soundtrack for distraught lovers everywhere…
You’ve Got the Kind of Love I Need” is less spectacular to me, borrowing a little too much of the Philly sound for my taste, but Bell’s vocal is top notch. Far grittier is the bass heavy ‘down in the dumps’ mid tempo ballad “You Don’t Want a Man“, which features a bridge that’s slightly reminiscent of Bell’s most loved composition “I Forgot to Be Your Lover“.
This luscious album ends on a more uplifting note as “Nobody But You” rides a gutbucket, rock solid groove while horns blare behind Bell and the back up singers. Stylish sax solo as well.


Give ‘Relating’ a spin on one of those lonely summer evenings, with a beverage of choice in your hand. Then let the music take your mind…

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Conversation for album: William Bell – 1973 – Relating

34 Comments
  • grunge
    Posted at 06:45h, 11 November 2011 Reply

    good to have you guys back, thanks for the rip

  • Joker
    Posted at 09:36h, 11 November 2011 Reply

    I was in my middle school in the 70s. Ever since it has been my one of my all time favorites! I

  • cawamor
    Posted at 15:16h, 11 November 2011 Reply

    Thank you for this wonderful album. It is truly wonderful having you back online and I appreciate your work very much.

  • Josh
    Posted at 18:52h, 11 November 2011 Reply

    Praise The Lord you are back!

  • Josh
    Posted at 18:52h, 11 November 2011 Reply

    Praise The Lord you are back!

  • mark mathew
    Posted at 20:17h, 11 November 2011 Reply

    It's great to have you back and blog alive again. What a treasure of great music coming our way. It may be old (and i was around and loved Soul Music when most of it was released) but i was only standing on the tip of the iceberg then and are digger much deeper into it all now – thanks to you. Great work. LOVE IT – and BIG IRIE & CHEERS

  • rich
    Posted at 21:42h, 11 November 2011 Reply

    thank u mr.moo and niko for this post. never heard this album

  • Jazzwhat
    Posted at 01:32h, 12 November 2011 Reply

    thanks for sharing, and great that you are back!

  • justme
    Posted at 01:57h, 12 November 2011 Reply

    Wonderful!  Thanks a lot!  I haven't heard this one of his.  I wish you guys all the best and may you have only smooth sailing with your blog in the future.

  • Raggedy
    Posted at 02:02h, 12 November 2011 Reply

    What a great starter album for the resurrected FMS site. William Bell always sounded great.  And what a prolific composer he is. 
    Thanks for sharing.
     
     

  • Richard
    Posted at 11:58h, 12 November 2011 Reply

    Great back again post. Love Bell

  • willie
    Posted at 16:52h, 12 November 2011 Reply

    Real glad to see the blog back up, N!

  • John
    Posted at 00:07h, 13 November 2011 Reply

    Wonderful, underrated Mr. Bell. 

  • Holly
    Posted at 05:56h, 13 November 2011 Reply

    Thank you very much for this lovely album.

  • Lancelot
    Posted at 10:46h, 13 November 2011 Reply

    Wonderful you are back! Great stuff here. Thank you!

  • JazzyPier
    Posted at 12:41h, 13 November 2011 Reply

    Glad to see you back folks….Keep up your great work brothers!
    Peace & Blessings
    The MFS Fam

  • Chris T
    Posted at 17:29h, 13 November 2011 Reply

    Thanks, good to have you back.

  • Mafu
    Posted at 02:29h, 14 November 2011 Reply

    love this guy thanks for uploading

  • Loui M
    Posted at 07:36h, 14 November 2011 Reply

    Dope posting!  Thanks Nikos

  • Priest
    Posted at 10:19h, 14 November 2011 Reply

    i've loved this music for sooo long!! never thought that i'd find so many gems. thanks for posting.

  • evert
    Posted at 23:31h, 14 November 2011 Reply

    Simply wonderful!!

  • Raphy
    Posted at 02:45h, 15 November 2011 Reply

    Thanks MR. Moo… I promised to follow up with another William Bell Lp…  Just some difficulties I'm having with my equipment…
    I Will post it soon
     
    Big Up@!

  • Angel
    Posted at 09:27h, 15 November 2011 Reply

    the real deal it doesn't get any better.

  • Macabre5150
    Posted at 01:55h, 16 November 2011 Reply

    Hey Guys,
    You can beleive how much i was hope you guys would come back. This has to be one of the best bloggs outthere. The William Bell is off the hook in fact I'm listing to it right now. Glad to see you back…Thanks for the album Mr.Moo and Nikos.

  • SM
    Posted at 10:48h, 16 November 2011 Reply

    Excellent choice for your comeback.  Bell is one of the architects of the Stax sound.

  • Patte3000
    Posted at 12:02h, 16 November 2011 Reply

    Right on! I appreciate your comeback and this album very, very, very much!!!

  • Seldon
    Posted at 01:03h, 18 November 2011 Reply

    Nice, my personal favorite William Bell is Eveybody loves a winner 1967.
     

  • Taozen
    Posted at 14:45h, 18 November 2011 Reply

    Great singer, very nice voice and very good choice. Thanks for this Lp. We support da FMS Team.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 00:04h, 19 November 2011 Reply

    It'sgreat to see your excellent blog back. Thanks very much!

  • Felicia
    Posted at 11:15h, 19 November 2011 Reply

    How did i misses that? Wow…..Thank you Mr.Moo. Nikos this blog is terrific.

  • hooch
    Posted at 19:42h, 21 November 2011 Reply

    Excellent Lp – Thank you Mr Moo & Nikos!

  • Illex
    Posted at 19:31h, 22 November 2011 Reply

    Thanks a lot for all the time and effort it takes you to make it real!!

  • mikeE
    Posted at 22:08h, 01 December 2011 Reply

    Top class, many thanks. 

  • Jan
    Posted at 23:29h, 10 January 2013 Reply

    Thank you you for this Soul album

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