William Bell - New Lease on Life (2006)

William Bell

Review of New Lease on Life

Review of New Lease on Life

Even though he's had a continuing presence in the background as a songwriter, it's been a long time since we've heard a full album by William Bell, so it was a real pleasure receiving New Lease on Life.  It's even more of a treat to hear how good Bell still sounds at age 67.  His distinctive, soulful voice is intact and sounds especially good on the title cut, a 70s-style Southern Soul cut that should please Bell's longtime fans.  Nearly as good are the uptempo "Treat Her Right (Like a Lady)," the bluesy "Up Close and Personal" and the old school closer, "Every Sunday Morning."  Like many independent soul records, New Lease on Life suffers from a lack of organic instrumentation (often replaced by electronically programmed keyboards and drums), and that takes away from the overall power of the album. But both William Bell's voice and his songwriting are generally strong, and they overcome the sonic limitations to make this a worthwhile disc and a welcome return of a classic soul singer.

By Chris Rizik

 
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