Monday, December 6, 2010

William Bell - "Eloise (Hang On In There)" - Stax, 1967

The other day I was running through some 45s and I realized there were a few I never got around to ripping to digital so I could play them out.  I've been really missing out by not having this monster in my bag! Great, great tune.
Bell was born in Memphis, Tennessee. He took the last name "Bell" as a stage name in honor of his grandmother, whose first name was Belle. After a start with The Del-Rios in the 50s, he began releasing records on Stax in the early 60's with "You Don't Miss Your Water".
"Share What You Got (But Keep What You Need)" was his first big hit in '66. His later hits were covered by artists such as Cream, Billy Idol, and Albert King.

This particular tune seems to be a bit under-the-radar, I don't believe it had any real chart success. As you can see by the label, this was another collaboration with Booker T. Jones.  Kind of a shame this one didn't break out as it's a real corker!
Stax Records is an epic record label, defining the Memphis Soul sound. Otis Redding, Booker T & The MGs, Rufus Thomas, The Bar-Kays - just a handful of the tremendous artists that released on Stax. 

From Wikipedia: "Stax Records, originally named Satellite Records, was founded in Memphis in 1957 by Jim Stewart, initially operating in a garage. Satellite's early releases were country music records or straight pop numbers, reflecting the tastes of Stewart (a white country fiddle player) at the time."

Out of Satellite Records came Stax Records (a portmanteau of the names of the two owners of the company: Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton) and Volt. In the early/mid 60s they rose from regional to national labels alongside Motown. By the late 60's Stax started to falter after legal troubles with distributor Atlantic and the death of Otis Redding. Stax/Volt Records was forced into involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy on December 19, 1975.
If you see a Stax 45, just give it a listen! And now, the clip:

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