William Bell & Catherine Russell

Brooklyn Academy of Music R&B Festival At MetroTech / Brooklyn, NY

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Photos by Arnie Goodman

William Bell, who wrote “Born Under a Bad Sign” with Booker T. Jones (a tune first recorded by Albert King and made legend by Eric Clapton and Cream), performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s R&B Festival at MetroTech. The weather was perfect and the music was inspiring. The horn section showcased Stan Harrison on sax, Larry Etkin (the Uptown Horns), on trumpet and Rick Depofi, composer, arranger, music producer and recording engineer, on tenor sax.; Grammy Award-winning musician, producer, songwriter and the band leader John Leventhal played guitar; Dan Reiser sat in on drums, Andrew Hess (formerly of Gov’t Mule) on bass, and Eryn Roberts on keyboards.

Helping William Bell on vocals was Catherine Russell, who worked with David Bowie from 2002 through 2004, and was a backup singer for such artists as Steely Dan, Jackson Browne and Rosanne Cash (aka Mrs. John Leventhal).

The band played William’s 1961 debut song for Stax Records “You Don’t Miss Your Water (Until Your Well Runs Dry),” which became one of the label’s first major hits. As his career was taking flight William Bell was drafted and did a tour in the army, possibly sidelining his chances for bigger stardom..

The group also played some songs from the new album This Is Where I Live, including the title song and “The Three of Me,” “Poison In The Well,” “I Will Take Care Of You,” “Mississippi-Arkansas Bridge,” and “All Your Stories.” If the CD is anything like the live performance, this is an album that should definitely be in your collection.

—Stanley Abraham

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