William Bell, Phases of Reality (Stax, 1973 — 1999 remastered reissue on CD)
Haven’t listened in too many years. One of the many ripples set off by Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, with tracks like “Save Us,” “Fifty Dollar Habit,” “The Man in the Street.” Because Bell is not nearly as wounded and incomplete as Gaye, the numbers may not cut as deep as his best on WGO, but for the same reasons it’s less of a mess and by now I’m as likely to play one as the other.
EDIT: The sad part about this album is that it was Bell’s next-to-last for Stax, just two years before the label folded. One of the signs they were in trouble is that all of a sudden new Stax records became damned hard to find. Phases of Reality was always kind of a rarity.