Best known for Stax classics like the monumental "You Don't Miss Your Water" and "Tribute to a King," soul legend William Bell teamed in 1968 with manager Henry Wynn to found the Atlanta-based Peachtree Records; the label lasted just a few short years, issuing just 20 singles to little commercial notice, but today it's justly celebrated as a treasure trove of vintage soul genius. William Bell Presents Atlanta Soul: The Peachtree Records Story is the first comprehensive overview of the label and a must-own by any metric, compiling 20 tracks remastered by Bell himself. The most notable entry is the opener, James Fountain's 1971 effort "Seven Day Lover," a Northern soul staple since its rediscovery by Blackpool Mecca DJ Ian Levine -- the B-side of Fountain's single "Malnutrition" (also included here), it's much slower and grittier than the typical Northern groover, with gospel-inspired vocals and an insistent rhythm that's impossible to ignore. Alongside landmark records like the Carstairs' "It Really Hurts Me, Girl," "Seven Day Lover" looms responsible for the Northern scene's shift away from the Motown sound-alikes that once dominated play lists, and helped give rise to the modern soul movement. Nothing else Peachtree released exerted quite the same influence, but due to Bell's presence in the production booth, the label's output boasts an uncommon consistency, fusing the deep soul of his Stax classics with the sweeter, funkier sensibility of the Atlanta scene -- highlights include Mitty Collier's "Your Sign Is a Good Sign," Emory & the Dynamics' "Let's Take a Look at Our Life," and Susie Rainey's "You Hurt So Good."
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AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny