Alex and Leroy Bell came from Florida, with the former being the musical leader of the family duo, playing the guitar and taking the main vocal parts on their discs. Their first single for Don Robey’s Sure Shot label was the lively midpaced “Not Your Kind Of Love” but this was eclipsed by the excellent deep sides on their subsequent 45s. “Pity Me” is a classic southern deep ballad, beautifully simple in its construction, so compelling in its effect. The interplay between piano and guitar is exquisite, the horns superbly judged and the call and response singing of the brothers quite brilliant. The hook has you singing it for days. One of the very best soul duo recordings.
Almost at that level was their third single. “Throw Away The Key” was cut in Memphis with the production values typically high. Another stunning deep side this, full of good things like the guitar fills, and the horn charts, but especially the harmonies and vocal interplay. I could listen to music like this forever.
Alex Bell passed away in 1988.
I'm pretty certain the trio of Bell Brothers on Quali-Bell and Bell O'Soul are a different act. Can anybody confirm this?
UPDATE ~ My friend John Lias has been in touch with clear evidence that after their Sure Shot era the Bell Brothers went back home to Florida and made new music in the 80s on their own labels. Both the 45 and the very rare LP are now in the discography. Many thanks John.
Not your kind of love / Don't You know she's alright ~ SURE SHOT 5012 (1965)
Pity me / Look at me ~ SURE SHOT 5023 (1966)
Tell him no / Throw away the key ~ SURE SHOT 5038 (1968)
Give it up / Super lady super girl ~ BELL-O-SOUND 1001/2 (1982)
At last ~ QUALLEY-BELL (1980s)
Thanks as always to Pete Nickols for his research and the Duke/Peacock ad.