Brinkley native Al Bell
, who owned Stax, served as president of Motown and did all kinds of other influential things, recently launched Al Bell Presents
, a website that despite its "About Us" section — "The first thing you should know about Al Bell Presents is that it’s not about us; it’s about you…and the music"— seems, at least for now, to be mainly a really slick home page for Bell.
Bell as tastemaker appears to be the business model. There are sections of "Al Bell's Pick Hits" with pictures and text on artists like the Dramatics and Anita Baker. But with few exceptions, there's nothing to stream or download. Maybe it's coming.
By far the biggest draw currently is a streaming radio channel, programmed by Bell with more than 2,000 classic soul songs. I've been listening to it for the last half hour. It's mostly a strong mix of '60s and '70s soul, but along the way I caught an early Usher hit and some gospel song by one of the Winans. I would've skipped forward, but unlike Pandora and LastFM, you can't.
Still, worth checking out.