North Mississippi Allstars
Photo: Jason Thrasher / Courtesy of New West Records

Stax Legend William Bell and North Mississippi Allstars “Never Want to Be Kissed” (premiere)

North Mississippi Allstars have a new album on tap in Set Sail, and they team with Stax legend William Bell for their latest single, “Never Want to Be Kissed”.

American roots band North Mississippi Allstars are comprised of second-generation musicians, and it shows in their ease with traditional musical forms and their ability to take it forward. They blend blues, soul, rock, folk, and even jazz into their sound, and that has given them widespread appeal as a recording act and festival highlight. Next month, the group will release their 13th album, Set Sail, on 1 February via New West Records. It continues their soulful and grooving aesthetic with a raft of tunes that will thrill audiences on the upcoming tour starting on the record release date.

Set Sail has something a little extra special too. North Mississippi Allstars teamed up with Stax Records legend William Bell for the single, “Never Want to Be Kissed”. Bell’s most famous song is “You Don’t Miss Your Water”, which he recorded in 1961, and Otis Redding went on to cover on his classic 1965 record, Otis Blue. The Byrds also made a version for their groundbreaking LP, Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Like Redding, Bell was a successful songwriter and crucial to the development of Southern soul.

On “Never Want to Be Kissed”, North Mississippi Allstars play blues-drenched R&B, as the wisened voice of Bell sings of heartbreak as his woman says goodbye and how he never wants to be kissed like that again as it’s just too painful. The band offer a punchy Staxesque horn section with Steve Cropperish guitar, playing the perfect accompaniment to a genuine Soul Man.

Luther Dickinson says that “Cody became friends with William Bell working on the Take Me to the River movie. William invited NMA to his studio in Atlanta to co-write a song. He had the whole plot of the song conceptualized as if it was a movie. I’ve never seen a song written like that before. Usually, for me, storylines unfold as they are written. We simply helped William turn the plot into lyrics and added music, but we were truly only helping William realize his vision. We recorded a voice memo at the session and built the song up from there. Some of the audio on the record is from the original voice memo. It’s an honor to work with a living legend and soul music pioneer.”

Meanwhile, William Bell adds, “Luther and Cody are my kind of people, locked in the tradition of blues and soul stories and songs. Pure perfectionists at their craft! It was a pleasure writing the song with them and Jesse and having Lamar sing on it too. And we all had a great time shooting the video in my studio.”


1. Set Sail part I (Featuring Lamar Williams Jr.) 

2. Bumpin’ 

3. See the Moon (Featuring Lamar Williams Jr. and Sharisse Norman) 

4. Outside (Featuring Lamar Williams Jr.) 

5. Didn’t We Have a Time 

6. Never Want to Be Kissed (Featuring William Bell) 

7. Set Sail part II (Featuring Lamar Williams Jr.) 

8. Juicy Juice 

9. Rabbit Foot (Featuring Lamar Williams Jr.) 

10. Authentic (Featuring Lamar Williams Jr.)


February 01 – Solana Beach, CA – Belly Up 

February 02 – Venice, CA – Venice West 

February 03 – Sacramento, CA – Harlow’s 

February 04 – Crystal Bay, NV – Crystal Bay Club 

February 05 – San Francisco, CA – The Independent 

February 06 – Felton, CA – Felton Music Hall 

February 08 – Boise, ID – Egyptian Theatre 

February 09 – Bend, OR – Tower Theatre 

February 10 – Eugene, OR – Hult Center for the Performing Arts 

February 11 – Portland, OR – Aladdin Theater 

February 12 – Seattle, WA – Nectars 

June 01 – London, UK – Lafayette

June -03 – Suffolk, UK – Red Roster Festival 

June 06 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Paradiso Noord