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on 3 December 2013
This is the album that Willis always seemed to be promising to deliver.

His live performances are amazing (think Screamin' Jay Hawkins meets Tom Waits) and his first album hinted that he could produce a wonderful skewed soul album. The trouble with Acousmatic Sorcery (album one, which was released in various forms with different track-listings even before its formal release) was the lack of acceptable production values (it felt at times like a bootleg) and the real need for some backing musicians.

'Nobody Knows' addresses all those quibbles admirably. Not only do we now have a lovely production (despite the amusing comment on the sleeve that the album was 'Produced by Nobody') but Willis is now accompanied by organs, violins, drums etc. In addition he has enlisted the help of Cat Power on one of the songs (the lovely 'Coming Through').
This is a truly wonderful album of Otis style soul songs with a very 21st Century twist.
Believe the hype ... but start with this album before cautiously experimenting with the man's early demo recordings.
Better still catch him live as even this very good record gives you no clue as to his charismatic and crazy stage persona.

Buy this for any friend who wishes that STAX were still doing what they did in the 50's.

N.B. If you opt for the Vinyl version you won't be disappointed as it comes with artistic packaging, full lyrics and two discs.
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on 20 October 2013
Having listened to his first album (The production of which is best described as basic) I was looking forward to this album to see what would be done with proper production.

Asides from a couple of the songs having a slightly samey style I cant really fault it. The duet with Cat Power and the final song are particular highlights.
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on 14 December 2013
Willis has an excellent voice with an unusual and powerful range. He moves easily from soulful croon to an evangelical roar. This album showcases the sad and discordant sections of that range, exactly as one would expect from an album called 'Nobody Knows'

Unlike some of the other reviewers I would have welcomed less production on this album. Willis doesn't need echo to lend his voice atmosphere or gimmicky sound effects to adorn his arrangements. His voice is good enough to stand alone and shines most on the tracks with least interference - like Too Dry to Cry. Other tracks, such as Aint Got No Love, have a potential to burn with a blinding light that's smothered in effect.
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on 3 December 2016
I love Willis Earl Beal, but this album was really disappointing. Every version of some great songs was recorded at a slow and dreary rate making them all sound the same. Over produced too, he sounds much better live!
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on 17 August 2015
Brilliant album. Every track is a winner. Get on to this guy. You won't regret it.
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on 8 September 2016
Just simply amazing! I love this man's voice.
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on 28 September 2015
good voice
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on 31 January 2014
This is kind of OK in concept but badly hampered by an inability to write decent songs. I get then impression these guys think they are better than they are. I know some people don't like the sexual content but that doesn't bother me. Its the lack of craft thats the problem
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on 2 October 2014
a big surprise
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on 1 October 2013
If the anecdotal evidence is to be believed, Mr. Beal is by all accounts a rather unpleasant - &, on occasion, horribly violent - fellow who, like many other young men of colour, appears to be preoccupied with the proportions & operation of his penis, & mistakenly assumes his listeners may be similarly bewitched.

Sadly, it's unattractive personality facets of this nature which mean that I am unable to enjoy his latest album quite as much as I otherwise might.
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