Looks like we lost another one today folks, as Artist/ Producer Willie Mitchell passed away this morning. As a new decade is upon us, these men and women of the Funk, Soul, Jazz, and Reggae game (look out you Hip Hoppers too!) get a little long in the tooth. Just as those Jazz and Blues giants R.Crumb immortalized in his drawings faded away eventually, so will the foundation builders of yesterday. It’s unfortunate, but you can not stop such a thing. Willie Mitchell, artist and produced was one of the good ones. “Papa Willie” took over Hi Records in Memphis in 1970. Known for his own sound (a hard hitting kick drum sound provided by Al Jackson of Booker T. and the MG’s), Mitchell’s was responsible for the sound of the one and only Al Green, and made records with Ann Peebles and Syl Johnson, among others. Mitchell and Green would get back together in the 80’s, and also in the early 2000’s to put out more records. His most notable work was with Green, and he continued to work today at Royal Studios, still putting out records and doing what he did best: producing. He has been sampled as well, most notably by the GZA, who used the beginning of “Groovin’ ” for his anthem “Liquid Swords”. That is a record I will always work doubles to, and even more as a tribute to one of Memphis’ best.
Check out this link for another one of Mitchell’s records “20-75” that I reviewed earlier.
Rest In Peace Willie Mitchell. Keep Diggin’!