Jim Carroll

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Willie Mitchell RIP

The great Memphis soulman and producer Willie Mitchell died yesterday morning aged 81. The Royal Studios owner and longtime Hi Records boss will be forever associated with classic soul cuts from that great city, most notably the work he did …

Wed, Jan 6, 2010, 13:14

   

The great Memphis soulman and producer Willie Mitchell died yesterday morning aged 81.

The Royal Studios owner and longtime Hi Records boss will be forever associated with classic soul cuts from that great city, most notably the work he did down through the years with the mighty Al Green, who Mitchell came across singing in a bar in Midland, Texas and persuaded him to go to Memphis to work with him.

Over the next couple of years, the Green-Mitchell partnership produced a string of soul hits. You name one of those tunes which is always associated with Al Green and you can bet it was on the Hi label and Willie Mitchell had something to do with it. Seven years, eight albums, 20 million sales.

Mitchell started working again with Green in recent years and produced both 2003′s “I Can’t Stop” and 2005′s “Everything’s OK” albums. When I interviewed Green in 2005, he was full of praise for his old buddy: “Willie Mitchell put his stamp of approval on those records and produced it like Willie Mitchell records ought to be produced. He said I had to sing on it like it ought to be sung. He’s up and at it again. He’s walking around that studio, his thinking is clear and his production capabilities are back.”

Let’s remember him this way

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