Trying To Get To You

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Incomparable Willie Mitchell

Willie Mitchell died yesterday. If you don't know who Willie Mitchell was, put on an Al Green record from 1971-1976. It was Willie Mitchell, as much as Al Green, who was responsible for the sound of those epochal, miraculous records, and for the sound of Memphis soul in the 1970's, post-Stax.

As a trumpeter, bandleader, producer and eventually, a co-owner of Hi Records, Mitchell had few, if any peers. Like another great Memphis producer, Sam Phillips, Mitchell was a true original whose biggest demand of the artists he worked with were that they be no one other than their most authentic selves. Such producers and music people are a rare commodity, but the best of them leave a mark on the world that can scarcely be measured.

If you want to know the impact that Willie Mitchell had, close your eyes and imagine a world without "Tired Of Being Alone," "I Can't Stand The Rain," "Call Me," "You Ought To Be With Me," "Let's Stay Together," "Take Me To The River," "Trying To Live My Life Without You," "Back For A Taste Of Your Love" and a few dozen others. The world is a better place for him being in it. That's a life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A genius indeed. Rarely mentioned is his production of Scottish pop band Wet Wet Wet, before they cut their full debut album in 1987. The group idolised Mitchell, asked him to produce a session with him...and he did, presumably because these guys were sincere and talented soul fans.

The session was released in 1988 (I posted a few tracks from it last year). Wet Wet Wet even tried their hands at Mitchell's song "This Time".

BTW, the URL for your link to Echoes In The Wind is outdated. He's now at