Willie Mitchell, the Al Green producer and arranger and owner of Memphis' Hi Records, died on Tuesday. He was 81. His obit is here. Mitchell was a trumpeter, and had a couple of hits with his own big band in the '60s - such as "Soul Serenade." It was with Hi, however, that Mitchell forged a a '70s silky soul successor to Memphis' powerhouse Stax label, working not only with Green, but also such formidable talents as Syl Johnson and Ann Peebles, plus session man Mabon "Teenie" Hodges. The 1995 3 CD box Hi Times: The Hi Records R & B Years is an indispensable collection that contains stellar work from all of the above, plus a rugged Southern R & B from Otis Clay and O.V. Wright. "Soul Serenade" is here, Peebles' Mitchell produced classic "I Can't Stand The Rain" is here, and a couple of examples of Green in his Mitchell produced early '70s prime are below.
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