Willie Mitchell - Bum Daddy (Hi 2147)
The Memphis Blues Again
Our friend Willie Mitchell isn't doing so hot. In what he described to me as a 'string of bad luck', he's been dealing with some major issues this summer. His house 'burned up', he said, and he's been unable to live there. After a nasty fall in which he broke his hip, he's been confined to a wheelchair. He didn't even know the hip was broken, he said, for a couple of months. Willie's also been struggling with complications from the ankle he broke last year, which hasn't healed properly because of his diabetes. He entered the hospital in Memphis yesterday for an operation on his hip that will, hopefully, help with the pain. Willie Mitchell has been, through it all, his usual stoic self, answering the phone at Royal just as he has for the past forty years. He is 81 years old. I told him we'd be praying for him.
Ironically, Fat Possum just released Ooh Baby You Turn Me On, Willie's 1967 album that contained top ten R&B hit Soul Serenade, and earned him and the band the Cashbox award for Best Instrumental Group the following year. This rollicking B side we have here (the flip of Willie's top 40 cover of Jimmy Smith's Prayer Meetin') is from Willie Mitchell Live, the follow-up Lp they recorded with that 'live in the studio' feel to it. I'm not sure what the title is all about, but that's OK... it cooks.
You already know how I feel. I can't say enough about Willie's importance in the development of Memphis Soul. Get well soon, Pop!