Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Willie Mitchell - Bum Daddy (Hi 2147)

Bum Daddy

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!


Blogger wilfofhove said...

Thanks for all the great music. Much appreciated.
Very sad to hear about Willie Mitchell's ongoing problems. The last thing I want to be is intrusive in any way but...is there any way I can get a message to the great man? I just want to tell him how much his music means to me. Thanks again.
My best wishes, Jon Wilde, Hove, UK

2:26 PM  
Blogger Perrata 2000 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have loved Willie Mitchell's sound since 2075 was a hit. Does he have a son who served in the Army in Vietnam? I met a guy playing in a service club band in Chu Lai in 1969 who said he was Willie's son. Hope he's ok and wish Mr. Mitchell the best. Thanks to Fat Possum for the new CD. They truly are "trying their best."

10:29 AM  
Blogger Red Kelly said...

Willie's stepson, Archie Turner (aka 'Hubbie'), served in Vietnam (along with Larry Lee) around that time. He is now playing keyboards for both Hi Rhythm and The Bo-Keys...

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Willie's "Soul Serenade" was a real help getting through basic training at Ft. Campbell, Ky in 1968. Truly the last of the great instrumentals with heavy bass! Thanks for this piece from my war-torn heart.
Gene in TN

7:08 PM  

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