RIP Willie Mitchell 1928-2010, The Papa of Funky Memphis Soul
I have only known my dear friends the Mitchell family for a few short years, but I feel like I have always known them, as Poppa Willie Mitchell, the inventor and prime propagator of funky Memphis soul music has been in my soul and my music since the 60's.
Here's the best Obituary I have found so far, he deserves much more.
Producer Ian Berzon and I were lucky enough to have met with and gotten to know Willie and his talented and friendly hardworking sons Archie and Boo Mitchell (We love you Archie and Boo!) in the dark recesses of the old Royal Recording Studio, on Willie Mitchell Blvd in Memphis, where so many greats cut their funkiest and most heart wrenchingly soulful records over the years.
We had planned and negotiated a major recording project with the Mitchells at their studio, to feature many members of my superband as well as local legends of the Tennessee soul scene. We had the rare honor of having Willie himself agree to personally oversee and produce the project, despite his semi retirement from the studio control room at that point.
Willie was generous enough to offer me in-house family rates for the chance to work on a project with a family reunion of great old and new soul and funk players of the past and future, but he told me we might have to postpone the recording dates "if the Rolling Stones or Al Green stop by for another surprise session"
Thank you for all the great music Willie, and thanks to you and your amazing next generation of old school studio wizards for welcoming us into your hearts and your precious family studio sanctuary. We will attempt to continue the plan despite Willie's untimely and tragic passing, but for now we celebrate his life and mourn his loss.
In lieu of flowers please send donations to MusiCares in Willie Mitchell’s honor to the address:
1904 Wedgewood Avenue
Nashville, Tennessee 37212
or to the
Willie Mitchell Foundation and Scholarship Fund
1320 Willie Mitchell Blvd.
Memphis, TN 38106