Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Willie Mitchell

Take nothing away from Al Green. On any given day, and at the drop of the proverbial hat, I'll argue that "Tired of Being Alone" is the greatest three minutes of pop music ever recorded, with "Let's Stay Together" and "Love and Happiness" bubbling just out of the Top 10. But a big part of the magic of Al Green came from producer and arranger Willie Mitchell, who died today. Willie owned the record label (Hi Records) and the recording studio (Royal Studios), and it was Willie who hired the masterful musicians who accompanied Al, and it was Willie who wrote those superb horn and string arrangements. The Al Green sound -- as distinctive as any in popular music -- was architected by Willie Mitchell. Willie laid the ground work, and Al floated over the top and sang those incredible babymaker ballads. RIP, Willie. You rocked my world.

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