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Willie Mitchell at Hi Records

Hi Records producer Willie Mitchell set the tone for polished Memphis soul

Willie Mitchell at Hi Records, courtesy of the Mississippi Valley Collection, University of Memphis Libraries.   I’ve been fortunate enough to know “Poppa” Willie Mitchell for a handful of years. When we first met, in August 2000, I was working for Ike Turner, who decided to record his hoped-for comeback, Here and Now, at Pops’ Royal Studio (the former home of Hi Records) in South Memphis. I was immediately blown away by this elegant man…

June 25, 2014 | Andria Lisle | Articles

Willie Mitchell

Courtesy of Mississippi Valley Collection, University of Memphis Libraries One of the greatest record producers ever, Poppa Willie Mitchell ruled the soul charts with hits on Hi Records for O. V. Wright, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Otis Clay, Ann Peebles, and Syl Johnson. But everything changed the day a young soul crooner named Al Green arrived at his doorstep in South Memphis. They had previously met in Texas at one of Green’s…

January 5, 2010 | Wax Poetics | In Memoriam
Civil Rights March, Beale Street, Memphis

I Know a Place: The legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. to the people and city of Memphis

Memphians embarked on their struggle for civil rights long before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came to town. In the late 1800s, abolitionist Ida B. Wells, the daughter of slaves, began an anti-lynching crusade in the basement of Beale Street’s First Baptist Church. It ended when an angry mob of Whites destroyed her printing press—but not before Wells and six thousand African Americans left the city in mass exodus. The city’s first Black college,…

January 19, 2015 | Andria Lisle | Features
Wax Poetics 68 - Digable Planets

  On sale now. Wax Poetics Journal is back for 2020 with Digable Planets c/o P.M. Dawn. Paperback and hardcover…