(March 1, 1928 – January 5, 2010) was an American soul
, rock and roll
and funk record producer
, who ran Royal Recording in Memphis
. He was best known for his Hi Records label
of the 1970s, which released albums
by a large stable of popular Memphis soul artists
, including Mitchell himself, Al Green
, Syl Johnson
and Ann Peebles
Born and raised in Ashland, Mississippi
, Mitchell moved to Memphis
when he was in high school. He attended Rust College
.Howard, David N. (2004). Sonic Alchemy: Visionary Music Producers and Their Maverick Recordings
, pp. 150–51. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 0634055607. At the age of eight, he began to play the trumpet
. While in high school, he was a featured player in popular local big bands. He later formed his own combo, which from time to time included musicians such as trumpeter Booker Little
, saxophonists Charles Lloyd
, and George Coleman
, and pianist Phineas Newborn, Jr.
Mitchell landed a job with the Home of the Blues record label as a producer, then left to join Hi Records as both a recording artist
and a producer.
Known at the recording studio
as "Papa Willie", Mitchell earned his nickname by taking over the reins of Hi Records in 1970 and guiding it through its most successful period. Mitchell's productions have been much noted for featuring a hard-hitting kick......