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Ooh Baby, You Turn Me On

Willie Mitchell

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Album Review

This album, which was repackaged and retitled Soul Serenade a year after its original release, catches Willie Mitchell in superb form, not only as an arranger but as a leader fronting a first-rate ensemble. Apart from a somewhat predictable chorus on "Soulfinger," everything here has some subtlety in its presentation — details in the arrangements that surprise on repeated listening, and a crispness in the recording (this is some of the best-sounding stereo soul music of its period) that makes the repeated listening fun. The material ranges from new Mitchell-authored instrumentals to covers of standards such as "Slippin' and Slidin'" and "Sunny" (which could've been considered for a double-A-sided single, and the latter might've just placed Mitchell onto the easy listening charts without compromising his sound; it's that good). The playing by guitarist Teenie Hodges is worth the price of admission and gets put in the spotlight surprisingly often, considering the abundance of first-rate reed and horn talent on hand.

Biography

Born: March 1, 1928 in Ashland, MS

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Best known as the man who signed Al Green to Hi Records and as the producer of Green's most popular records, Willie Mitchell had a successful recording career of his own during the mid-'60s before meeting Green. Born on March 23, 1928, in Ashland, MS, Mitchell was raised in Memphis, TN, and began studying music and arranging at an early age, taking up the trumpet at the age of eight and learning from pianist Ozie Horn (as well as drawing from such influences as Roy Eldridge and Harry James). After...
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Ooh Baby, You Turn Me On, Willie Mitchell
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