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Groovin' In Heaven: R.I.P. Willie Mitchell (1928-2010)

Al Green and Willie Mitchell

Can we please have a moment of silence for . . .

Musician-songwriter and Al Green producer Willie Mitchell who died Jan. 5 at Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., after suffering a cardiac arrest in December. He was 81. "[He] was doing music all the way till he couldn't," said  his grandson, Lawrence "Boo" Mitchell.

Affectionately called "Poppa Willie" by his close associates, Mitchell is considered the architect of the Memphis soul sound who mentored and produced local artists on his label, Hi Records. Outside of his own music, the veteran studio maverick has produced songs for such artists as Ann Peebles, Sly Johnson and O.V. Wright. But Mitchell will primarily be remembered for his production work with legendary soul man Al Green.

Among the hits he recorded with Green include "I'm Still in Love With You," "Let's Stay Together," "Love and Happiness" and "Call Me."

In addition, Willie Mitchell's music has been sampled by a bevy of rap artists, most notably the RZA (who sampled "Groovin'" for the GZA's "Liquid Swords" track) and Timbaland (who sampled Ann Peebles' "I Can't Stand the Rain" for Missy Elliott's 1997 mega-hit "The Rain [Supa Dupa Fly]").

Before Mitchell passed away, he finished producing Solomon Burke's upcoming CD and most recently worked on Rod Stewart's latest LP, Soulbook.

Willie Mitchell is survived by his daughters, Yvonne and Lorrain, his stepson Archie "Hubbie" Turner, and his grandchildren, Lawrence "Boo" Mitchell, Archie Mitchell and Oona Mitchell.

Willie Mitchell -- "Groovin'"

Ann Peebles -- "I Can't Stand the Rain"

Al Green -- "Let's Stay Together"

Dante Ross Remembers Willie Mitchell

Eric Luecking of Record Racks blog posted this Great Tribute to Willie Mitchell

Willie Mitchell Musical Memorial by Funky 16 Corners