Those of us who love the soulful music that came out of Memphis in the ’60 and ’70 will find it hard not to mourn the recent passing of the great Willie Mitchell (03/23/1928 – 01/05/2010). His achievements as a musician, band leader, record producer and label owner are almost unmatched when you consider how much his signature sound influenced the soul and R&B recordings from Memphis to Motown during those two decades. More popularly known for his production and arrangements of Al Green’s outstanding catalog, Mitchell himself released a string of moderate hits in the ’60s including our featured track, Bum Daddy.
This is an instrumental party track in the classic sense—complete with a hootin’ and hollerin’ crowd in the background—akin to The Bar-Kays’ Soul Finger or Stop, Inc.’s Second Line. The label mentions this track was available on the “Willie Mitchell Live” LP though I doubt, and it has been posited by others as well, that the crowd sound is anything more than Willie’s and the band’s friends gettin’ rowdy in the studio. Nevertheless, they do add a raucous feel to an already driving dance number. The straight-forward drums and pronounced horn arrangement of Bum Daddy provided a hint to anyone listening at the time of the genius that would follow in Mitchell’s work with Al Green. Thanks, Willie for all this great music! | c.1968; Hi Records; HI 2524