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Pick Hit Of The Week
GVCD 3021(Grapevine)
Pick Hit Of The Week (3.04)
Losing You (Has Taught Me A Lesson) (3.18)
Free For All (3.08)
Look At Me Laughing (3.48)
It Be's That Way Sometimes (3.44)
First Lady Of The Universe (2.49)
I'm So Glad (4.55)
I May Not Be What You Want (2.59)
Once You Love Someone (3.28)
I Wish It Was A Lie (3.28)
Sad Sad Melody (3.29)
I Don't Do This (To Every Girl I Meet) (2.24)
Me Myself And I (3.26)
Ready If I Don't Get To Go (4.53)
I Understand (5.18)
What We Gonna Do Now (2.45)
I'd Still Be There (4.18)
The More I Get, The More I Want (2.19)
It Hurts So Good (3.05)
Losing You (3.02)

Phillip Mitchell is one of soul music's most prolific and successful writers, having penned hundreds of great songs for dozens of soul artists including Candi Staton, Mel & Tim, Millie Jackson, Bobby Womack, Joe Simon, Bettye Swann, Archie Bell & The Drells, The Staple Singers, Dorothy Moore and countless others. As many of his songs became major hits, most notably "Starting All Over Again" and "It Hurts So Good", such was the demand for his material that he spent most of his days writing songs, particularly during the early 1970s when he was a staff writer at Muscle Shoals Sound in Sheffield, Alabama, a small country town which once had the wonderful distinction of being "the hit recording capital of the world". Ironically, Phillip's songwriting success had an adverse effect on his recording career which had to take a back seat for a while.

This was unfortunate because, as all soul fans know, Phillip Mitchell is a gifted singer with a soulful voice and a distinctive style.

Phillip didn't start to concentrate seriously on his own recording career until the late 1970s, having only released half a dozen 45s prior to that, so he wasn't considered to be a very prolific artist. Yet he had in fact recorded many tracks during that period, mostly to demonstrate his songs to other artists, producers and A&R executives. Far from being basic songwriter 'demos', many of the tracks were finished masters and most featured the world-famous Muscle Shoals Sound rhythm section which consisted of Jimmy Johnson on guitar, Barry Beckett on keyboards, Roger Hawkins on drums and David Hood on bass.

On other tracks Phillip was supported by his own group of musicians - from Louisville, Kentucky - which featured guitarist Billy Clements (known to Phillip as 'Clem The Magnificent') who also wrote many songs with him. When Grapevine's Garry J. Cape found these 'lost' masters in the studio vaults, he instantly knew that he'd discovered buried treasure.

In February 2004 Grapevine issued a Phillip Mitchell album called Just The Beginning (GVCD 3012) which featured twenty of those previously unheard masters, a mixture of hitherto unknown songs and well-known numbers including 'Be Strong Enough To Hold On', 'Here I Am Again', 'Trippin' On Your Love' and 'Home Is Where The Heart Is'. So strong was the acclaim and the demand for more that Cape returned to Muscle Shoals to select material for this second volume, Pick Hit Of The Week.

This set consists of another twenty tracks recorded between 1969 and the mid '70s. Most tracks were cut at Muscle Shoals Sound and additional sessions took place at other Sheffield studios such as Widget or Quinvy, now known as Broadway Sound. On those sessions the key musicians were Clayton Ivey, Pete Green, Wayne Perkins and Jimmy Evans. Once again, several of these songs are already well known from the 'covers' made by other artists, so it's fascinating to hear Phillip's original versions of the soul favourites 'I May Not Be What You Want' and 'I Don't Do This (To Every Girl I Meet)'.

Despite the fact that it was only available as an album track, the Sidney Joe Qualls version of 'I Don't Do This' became an 'underground' soul classic. A particularly interesting find was the original master to 'Free For All (Winner Takes All)', the eternal soul favourite which was issued by Shout Records in 1969. The version featured here is a slightly different mix with extra percussion.

Sadly, we couldn't find Phillip's version of 'Starting All Over Again', the haunting ballad which became a giant hit for Mel & Tim on Stax Records in 1972. In fact it may be that Phillip didn't ever record the song himself as it was written in his car en route to the studio. He'd had a call asking if he had a song for Sam & Dave so he said "yes" and then created the song in his head as he drove. Apparently he thought Sam and Dave were about to start all over again, hence the title.

We are, however, delighted to include Phillip's original version of 'It Hurts So Good'. Of all his compositions, this one has proved to be a particularly adaptable song with successful versions recorded in soul, reggae and pop styles. On some of the 'new' songs it's interesting to guess which may have been written for a particular artist, a Millie Jackson or a Bobby Womack for example. It's known that Phillip often created songs for specific artists and he recorded some numbers several times to demonstrate different arrangements - an example being the deep ballad 'Losing You (Has Taught Me A Lesson)' which is also featured here as an uptempo version titled 'Losing You'.

This album further demonstrates that Phillip Mitchell is a true master of his craft. Both as a songwriter and as an artist, he has made an immense contribution to soul music.

Paul Mooney

The story...... It started with a phone call..a friend had given me his number..I did an interview.. it appeared in the top UK Soul magazine.. In The Basement... a year later he came to Europe.. was a massive success.. then he was contacted about tracks from the vaults... from an acorn may an oak tree grow!!

Right Where I Belong
One On One
2004 (May Release)

1. I Don't Mind At All
2. (We Gotta) Put Out The Fire
3. Careless
4. No Longer For Me
5. Right Where I Belong
6. Give As Good As You Get
7. Sometimes Love's Not Enough
8. I Don't Know If I Can Make It Through
9. Change
10. Crying To Do
11. I Understand
12. Down For The Count
13. Ain't It Funny
14. I Feel It

Produced, arranged and mixed by Curt Obeda at Haute Studio, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA,
December 2003 and January 2004
Executive Producer Colin Dilnot
Mastered by Greg Reierson at Rare Form Mastering
Willie Walker Vocals
John Lindberg Bass
Virgil Nelson Hammond Organ
Curtis Obeda Guitar
Robb Stupka Drums
Aisha Baker Vocals
Deb Brown Vocals
Jim Greenwell Tenor Saxophone
Michael B. Nelson Trombone
Brad Shermock Trumpet

The Story Behind the CD.... During July 2002, I sat intrigued watching a discussion develop over on the Southern Soul Internet community about what might have happened to the Goldwax/Checker artist Willie Walker? One evening while I worked at my PC a mail arrived from a group member to say that he had discovered a web site dedicated to a band called the Butanes and we could find information about Willie and his work with the band.Within a short space of time I was in touch with Curt Obeda, the leader of the Butanes and we quickly built up a rapport, which has brought about this new album. I helped fill in the details of Willie's recordings for Curt and he filled in the gaps of what had happened to Willie since he last recorded for Checker in the late 60's. Curt arranged an interview for me with Willie,which later appeared in the in Issue 29 of the UK soul music magazine In The Basement in February 2003. I remained in touch with Curt and Willie after the interview and helped themwith the distribution of a CD Willie had recorded of cover songs. I was impressed that Willie still had his ultra soulful voice and hoped that one day he would return to the studio to record an album of original songs. I discussed this possibility with Curt and he eventually sent me a series of demo songs, which cried out for Willie's vocals. We met up in Memphis in April 2003 while I was there to for the opening celebrations for the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Curt was passing through the city en-route back to Minnesota following the funeral of his good friend Earl King, the New Orleans guitarist and singer, who he had known and worked for over 13 years. This meeting cemented our friendship and we decided to work together on a new album.Originally, the idea was for Keeping Soul Alive to find a label to record the album. We shopped the demos around but without an acceptable offer we decided to set up our own label called One On One Records. Over the last year, Curt and I have worked together from the rough demos through Willie's scratch vocals to the recordings in Minneapolis which began as the first snow fell in the winter of 2003 to produce an album which would compliment Willie's soul drenched vocals. The concept of this album was to prove that you could still record a classic southern soul styled album with real instruments, which had a live feel and that the musicians would provide a backdrop for the singer to perform. What you will find in this album is a synthesis of a singer whose contemporaries were James Carr, Spencer Wiggins and OV Wright, an American band of 30 to 60 something's who can play in a real soul style and a UK based company who wanted to keep soul music alive.

Colin Dilnot Executive Producer One On One Records New Brighton April 2004
Curt and Willie Walker
I had seen Willie around Minneapolis since I began gigging in the late 70's.While we were drinking beer and bourbon and playing to Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters and BB King, Willie was drinking brandy and singing Sam Cooke. When I first asked about him I was told "that's Willie Walker... he's a great ballad singer". After a couple of years on the local scene our band began adding a few Little Willie John and Tyrone Davis songs even though no one could sing them well. I moved to Chicago in 1982 and got much deeper into soul music after seeing Otis Clay, Lee "Shot" Williams and L.V Johnson. When I returned I occasionally saw Willie around the local clubs. We were friendly but not friends. In July of '87 the Butanes trio was hired to play behind John Lee Hooker. Unbeknownst to us Willie was hired to sing the opening 45 minute set with us. As we were leaving the dressing room the promoter asked us what we had decided to play with Willie. We told him John Lee wasn't coming up until after our set. "No, with Willie Walker," he asked again. That was the first we knew that Willie was on the show. We replied that it was a surprise and he would have to wait. We walked to the stage and there was Willie looking good in a suit. Since we hadn't prepared any of Willie's material we asked what he would like us to call him up on and settled on "Can I Change My Mind". Being only a trio we didn't really have the full sound of the original recording but Willie was singing great and we were having fun. Willie next called a blues in A, which turned out to be Sam Cooke's version of "Little Red Rooster". After huddling a while we came up with "Turn On Your Lovelight" to end Willie's part of the show. He sang well, the band was happy and the crowd response was very strong. We said we should all do this again soon and turned our attention back to John Lee Hooker. A short time later a 6-piece version of the Butanes was backing Little Johnny Taylor. Willie was in the house and I asked him if he would like to sing a few to open the last set. He agreed and somehow LJT decided he should sing with Willie, or "cut" the local guy, or who knows exactly what... it did not work out well for Mr. Taylor. After a few songs Johnny retreated to the dressing room to be called up once it was "star time". Willie sang great again and after we were done for the night we said goodbye to Willie and said we should all do this again soon. Around this time we were working a few shows with soon-to-be Butanes Soul Revue vocalist Maurice Jacox, but he often had conflicts with our dates. We phoned Willie to see if he had any interest in filling in for Maurice and/or performing a set that turned into the very first Butanes Soul Revue gig. We set up a few rehearsals but things never got off the ground with Willie. After a year we called Willie to sing on our anniversary show and he attended and sang well but nothing came of it.A few years later Maurice informed us he would be unable to make any of our upcoming dates as he had been cast in an opera. Singer Percy Strothers had been regularly coming our shows so we spoke to him about filling in for Maurice. I had worked with Percy both before and after I lived in Chicago and knew Percy to be unfortunately quite prone to blowing out his voice. Knowing we would need more help, we also phoned Willie.

All rehearsals went great this time, Willie and Percy would split the nights' vocals and we could handle all the dates currently on our calendar plus more as this routine sounded good! Shortly Maurice informed us the opera was off and he could make all the gigs. The club owners preferred to have Maurice do the shows if he was available as he was the singer the fans would expect. So that we didn't waste all our work we performed a show as the Butanes Soul Clan with Percy, Willie and Maurice each doing a set. Willie missed the next Soul Clan show a few weeks later and we never scheduled another one. Once again the chance for Willie and the Butanes to work together slipped away. In 1993, disenchanted with the "local scene", the Butanes mostly disbanded the Soul Revue and became the backing band for many great artists. A show with James Carr seen by the promoter of the St. Louis Blues Heritage Festival led to us being booked as the "house band" in 1996. The next year the promoter asked me about obscure performers deserving a set on the fest and I answered Willie Walker. He was very intrigued, knowing much more about Willie's background than I did. Willie not only appeared on the fest with us but his photo with bass player John Lindberg on stage dominated page 2B in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch where the festival review was placed. Nothing came of this either... We spent a few years sporadically trying to track down Willie as his number had changed since the St. Louis show. I finally reached him through Arnellia's, a St. Paul club that features the likes of Bobby Rush, Clarence Carter and Denise LaSalle. Willie called, we spoke for a while, and I told Willie that I occasionally had some interesting things pop up so he should keep in touch. A few weeks later I tried to reach him but his number was once again disconnected with no further information available. I started the process over but had no luck acquiring his number.In 2001 a friend of mine who booked a local club tried to convince me to play a few dates but I wasn't very interested - until I thought of Willie. I played a few cuts over the phone of Willie singing with the Butanes and he was very impressed. We started looking harder for Willie but had no luck finding him. I came home one night to a message on my answering machine from Willie- but it was not intended for me!

Willie had misdialed when calling local studio owner/guitarist known as Johnny O and instead dialed Obeda, Curt. The message was long but didn't end with a phone number. I realized that Willie was the last person to call my number so I &star 69ed him". Willie picked up the phone and we discussed my friend's offer. Thank goodness I listen to Clarence Carter or I wouldn't have known about that telephone feature! We've been performing together as often as possible ever since.

Curtis Obeda - The Butanes