Pick Hit Of The Week
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", Read More
- 1. Pick Hit Of The Week
- 2. Losing You (Has Taught Me A Lesson)
- 3. Free For All
- 4. Look At Me Laughing
- 5. It Be's That Way Sometimes
- 6. First Lady Of The Universe
- 7. I'm So Glad
- 8. I May Not Be What You Want
- 9. Once You Love Someone
- 10. I Wish It Was A Lie
- 11. Sad Sad Melody
- 12. I Don't Do This (To Every Girl I Meet)
- 13. Me Myself And I
- 14. Ready If I Don't Get To Go
- 15. I Understand
- 16. What We Gonna Do Now
- 17. I'd Still Be There
- 18. The More I Get, The More I Want
- 19. It Hurts So Good
- 20. Losing You
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 & 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.