Friday, January 15, 2010

RIP Teddy Pendergrass and Willie Mitchell

Soul music farewells two giants this week, supreme vocalist Teddy Pendergrass and producer Willie Mitchell.

Pendergrass, who died aged 59 following surgery for colon cancer, was one of the all-time great seductive soul singers of the 70s. Perhaps only Al Green and Marvin Gaye bettered him in the ability to sing women's panties off. He first became known as the lead singer for Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes, with whom he had numerous hits, including If You Don't Know Me By Now. Strangely, he joined the group as their drummer, yet was soon pushed out front when they discovered his warm, gruff baritone. He later embarked on a solo career, having numerous chart hits such as Love TKO and Close the Door. But his success was curtailed by a car accident in 1982 that left him paralyzed from the waist down; he still managed to record after that, but his career never really recovered.

Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes - Wake Up Everybody


Teddy Pendergrass - Come Go With Me


Willie Mitchell, who died at age 81 from cardiac arrest, was the studio mastermind behind the Memphis soul sound of the late 60s and 70s. Starting out as a trumpeter, Mitchell's production work at Hi Records was notable for its smooth organs, powerful horn sections and driving beats. He was best known for his long and fruitful partnership with Al Green, but his work with Ann Peebles and Syl Johnson also yielded some incredible high points.

Syl Johnson - Could I Be Falling In Love


Al Green - Tired of Being Alone

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