No one can deny Willie Mitchell's skills as an arranger, producer, and trumpeter, especially when it came to the albums of Ann Peebles and Al Green. But there are many who take issue with the albums he issued under his own name, particularly those that are instrumental. This two-fer collection of two of Mitchell's records from 1969 and 1970, respectively, showcase a whole different side of the man, or at least a side that would make an appearance only occasionally. Soul Bag is a set of groovers that began to break away from Poppa Willie's formula of the era: carefully played instrumental versions of the hits of the day with a little more grease but no more grit than was necessary -- the new versions were supposed to sound very close to the old ones. On Soul Bag, fans got the grease and grit on covers of "Everyday People," "Knock on Wood," "I'm a Midnight Mover," and "Hawaii Five-0," to name a few. On The Many Moods of Willie Mitchell, issued in 1970, the funk was even more present and the Memphis Horns were laying down lines that were more in a J.B.'s groove than Stax's. With the same band -- Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn, and others -- Mitchell tracks such as "Sometimes I Wonder," "Too Sweet," "White Silver Sands," and "Something Nice" eased the tempos while deepening the groove. As a result, there aren't two more satisfying Willie Mitchell discs anywhere. This two-fer is actually a solid argument for being the only two Willie Mitchell records you need to own.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek