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Boomkat Product Review:
"Hi Records was founded in 1957 by a group of partners that included former Sun rockabilly artist Ray Harris and two other Sun alumni, Bill Cantrell and Quinton Claunch. The company would become identified with hit instrumental records from the likes of Elvis’ former bassist Bill Black’s Combo and saxophonist Ace Cannon. After a period recording and producing for Memphis’ Home Of The Blues label, Willie Mitchell hooked up with Hi Records. Mitchell’s band would back Black and Cannon, and he began turning out a series of soulful singles and albums of his own, starting with 1962’s ‘The Crawl’. Much of the magic of Mitchell’s recordings came from the room at Royal. He noted that the studio - the weird slope of its floor, the way the ceiling opened up - gave its sound a mystical quality. He would say the room was shaped like a horn, with the notes rolling out exquisitely into the air. In their melding of jazz chords and R&B beats, sophisticated strings and melodic brass arrangements, Mitchell and his crew of players changed the sound and feel of the music in the Me Decade, moving it from the dancefloor to the bedroom. Flush with success by 1972, Hi became a hive of activity and a fully fledged soul music hit factory, as artists from the north (Syl Johnson, Otis Clay) decamped to Memphis to record at Royal to hook up with staff songwriters like Don Bryant and Earl Randle. While the golden era of Hi had come to an end by the early 80s, the sense of family, community and creativity that Willie Mitchell imbued into the label would remain a powerful force. Four decades later, the mystical music made on the sloping studio floor of Royal remains as resonant as ever."