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Tuesday, 21 December 2021

R.I.P. Paul Mitchell (The Floaters)


Yet more sad news as it is being reported that Paul Mitchell of The 70s group The Floaters has died yesterday (20 Dec 2021). He was the brother of James Mitchell of The Detroit Emeralds, who has rekindled the group and they have just released a new single "Face 2 Face" only a few weeks ago.
The Floaters were a group from Detroit founded by Annie Mitchell (James and Paul's mother) and Larry Cunningham. James Mitchell was their producer and agent. The group's line-up was Paul Mitchell (James' brother), Larry Cunningham, Charles Clark and Ralph Mitchell (not related to the other Mitchells). Jonathan 'Mighty Midget' Murray joined them in 1978 (included in photo below).
Paul Mitchell is on left
Most will know their worldwide smash hit in 1977 "Float Onwritten by James Mitchell, Marvin Willis and Arnold Ingram which was originally intended to be the debut album title. They had two further R&B chart entries with the follow up, an 'over-egged' cover of Dusty Springfield's biggest hit "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me", and just missed the Hot 100 with "I Just Want To Be With You" (#104) in 1978. However, they recorded four albums between 1977-81, the last one as Floaters and Shu-Ga in 1981.

One of their best singles was the next one consisting of two very nice ballads "The Time Is Now" and "Let's Try Love (One More Time)" both featured on their second album "Magic" but it somehow failed to register. Unfortunately for the group, at the time of the album's release, ABC were in the process of being sold to MCA so it probably lacked the sufficient promotion it deserved. The album's title track is another 'epic', 9:49 mins on album and almost 12 mins on 12", and is similar in construct to "Float On", although it did get a 7" edit in UK only. Another recommended cut is "For Your Love" which came out twice on Fee.

Larry Cunningham and Ralph Mitchell left the group before the last album and were replaced by local female vocalist Shu-Ga. They reunited in 1990 but Charles Clark left to become a gospel singer and Paul Mitchell to produce. An original member who left prior to their 1977 success, Robert Palmer (no not that one - 'Some Guys Have All The Luck'!), re-joined Cunningham and Ralph Mitchell and continued to perform live and recorded an EP "The Way We Were". Founding member Larry Cunningham died on 10 Jan 2019 aged 67 after a long illness.

The EP included a nice version of "Loveland" credited to Charles Wright and Don Trotter (Charles Wright And The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band) in 1969. However, I'm sure I've read in comments on YouTube that in fact legendary drummer, and band member, James Gadson claims that he wrote the song and as a 'protest' recorded his own version under the title "Got To Find My Baby" in 1972. On this recording, writing credits are shared with one Ciola Wills aka Viola Mae Wilkerson aka Viola Wills who was discovered by Barry White and recorded several singles on his Bronco label in the mid 60s, as well as performing backing vocals on many others, before 'going disco' in the 70s. Spanky Wilson recorded her faster version of it on "Let It Be" in 1970 not to be confused with a song of the same title on her previous album "Doin' It" which is a different, but superb, song, also released as a single. Don Trotter And The Eighth Wonder also recorded it in 1969 as a B side on Josie (I'm not able to find a sound file for it so if you would like to share it I will post it on my YouTube channel).

There's no playlist this time as the only tracks available on Spotify are all on the first album and a link is provided below. Links are also provided for most of the singles and album tracks, any help with missing tracks greatly appreciated.

UPDATE Many thanks to Paul Regan and DJ Kool Keith for sending the missing tracks as that now completes their full discography. I'll upload to my YouTube channel and link to them. The only remaining one is the B side to their 1980 single on Fee "Glass House" as the current sound file on YouTube is very lo-fi so if anyone could help with that it would be appreciated.

Also thanks to the Mitchell family and their representatives for graciously assisting in this tribute at this very difficult time and sincere condolences to all family and friends.

Albums

1977 - The Floaters [ABC #AB-1030]

Full Album HERE
Float On (11:49)
You Don't Have To Say You Love Me (4:53)
Got To Find A Way (3:47)
I Bet You Get The One You Love (3:04)
Everything Happens For A Reason (3:58)
Take One Step At A Time (4:05)
No Stronger Love (5:09)
I Am So Glad I Took My Time (5:20)

1978 - Magic [ABC #AA-1047]


Anything Keeps You Satisfied (4:23)

1979 - Float Into The Future [MCA #MCA 3093]


Levitation (4:12)
L.A. Magic (3:32)


The Floaters & Shu-Ga
1981 - Get Ready For The Floaters & Shu-Ga [Fee #WW711]


For Your Love (3:55)
Back Home (4:29)
Make It Hot (10:40)
Get Ready (10:00)
Show Me (5:32)

Singles

Fee

ABC

MCA

Floaters & Shu-Ga
FEE
1980 - *For Your Love / *Glass House [Fee #UR 2080]
1981 - *Get Ready / *For Your Love [Fee #UR 2661]

3 comments:

USMAN47 said...

Decidedly it's a hecatomb at the moment.
Another member of a great 70's band.

Yves

Unknown said...

The Floaters were an AWESOME group. It takes me back to when I was a young lady. R.I.P my friend Paul Mitchell.

Unknown said...

Prayers and condolences to the family and friends.Rest in peace Paul and sing w the angels💝