Jack Mitchell

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Mitchell on his first album cover (1956)

Jacob "Jack" Mitchell Jr. (2 April 1923-17 July 1961) was an Archantan country and western musician popular in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Mitchell was the first successful Sierran musician nationally, and was known for his somber and gruff-toned western ballads. He released six albums and several singles before his death in a car accident in the morning of 17 July 1961 in Morsboro (Natrinia).

Biography

Early life

While record executives and admen painted the picture of a pure "country-born" singer, Mitchell was born in a house in Elvira. His father died in 1940. He worked as a shoe salesman, plumber and mechanic throughout the 1940s, with a brief stint in the F.S. Army in 1948 and 1949. In the 1951 state census his job was listed as "veterinarian's assistant".

Music career

Mitchell first recorded at the now-defunct Mirage Studios in Chapman (Sra.); the singles "You Know I Love You" and "Blame Me" were released in 1952 on the Hoskins label to little success. Moving back to Elvira in 1954, he recorded several singles for the Rambler label, of which "My Blue Lagoon", was released that year and "Born a Loser" and "Elvira" were released in 1955. The rougher and dark country style on "Born a Loser" helped propel that song in the regional charts, eventually reaching the national country charts in August, peaking at number 9.

This was followed up by "Night-Time Rider", which made it to number 1 regionally and number 6 nationally by January 1956. Enough recordings were made in 1956 in order to compile those with previous singles for an album. Titled The Twang of His Lonesome Guitar, it became a successful album, and cemented itself in many "greatest album" charts.

In early 1960 he purchased Riverside Ranch, a 19th century farmhouse and estate and converted it into his house and recording studio.

Legacy

Several albums of unreleased material were released from 1961 to 1963, all selling fairly well.

Mitchell's birth house has been maintained as the Jack Mitchell House museum since 1981. Riverside Ranch has been a museum since 1964, and since 2001 is also a guest house where visitors can book rooms to spend overnight. Weddings, movie scenes and receptions have also taken place on the ranch.

Discography

  • The Twang of his Lonesome Guitar (October 1956)
  • Jack Mitchell Sings (March 1957)
  • The Long-Gone Lonesome Man (November 1957)
  • The Night-Time Rider Sings Again (June 1958)
  • Sings the Songs of Blues (January 1959)
  • From Beyond The Mountains (April 1961)
  • Last Ride of the Nighttime Rider (November 1961)