Thursday, October 31, 2013

Teenie Hodges leading Songwriter & Guitarist

Great music that spreads the globe and consistently originates from familiar origins is a subject that has always fascinated me. Certain areas, particularly in the deep South, have vast numbers of excellent musicians while being the originating point for many songs created. Areas like New Orleans, Muscle Shoals and Memphis has traditionally been a melting pot for musicians and breeding grounds for songwriters to spawn their compositions. One such gifted songwriter is my dear friend Teenie Hodges, as seen above on right. In this posting we focus our attention on his background and also a recent video. Teenie's songs have blazed the Billboard charts for years and he's still going strong. Songs like "Take Me To The River" and "Love and Happiness" he co-wrote with legend Al Green. He also co-wrote the monster hits, "I Take What I Want" and "Here I Am (Come and Take Me)." Artists who have recorded his songs are, The Talking Heads, Al Jarreau, Annie Lennox, Amazing Rhythm Aces, David Sanborn, Levon Helm, Tom Jones, Canned Heat, Foghat, Delbert McClinton, Toots & The Maytals, Living Colour, Mitch Ryder and many more. Plus, he still plays with the same group of musicians that he played with 4 decades ago. Teenie was the guitarist and co-writer of many hits from the Hi Rhythm Section and known for being the house band for many smash soul label songs from Hi Records during the 1960's and 70's. His group is one of the very few bands from that era that has stayed together and maintained all it's original members. The band includes the three Hodges brothers, Rev. Charles Hodges (organ), Leroy Hodges (bass), Mabon "Teenie" Hodges (guitar), together with drummer Howard Grimes and Archie "Hubby" Turner (keyboards).

Hi Rhythm's distinctive, warm, swirling soul sound was a major ingredient in the success of Hi Records through the 1970s. Three members of the Hodges family played guitar, organ and bass for the group; their naturally close-knit, familiar warmth brought a unique, intuitive groove to the group's sound. Hi Rhythm helped define the sounds of the classic Memphis soul music genre. By the mid-1970s, they had appeared on nearly 20 gold and platinum albums and countless chart hits for Al Green, Ann Peebles, Syl Johnson, Otis Clay and others. In 1976 the band recorded a solo record for Hi Records, entitled "On the Loose", which was recently re-released on Fat Possum Records.

Mabon "Teenie" Hodges is unofficially the leader of this band and they are still very active. In 2012 Filmmaker, Susanna Vapnek completed a documentary on Teenie and The Hi Rhythm titled, Mabon "Teenie" Hodges- A Portrait of a Memphis Soul Original. As of late, and due to Teenie's battle with emphysema, Hi Rhythm Section rarely plays outside the Memphis area now. But the band continues to record on sessions for musicians like Boz Scaggs in his brand new album titled, "Memphis" while being the house band at Royal Studio in Memphis. Viewing this video of Teenie and fellow band members from the Hi Rhythm Section is a rare treat for any music fan.

Hi Rhythm - "Black Rock": SXSW 2013 Showcasing Artist from SXSW on Vimeo.