Remembering Legendary Memphis Soul Man: Teenie Hodges

Teenie Hodges

March of this year, The Southland Music Line attended an all-star tribute to The Memphis Sound at SXSW Festival in Austin, TX.  This event honoring many Memphis Soul legends was accompanied by the release of the documentary: “Take Me To The River”.

Teenie Hodges Updated PhotoMabon “Teenie” Hodges’ final performance at 2014’s South By Southwest. (Photo by Stephen Anderson)

One by one, we saw some of music’s great musicians perform some of the most acclaimed and popular music that came out of Memphis during the 1970’s. The event featured the famous studio band Hi Rhythm Section, which recorded 27 gold and platinum records in a row with some of the day’s biggest Soul Music artists such as Al Green.

SXSWSouth By Southwest Festival 2014 in Austin, TX (Photo by The Southland Music Line)

The afternoon in Austin’s Butler Park was a complete celebration and bridging together of R&B, Soul and Blues artists from the generation of old to the new. We wrote in great detail about it in the Mar. 2014 article entitled: AUSTIN BOUND: SXSW PART 2 (of 5) – “An All-Star Tribute to Jimi Hendrix”; “Celebrating the Music Legacy of Memphis, TN” (3/26/14)

One such artist to appear was Hi Rhythm Section’s Mabon Lewis Hodges and yet, affectionately known to most as “Teenie” Hodges, which reflected his short height.

Teenie HodgesTeenie Hodges performing on stage next to Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, Booker T. Jones (left). Photo by The Southland Music Line

Teenie, born Nov. 16, 1945 as one 12 siblings, was a part of family of talented musicians, getting his start by joining his father, Leroy Hodges, Sr.’s local blues band.

The Memphis soul sound is heavily indebted to musicians such as Teenie with his bluesy, soulful, funk-driven guitar craftsmanship. Helping to define this unforgettable sound, along with his brothers Charles (organist) and Leroy (bassist) were Howard Grimes (drums) and Archie Turner (piano) that made up the famous rhythm section at Hi Records. *(Also Stax Records legend Al Jackson, Jr. on most singles until his death in 1975).

The famous rhythm section at Hi Records was one of the cornerstone session bands in music history. They performed on practically every record recorded at Hi Records that was produced by legendary Willie Mitchell, which included more than a dozen hits by Al Green.

Teenie Hodges was also also a gifted songwriter, co-writing such hits as “Love and Happiness” (’72), “Here I Am (Come and Take Me) (’73) and the often covered, “Take Me To The River”. A who’s who of famous artists (Talking Heads, Tina Turner, Tom Jones and others) have put their hearts and souls into that song.

Hodge’s superb guitar work has appeared on such recordings as “I Can’t Stand the Rain” by Ann Peebles (’73) and “Trying to Live My Life Without You” by Otis Clay (’72) *a song later record by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. The point here being is Teenie Hodges presence has been felt on many great records.

Though Hi Rhythm played on so many others records, they did eventually do one for themselves with 1976’s “On the Loose”, but with little success due to the changing of times and the then direction of music.

Following the selling of Hi Records in 1978, things continued to change which led to the eventual breakup of the incredible rhythm section Teenie was so much a part. Various music festivals and events did bring about reunitings to the pleasure of fans.

Teenie HodgesThe documentary short, “Mabon ‘Teenie’ Hodges: A Portrait of a Memphis Soul Original”

Only last year, Teenie Hodges was the subject of the documentary short, “Mabon ‘Teenie’ Hodges: A Portrait of a Memphis Soul Original”. The recognition was rightfully bestowed, so it’s one reason we here at “The Line” was so honored to be in the presence of Teenie Hodges and all those incredible Memphis musicians at the SXSW music event in Austin.

What we didn’t know, it would be Mabon Lewis “Teenie” Hodges’ final performance. Shortly after the performance, he would be taken to a Dallas, TX hospital, where he came down with pneumonia after years of fighting illness.

The Tennessee born, Teenie Hodges sadly died on June 22 at the age of 68. He left behind many friends and family, but also a legacy of some great and forever lasting music….so in a huge way he most certainly lives on!

 

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Assisting with editing on this article: Patsy Cheek (Texas Contributor) and Sandra Cole, NBCT, Med

© The Southland Music Line. 2014. All rights reserved

 

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