Remembrances
3:19 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

'Teenie' Hodges, A Sculptor Of Al Green's Sultry Sound, Passes Away

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 6:10 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. A key architect of Memphis soul died this week. Guitarist and songwriter Mabon "Teenie" Hodges helped create the smooth, sultry R&B sound made famous by singer Al Green.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HERE I AM BABY")

AL GREEN: (Singing) Here I am baby.

BLOCK: NPR's Debbie Elliott has this remembrance.

DEBBIE ELLIOTT, BYLINE: Teenie Hodges grew up playing in his father's blues band as a teenager in the 1950s. By the '60s, he and his brothers were part of the house band for Hi Records, a Memphis R&B label headed by producer Willie Mitchell.

(SOUNDBITE OF HI RHYTHYM SONG, "SOUL SERENADE")

ELLIOTT: The Hi Rhythym band had a string of instruments hits, but things changed after a gig in Texas.

ROBERT GORDON: They ran into a kind of washed up soul singer named Al Green, and Teenie told Willie that this was the singer that they'd been looking for.

ELLIOTT: Robert Gordon is the author of "It Came From Memphis," a book about the city's rich musical heritage.

GORDON: The work at Hi Records kind of shifted the soul music emphasis from the dance floor to the boudoir. And it was Teenie's supple, slinky, silken sound that helped guide it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LOVE AND HAPPINESS")

GREEN: (Singing) Love and happiness. Wait a minute. Something's going wrong. Someone's on the phone. Three o'clock in the morning.

ELLIOTT: Hodges co-wrote songs, including Al Green's "Love And Happiness" and "Take Me To The River." He worked with countless artists from Etta James to Isaac Hayes and, most recently, singer-songwriter Cat Power. Teenie Hodges passed away Sunday in Dallas where he'd been hospitalized with complications from emphysema. He was 68. Debbie Elliott, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LOVE AND HAPPINESS")

GREEN: (Singing) Being in love with someone, yeah. Yeah, oh, baby. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.