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

A key architect of Memphis soul passed away this week. Guitarist and songwriter Mabon "Teenie" Hodges helped create the smooth, sultry sound made famous by singer Al Green.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

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.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.