Saturday, June 21, 2014

Hi Rhythm

Artist: Hi Rhythm
LP: On the Loose
Song: "Superstar"
[ listen ]

After leaving Huntsville on Wednesday afternoon, I headed south toward the little Alabama town of Arab, where there's a record store Ashley and Andy at Vertical House Records had told me about. Arab is a cute little place with a funny name that provides some humorous signage that makes it seem like the town segregates Middle Easterners, who have to use separate recreational facilities from everyone else. 

The Arab record store, called The Spinning Groove, would have been more aptly named The Scratchy Groove. Quite a few of the records I was excited to find there were so scratched up or moldy that I ended up putting them back in the bins for someone else to buy. Also, a water leak in the ceiling above the R-Z portion of the Soul/R&B section had pretty much completely ruined all those records. I tried to browse through them anyway, but the record covers were all moldy and stuck together and when I tried to pull them apart they would rip. Still, I found a few neat records starting with A-Q, including this 1976 LP by Hi Rhythm, also known as the Hi Rhythm Section at Hi Records in Memphis. 

Willie Mitchell, who ran the label in the 1970s, employed the Hi Rhythm Section for backing on releases by Al Green, Ann Peebles and others who recorded on the label. Hi Rhythm was comprised of three Hodges brothers—Charles, Leroy, and Mabon—along with Howard Grimes on drums and Mitchell's stepson, Archie Turner, on keyboards. Though Charles Hodges went on to become an ordained minister, the group does still get together from time to time. In fact, Archie Turner and Howard Grimes stopped by The End of All Music in Oxford, Mississippi two months agojust a few weeks after I was there on April 7th! They were in Oxford with their new group, The Bo-Keys, who are also going to be playing in Portland, Oregon on July 4th! You can read more about Hi Rhythm on Wikipedia here and go here to read about Hi Records. Individual photos of the Hi Rhythm guys from the back of their LP are included below, but I'm not sure who's who, aside from Howard Grimes. If anyone out there can clear this up, it would be appreciated.

PS. I was bummed to hear just now on NPR that Mabon "Teenie" Hodges passed away in Dallas, Texas this past Sunday, the day after I posted this LP. RIP Teenie Hodges, and condolences to all those who knew and loved him.

[ Hi Rhythm, relatively recently ]
L to R:
Leroy Hodges, Mabon "Teenie" Hodges, Archie Turner, Charles Hodges, Howard Grimes 
w/ Willie Mitchell (seated)

[ The Spinning Groove — Arab, Alabama ]

No comments: