The Memphis, Tenn., music great died Sunday evening from complications of emphysema. He had been in the hospital at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Tex. since he came down with pneumonia in March. Lawrence "Boo" Mitchell, grandson of Hodges' late mentor Willie Mitchell and a longtime family friend, confirmed the news to Commercial Appeal.
"It's a huge blow to Memphis music," he says. "Teenie was an icon -- as a songwriter and a guitarist. Guitarists all around the world loved and imitated his playing. But Teenie... man, he was one of a kind."
Willie Mitchell, a Memphis band leader and record producer, took Hodges under his wing as a young man and put him in his house band, the Hi Rhythm Section. The musician performed on several Hi Records label recordings, and became a fixture of the Memphis soul and R&B scene. He wrote or co-wrote several of labelmate Al Green's hit songs, including "Here I Am, "Full of Fire" and "Take Me to the River."
"Teenie created the groove, the pocket, as one would call it," friend and Stax Records great David Porter shares. "That came from the way he played rhythmically. That groove was what made the records for Al Green and so many others such big hits. And that sound, that feel, it totally came from Teenie's spirit. That's what the world should know about this man: his heart is in all those records."
Hodges continued to perform with Hi Rhythm until he took ill this spring. He is survived by his eight children and his nephew, rapper Drake.