Hi Rhythm Section
They supplied the groove for the classic Memphis soul sides of Al Green, Ann Peebles, Willie Cobb and Syl Johnson
Listen to Hi Rhythm Section with Al Greene on Take Me to the River
Duke Ellington had his orchestra. Fats Domino had the Cosimo studio band. Otis Redding had Booker T. and the MG's. And Willie Mitchell had the Hi Rhythm Section. Unsung heroes among unsung heroes, their percolating rhythms defined post-Stax Memphis soul while they also lent their talents to backing artists from as far away as Chicago and Detroit who traveled to Royal Recording for reasons that went hand-in-hand: Mitchell's trademark tube-driven sound and the backing band that he'd assembled to shine on such classics as Al Green's "Love and Happiness," Otis Clay's "Tryin' To Live my Life Without You," Ann Peebles' "I Can't Stand The Rain," Syl Johnson's "Dresses Too Short," O.V. Wright's "Eight Men, Four Women" and many, many more. Anchored by Mabon "Teenie" Hodges on guitar and his brothers Leroy and Charles on bass and organ respectively, along with drummer Howard Grimes (and occasionally Booker T's Al Jackson, Jr.), their seamless attention to music detail is as impeccable now as it was then. Whether vamping through instrumental versions of the songs that they helped make famous or backing southern soul man supreme Willie Cobb on his absolutely classic "You Don't Love Me," to witness this combo in action is to see the economy of music being demonstrated before your very eyes. Their most striking hallmark, beyond their undeniable musicianship, is that not a single one of them ever plays an extraneous note. Soul perfection at its finest.