"Take Me To The River" is a 1974 song from the legendary Al Green and guitarist "Teenie" Hodges. And though it wasn't a big hit at the time, this song's mix of religion and desire has become part of pop music's canon with versions done most famously by Talking Heads, Bryan Ferry, Foghat and Levon Helm.
Here at the Tiny Desk, some of the original players of this deep southern soul have come together to honor and update this tradition. It's a celebration of Memphis soul old and new, with 13 musicians wedged behind the desk.
Some of those players of the old include singers Bobby Rush and William Bell; on the Hammond organ, Rev. Charles Hodges and LeRoy Hodges on bass. But it's what's new that makes this more than a look back – the addition of southern rappers Frayser Boy and Al Kapone – that truly puts this project on new musical ground.
Variations of this group and subsequent tours got a jump start with a 2014 documentary film called Take Me To The River, directed by Martin Shore, which focused on the legacy of southern soul. In fact, you'll see Martin in the background playing percussion here at the Tiny Desk! It's a joyful, triumphant gathering not to be missed. The band heads back on tour January 23.
"Push and Pull"
"I Forget To Be Your Lover"
- "Take Me to the River"
William Bell (vocals), Bobby Rush (vocals), Frayser Boy (rapper), Al Kapone (rapper), Rev. Charles Hodges (organ), LeRoy Hodges (bass), Edward Cleveland (drums), Andrew Saino (guitar), Ashton Riker (vocals), Evvie McKinney (vocals), Jamel Mitchell (sax), Scott Thompson (trumpet), Martin Shore (percussion)
Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Alyse Young, Bronson Arcuri, Niki Walker; Production Assistant: Salvatore Maicki; Photo: Jenna Sterner/NPR
For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast.