Catfish Hodge Biography

Robert Hodge, c.1944, Detroit, Michigan, USA. As a child Hodge heard and appreciated the music of Motown Records but his greatest admiration lay with contemporary blues and R&B. In the late 60s he formed his own group, which he named the Catfish Band and with which he toured outside his home town. In 1973 he settled in Washington, DC, playing at local clubs and gathering a dedicated following for his tough take on R&B, which he performs in a raw and driving manner. He also toured, opening for concerts by artists including Little Feat and Bonnie Raitt.

From the early 80s, Hodge led his Chicken Legs Band, first on tour and then around his Los Angeles base. There, he formed the Bluesbusters, a band that included Little Feat guitarist Paul Barrere, recording for Landslide Records. He remained in California until the end of the 90s when he relocated to rural Virginia. In 1999 he became a founder member of the Hillbilly Funk Allstars, a band that included Vassar Clements (fiddle), Kenny Gradney (bass), Richie Hayward (drums) and Tee Lavitz (keyboard).

Clearly, the blues is a significant and anchoring element of Hodge’s music. His repertoire, most of which he writes himself, includes ‘Blues Got The World’, ‘Louisiana Woman’, ‘Black Cadillac’, ‘Boogie Man Gonna Git Ya’, ‘So Tough’, ‘Record Executive Blues’, ‘Down Over The Border’ and ‘Can I Go Home’. Artists with whom Hodge has worked include blues harpist James Cotton and guitarist Jimmy Thackery, both of whom were guests on 1979’s Eyewitness Blues. Hodge has also directed some of his work at a juvenile audience and his Adventures At Catfish Pond won the NAPA 1996 Golden Award for Best Children’s Music. Many of Hodge’s early albums are long out of print, but he continues to record in the early 00s.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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