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Musical musings

By Staff
Renowned musicians reunite with teacher
Melissa Cason
A former high school teacher reunited with two former students Tuesday at the Russellville Civitan Club meeting.
Club member Cecil Langcuster invited two former students as special guest speakers for the meeting. Jimmy Johnson and David Hood from the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section talked to the group what it was like to record with legendary artists such as Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon and The Rolling Stones.
"I'll never forget the first time I met Mick Jagger," Johnson remembers.
Johnson was working with the group on one of their records when there was a problem with the speaker. Jagger started yelling and Johnson yelled back.
"I didn't know who he was and I didn't know I shouldn't be yelling at him," Johnson recalled. "I got up in his face and yelled at him about the speaker, and we've been friends ever since."
During the meeting, the pair talked about what it was like to record with these artists.
"We were known as rhythm section," Johnson said. "We learned how to play this music in a band. It totally made it easy to get these records."
Hood and Johnson said a lot of people thought they were black because of the music they played.
"It was the biggest compliment we could get," Johnson said.
Hood said Mavis Staple with the Staple Singers sang, "come on little David" in one of her songs. Hood played bass in the selection.
Johnson said he and Hood are the only two in the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section who are still involved with the industry. Hood still plays but Johnson has become more involved with the production of the music.
But, of all the things, the pair shared with the group, they acknowledged the influence Langcuster had on them as boys.
"To this man [pointing to Langcuster] right here," Johnson said. "I can't tell you what he meant to us."
Langcuster taught them both while he worked as a teacher and coach at Sheffield High School.