Black History Month: Salute to Larry Dodson of the Bar-Kays

Honoring a Memphis music legend

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Bar-Kays are considered Memphis music royalty, so when former lead singer Larry Dodson announced his retirement in 2017, longtime fans were distraught.

Some folks just aren't made for retirement and you can add 68-year-old Larry Dodson to that list!

How long did that retirement really last?

“Well, almost a year. But, you know, I tell you, and nobody will believe this, when I retired ...I actually, and my wife will tell you and my son will tell you, as well ... Coming back was not on my mind,” Dodson said.

During his time away from the band, he fronted for 47 years.

Dodson wrote two books, provided branding ideas for an upscale whiskey and traveled as a public speaker.

However, the void of being center stage just wasn't being filled.

"That is my paradise, that is where I am most effective ... and I know now ... I'll never do this again. It is just too traumatic," Dodson said.

Going back to the Bar-Kays wasn’t an option.

Dodson and Bar-Kays co-founder James Alexandar found another frontman for the group shortly before Dodson retired

“I left the Bar-Kays in very good hands with Chris. So I didn’t wanna go back and do that ... and disrupt that,” Dodson said.

What he wanted was a solo career. About 4 months ago, he put together a new band and a new show.

How do you keep that kind of secret in Memphis?

"I did, didn't I? I did. I made everybody work under nondisclosure and I just kept my fingers crossed, cause I just did not want it to get out," Dodson said

At least not until he was ready, but that time has come.

“We have dates coming up and we’re working a real, real good tour. It’s called ‘Larry D Return to Burn.’ I got new music coming out. I got some kids here working with me on that and I’m excited. And I’ll never go away again ... never, never, never,” Dodson said.

If it's true that history repeats itself, we're in for much more from the legendary Larry Dodson.

“I still say the best song is inside of me so I’m looking for the next best song. I’m still reaching for the stars at 68 and it’s possible, you know,” Dodson said.

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