29 September 2015


Child prodigy banjo picker Jimmy Henley started dropping jaws before he was a teenager, winning picking contests all over the heartland. Spotted by Roy Clark at one of those competitions, he became a regular on Hee-Haw and in Clark's touring entourage through the '70s and '80s. 1982's Classical Country Bluegrass shows 18 year old Henley alternating between proficient rippers like "Bird's Eye" and "The Kingfisher" and innocent novelty tunes like "I Love My Truck" and "You've Got Me Runnin' Scared" that are made all the more entertaining by a voice that seems like it's not quite finished walking through the puberty tunnel. Perhaps there's a touch too much production on this release (especially on the re-worked medley "Classical Gas"), so for those who want things a little rawer I give you this live recording (or Henley's One For The Record from 1976, likely available at your local thrift store if you live in Oklahoma) but this is the shit that happened to country music in the '80s and fans will be able to listen through the excessive string arrangements. Worth noting that my Salvation Army copy is presented in its naturally degraded state, making "Memories Of Yesterday" a truly warped journey.

1 comment:

kingpossum said...

Pretty punk stuff, this. Interested parties might also want to check out country swing fiddle player Spade Cooley's Shame On You album to get a similar rock'n roll bashing from these non-geetar stringed instruments. Thanks for the post.