Henry T. Music Man by Henry Townsend (and Backwards Sam Firk with Henry Brown & Vernell Townsend)

Label: Adelphi Records.
Release Date: December, 1975.
Recording Time: 38 minutes.
Recording Date: 1969 - 1974.
Recording Info: September, 1969 at St. Louis, MO - 2, 3; August, 1970 at Potomac, MD - 1, 4; August, 1971 at Potomac, MD - 7, 9, 10; August, 1971 at Adelphi Studios, Silver Spring, MD - 5; April, 1974 at St. Louis, MO - 6, 8, 11.

Styles: Acoustic Memphis Blues, Country Blues, Piano Blues, Pre-War Country Blues, Regional Blues, Acoustic Blues, Folk-Blues, St. Louis Blues.

Personnel: Henry Townsend - vocal and guitar (1,3,4,5,6,7,9,10,11), vocal and piano (2,8); Mike Stewart - guitar (1,2,3,4,7,8,9,10,11); Henry Brown - piano (6); Vernell Townsend - vocal (5).

Several related factors come together here to make this a particularly wonderful blues album, something in the nature of a sleeper that may become a listener's favorite choice when it comes time for some blues. For one thing, there's the surprise factor in that this is not one of the "star" names in blues, due to the fact that Henry Townsend mostly recorded as a sideman, or under a bogus name such as St. Louis Jimmy. His is a top-quality blues voice and he is a sharp and accurate blues picker on both the electric and acoustic model, in the Lightnin' Hopkins and Skip James mode but with a harder edge. And he even throws in some decent blues piano, although the out-of-tune model he uses moves the whole thing into the rarified realm of microtonal blues. Over-familiarity can sometimes take the luster off a performance by a big-name artist, but that is guaranteed not to happen with Townsend because very few blues fans can say they have heard too much of him. Material was recorded over a five-year period, and the wandering and ever-changing sound quality also helps the album, as do the different instrumental combinations. The tandem guitar picking really sounds good, with that wooden back-porch quality that escaped most of the primitive recording machines in the old days, and couldn't possibly be recreated in a modern studio. One track worthy of special mention -- they are all really good -- is the vocal duet performance with Vernell Townsend, a song entitled "Why Do We Love Each Other?" This has a sound that really sticks with you. - Review by Eugene Chadbourne.

Credits: Henry Brown - piano; Pete Gutterman - liner art; G. L. Moore - album design; G. Rosental - producer; Joel Slotnikoff - cover photo; Mike Stewart - guitar, producer; Henry Townsend - composer, guitar, piano, primary artist, vocals; Vernell Townsend - cover concept, vocals.

Tracks: 1) Biddle Street Blues; 2) She Walked Away; 3) Every Day of My Life; 4) Sloppy Drunk Again; 5) Why Do We Love Each Other; 6) Deep Morgan Stomp; 7) Buzz, Buzz, Buzz; 8) Heart Trouble; 9) Doing Better in Life; 10) Do You Remember Me?; 11) Now or Never! | CD Bonus Tracks: Cairo Blues; Tired Of Being Mistreated.