b October 27, 1909 - Shelby, MS d September 24,
2006 - Grafton, WI
Grammy Award 2008 Best Traditional Blues Album
was born in Shelby, MS a few miles West of Clarksdale, however after a
short time, the family left Mississippi and moved to
Cairo, IL. in 1918,
Henry had trouble at home with his father and hopped a
train to St Louis, MO.
In St Louis, Henry worked at several odd jobs,
including cleaning and shinning shoes.
Henry took up the guitar in 1924
and had a natural ability for music, playing with
all the great players in the
St Louis area. Blues was a popular form in the late
1920's and 1930's and
included the likes of Walter Davis, Robert Jr Lockwood,
James Crutchfield, Lonnie Johnson,
Roosevelt Sykes, Henry Spaulding, Robert
Nighthawk, Henry Brown, Big Joe Williams, and Sonny Boy Williamson.
In 1929, Henry signed with Columbia Records and later with Paramount
During the 1930's, Henry recorded with Bluebird and then became a
for many years. Henry was one of the last of the
"country" bluesman and in later
years recorded with Adelphi,
Nighthawk, Wolf, and Swingmaster Records.
Henry published more than 320
songs during his career and was the last living
recording artist for Paramount
Records. In addition to the guitar, Henry
proficient on keyboards, and also wrote many songs. He was the first
to receive the National Heritage Award from the National Endowment
the Arts. Henry was also inducted into the St Louis Walk of Fame in 1995.
Back to "Henry Townsend"
on Musician Directory Page
Copyright © 1998-2018 MojoRat LLC. All rights reserved.