b October 27, 1909 - Shelby, MS d September 24, 2006 - Grafton, WI
Grammy Award 2008 Best Traditional Blues Album
Henry 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 Records. During the 1930's, Henry recorded with Bluebird and then became a sessions player 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 was proficient on keyboards, and also wrote many songs. He was the first Missourian to receive the National Heritage Award from the National Endowment of the Arts. Henry was also inducted into the St Louis Walk of Fame in 1995.