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Rock Masters: Clarence "Frogman" Henry

Clarence "Frogman" Henry

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Album Review

Scoring an unexpected novelty hit with the title track in 1956, Henry disappeared from the charts for four years before roaring back with two smashes in the early '60s, "(I Don't Know Why) But I Do" and "You Always Hurt the One You Love." Actually, Clarence recorded a fair number of singles for Chess' Argo subsidiary between 1956 and 1964 in the relaxed New Orleans R&B styles of his big hits. Ain't Got No Home includes 18 of these sides, most of which were previously unavailable on U.S. album. Henry developed slightly over the course of his career, adding beefier horn sections that occasionally reached back to the spirit of Dixieland. Crescent City legends like saxophonist Lee Allen and pianists Allen Toussaint and Paul Gayton crop up on these sessions; when Henry traveled to Memphis for a session, he was backed by the all-star band of Bill Justis (guitar), Boots Randolph (sax), and Floyd Cramer (piano). A bit more eccentric and unpredictable than Fats Domino, not as contemporary or inventive as, say, Lee Dorsey, Henry's vocals were consistently warm and humorous, his recordings always polished. That said, the hits remain the standouts on this collection. The rest is pleasant and fun, but don't vary much from the prototype or cause exceptional interest. A couple tracks worth noting are "I Love You, Yes I Do," an R&B ballad subsequently covered by several acts during the '60s, and the 1964 single "Long Lost and Worried," written by a young Dr. John. The informative booklet includes a neat photo of Clarence with the Beatles, ironic considering that the British Invasion made types like Clarence an anachronism.

Biography

Born: 19 March 1937 in Algiers, LA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s

He could sing like a girl, and he could sing like a frog. That latter trademark croak, utilized to the max on his 1956 debut smash "Ain't Got No Home," earned good-natured Clarence Henry his nickname and jump-started a rewarding...
Full bio
Rock Masters: Clarence "Frogman" Henry, Clarence "Frogman" Henry
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  • Partial Album
  • Genres: R&B/Soul, Music, Rock
  • Released: 1994

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