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High Flying Bird

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Editors’ Notes

High Flying Bird (1964) marks the peak of Judy Henske’s career in folk music. Her gutsy vocal style — suggestive of Dave Van Ronk crossed with Janis Joplin — is reined in just enough here to catch the subtleties of the album’s well-chosen cache of tunes. The breadth of Henske’s reach is little short of amazing — she embraces everything from elegant torch songs (“Till The Real Thing Comes Along”) to evocative blues numbers (“Blues Chase Up A Rabbit”) and full-throttle Western ballads (“Lonely Train”). Her trademark wry humor lends extra spice to the hard-charging “Charlotte Town” and the bawdy “Oh, You Engineer” (co-written by Henske with the legendary Shel Silverstein). If that weren’t enough, she helps pioneer the folk-rock genre with her saucy take on “Duncan & Brady” and her absolutely riveting rendition of the title song. Even at her most brash, there’s a tenderness and open-hearted quality to her treatment of these tunes. Judy’s backup combo — particularly 12-string guitarist John Forsha — spur her on with dagger-sharp playing. High Flying Bird remains a neglected mid-‘60s classic, a testament to Henske’s uniquely prodigious talents.

Customer Reviews

High Flying Bird

More blues than rock, this whiskey tenor brings back the good old days of the blues in the 60s. I can see her now, beer in hand, whaling 'Til the Real Thing Comes Along'. Give it a listen and tell me it ain't the blues. This LP has all her best, High Flying Bird, Buckeye Jim, Baltimore Oriole, Duncan and Brady, God Bless this Child, gosh I could list them all, they are all great! Just don't come here for rock, you'll be disappointed but treated to one of the greatest female blues singers of all time!


Born: December 20, 1942 in Chippewa Falls, WI

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '90s, '00s

Success is a matter of luck as well as talent. Given different circumstances, Henske could have certainly been a much bigger star than she was. Instead she's a hazily remembered figure, known if at all for some recordings that faintly prefigured folk-rock, and tangential associations with more famous performers. Her strong, bold, and versatile delivery would have been well-suited for the folk-rock era; her timing was just a bit off. Before beginning her solo career, Henske worked with ex-Kingston...
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High Flying Bird, Judy Henske
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