She Sang California

She Sang California

by Judy HenskeJudy Henske


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At times, this isn't an easy record to listen to, but it is rewarding many times over. "Big Fat Man," the opening track on She Sang California, is bound to elicit smiles from the listener -- and it's not even the funniest track on the album. But from the more obviously humorous moments to the slow blues of "Easy Rider," Judy Henske transforms into a kind of distaff Howlin' Wolf, and then she's a saloon singer doing an irony-laced rendition of Irving Berlin's "Ace in the Hole." Henske walks and sings through several layers of the human psyche, neatly poeticizing and encapsulating the nature of alcohol dependency ("Cocktail Hour") and those who feed off of it ("Lowlife") -- and between them seems to have the makings of a musical version of The Iceman Cometh -- and telling of the relationship with her pet and companion ("Song About My Dog"), which is so beguilingly simple and alluring that it would make a perfect single if they still issued singles and there were any radio stations that might ever play it. And "Tell Old Bill" is a traditional song sung and played (by Henske on banjo and Graham Nash on harmonica) in an earthy, honest way, unaffected and unpretentious, that Henske ought to have been doing when she was with the Whiskeyhill Singers -- if one didn't know the reason, here would be the answer as to what Dave Guard saw and heard when he brought her into the group. The entire album is a sort of Crosby & Nash alumnus reunion, between the presence of Henske's husband, Craig Doerge, at the piano, and Lee Sklar, Russ Kunkel, Norton Buffalo, et al.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/22/2005
Label: Fair Star Music
UPC: 0692324839321
catalogNumber: 8393

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Judy Henske   Primary Artist,Banjo,Ukulele,Vocals
Buddy Blue   Dobro,Guitar,Jew's Harp,Background Vocals
Graham Nash   Harmonica
Norton Buffalo   Harmonica
Bradford Cobb   Background Vocals
Jody Cortez   Drums
Craig Doerge   Organ,Synthesizer,Bass,Guitar,Piano,Electric Guitar,Keyboards,Background Vocals,fender rhodes,Guitar (Tremolo)
Dominic Genova   Bass,Acoustic Bass
Bob Glaub   Bass,Electric Bass
Richie Hayward   Drums
Don Heffington   Drums
Russ Kunkel   Drums
Greg Leisz   Guitar
Rick Marotta   Drums
Jimmy Powers   Harmonica
Fred Tackett   Acoustic Guitar
Dave Stone   Bass
Sam D. Bass   Electric Guitar
Leland Sklar   Bass,Bass Guitar

Technical Credits

Judy Henske   Arranger,Composer,Adaptation
Irving Berlin   Composer
Bradford Cobb   Engineer
Craig Doerge   Composer,Audio Production
Dan Garcia   Engineer
George Mitchell   Composer
Bob Salcedo   Engineer
Jerry Yester   Composer
Dave Marsh   Author
James Dempsey   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Sven Erik Seaholm   Engineer
Patsi Bale Cox   Liner Notes

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5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I search for music that makes me pull over on the side of the road and listen--it's so arresting that I can't drive or talk. This is one. Blues and folk, great songwriting that does not fit neatly into any box--she is such an original. The voice, burled and rich, is huge, whether she is singing a brash, bawdy blues like "Duncan & Brady", or a poignant, catch- in-your-throat family remembrance like "Western Wisconsin." (Judy is originally from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.)It's no wonder Janis, Mama Cass, Cher and Bette Midler took a big page from style and sound of Judy Henske. She is the real deal- & a REAL writer.Listen to "Cocktail World." If that isn't the best saloon song since " Lush Life," I'll drink my hat. Craig Doerge is a great piano player and arranger--he was the keyboardman behind Jackson Browne and Crosby.Stills & Nash. Here he totally serves the song. If it's whorehouse piano that is needed, there it is. He can rock, he can glide, he can swing, he can surrey.What a combo they are.