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MP3 henry oden - BLUES: Funky Blues

Nu-neo-West Coast Blues, Too funky for blues,too bluesy for funk.

9 MP3 Songs
BLUES: Funky Blues, BLUES: Rhythm & Blues

Henry Oden

Henry Oden grew up in Richmond, California. Born the 8th day of February 1947 to parents who migrated from rural Alabama and Arkansas to work in the Kaiser Shipyards of Richmond, Henry’s father would order him his first guitar from a Montgomery Ward mail order catalogue. Robert Kelton, a neighbor and former Jimmy McCraklin guitarist, would give Henry his first guitar lesson. Within one year of his first lesson, and not yet legally old enough to enter night clubs, Henry would be found at Sunday jam sessions in and around Richmond.

Henry has accompanied a who’s who of blues luminaries in his 40 plus years as blues musician and as such could be defined as a “Uomo Universale” of the blues. Jimmy Reed, Big Mama Thornton, Pee Wee Crayton, High Tide Harris, the King Brothers, L.C. “Good Rocking” Robinson, Buddy Ace, Michael Bloomfield, Bill Withers and Little Joe Blue are but a few of the artist he has backed .

Henry’s musical career began playing in the “gut-buckets” and blues lounges in and about Richmond. These performances would be off set from time to time with occasional revival appearance at local church’s with the Gospel Combs family. It wasn’t long before he ventured into Oakland and San Francisco.

During the 60’s Henry was the bassist with Freddy and the Stone Souls. Lead by Freddy Stewart, Sly Stones Brother, this band would re-configure and back The Delegates, Roger Collins, Little Ronnie and the Chromatics and Fillmore Slim as Sly’s and house band at Little Bo Peep’s in San Francisco. Henry would go on to join Berkeley based, funk-soul band “Loading Zone” and record with the “Zones” lead singer Linda Tillery when the group disbanded. By the end of the 60’s Henry was performing with Tony Bartlett’s show band “Heavens Expressway” in gambling casinos throughout Nevada.

By the 70’s Henry’s attention had turned to song writing and composing. This being the case, he undertook music composition studies with the late Ed Kelly and also enrolled in creative writing courses at Laney College in Oakland, California. Before he could complete his studies, Henry would join the King Brother’s band and tour with Freddy King. Returning home, Henry performed with Snooky Flowers house band at the El Cid night-club on San Francisco’s Broadway strip. It was while on Broadway that Henry met a budding and talented vocalist, Bianca Thornton a.k.a. Lady Bianca. Henry would stop performing publicly to devote the remainder of the decade attending to the development of Lady Bianca.

By the 80’s, Henry’s urge to perform resurfaced. He picked and tuned-up his bass and as if he had never rested, was soon a member of Mark Naftalins’ Blue Monday Party Band. The band would appear at numerous festivals and make several videos including Percy Mayfield “Poet Laureate of the Blues”, “John Lee Hooker/ Charlie Musslewhite”, and “Lowell Fulson/ Percy Mayfield” Blue Monday Party., a recording and video with Clifton Chenier at the San Francisco Blues Festival kept Henry calendar full. Henry would make his first international tour with the San Francisco Blues Festival and have several of his composition recorded on the Encore Label by J.J. Malone and Troyce Keye. Upon returning from Europe Henry would tour with Cool Papa, Chris Cain, John Lee Hooker and Beverly Stovall and provide back-up for John Lee in “Survivors” blues documentary.

In 1984 Henry would host the Blues Celebrity Night at Your Place in Oakland, California. For most of that year local blues luminaries such as Dottie Ivory, “Mississippi” Johnny Waters, Haskell “Cool Papa” Sadler, Curtis Lawson and “Little” Joe Blues would headline this production.

In December of 1985, Henry would be contacted by Joe Louis Walker regarding a band being put together to back Earl King and Johnny Adams. July 1985 found Henry touring Japan, Canada the U.S. and with the Crescent City duo. Between tours, Henry found time to make him-self available to Koncepts Kultural Gallery for its Blues Explosion program. This program sent blues artist into schools throughout Oakland to lecture, demonstrate and teach blues and blues songwriting. Henry volunteered for this duty annually as well as appearing and recording with Walker as his “Rock solid bass player” through 1990 and Walker’s rise to prominence. That year Henry parted company with the Walker organization and moved to Canada. There he recoded with bluegrass artist Doug Cox, preformed as a street musician, taught guitar and bass by day, while writing and producing biographical material on him-self at night.

In late 1991, Henry returned to the Bay Area. Enjoying the challenge of being a street minstrel, Henry joined forces with the legendary “Big Bones” on the streets and subway stations of San Francisco while finishing the recording project started in Canada. In 1992 Walker contacted Henry asking him to rejoin his efforts and assist in his forth coming album. Henry agreed, leading to two of his compositions being featured on that album.

By 1995, Henry parted company with Walker once again. This time he headed to Arkansas as an Artist in Residence for Wildwood Center for Performing Arts Every Person is Creative program. Henry soon found his musical knowledge being sought after as a music teacher and was hired to teach guitar and bass at the South Arkansas Cultural Center. Henry pulled out of Arkansas at the end of the 1996-97 school year. During the remainder of 1997 he toured the United States and Canada with Sonny Rhodes.

In 1999, Henry returned to the classroom, this time as a student, while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Humanities. Even so, Henry continued to stay musically active, as a member of “Blues Beat” the house band at John Lee Hookers Boom Boom Room, recording with Jimmy Dawkins, Pete Sears, and jazz vocalist Betty Joplin, appearing on stage with Jimmy Johnson, Earl Thomas, Ed Thompson, Craig Horton, Sue Mack, Tracey Nelson and touring the United States, Canada and Japan with Maria Muldaur in addition too countless club dates and concerts with Craig Horton.

Henry continues to charm audiences with his unique syncopated interpretation of
West Coast blues and the release of his new self-titled CD

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