Red Henry: Helton Creek Seven years after his first mandolin CD, here's Red's new project. Mostly recorded in
Nashville and featuring a cast of excellent pickers, Helton Creek includes original and traditional
bluegrass numbers, great but little-known fiddle tunes, songs and tunes by Bill Monroe and Frank
Wakefield, and one of Red's great stories. Includes: Helton Creek, Toy Heart, Flood of '57, Shawnee
Land, Yellow Barber, Lucky Charms Waltz, Bitter Creek, High on a Mountain, and many more.
If you'd like the physical CD use the "Buy CD" button to the left. If you'd like to download individual tracks, or the entire album, please visit CD Baby or iTunes.
Watch a live performance of Red and Chris playing the title tune here. (Link goes to YouTube.)
Click here for the complete liner notes.
Listen to the title track here.
Read the California Bluegrass Association's review of Helton Creek here.
Read the UK correspondent Richard F. Thompson's review from the Bluegrass Blog here.
Bluegrass Unlimited, September, 2007: Red Henry is an admitted disciple of the Monroe sound. He cites Jethro Burns and Frank Wakefield as influences as well, but it is Monroe that dominates on this release of twenty cuts (some from as far back as 1981) from Red’s musical career. With a clean biting mandolin style and some blazing guitar work from his son Chris, Red and Chris mirror the Monroe Brothers style on several cuts (including “Toy Heart,” “Stay Out of Your Way,” “Chisholm Canal,” and “Remember You Love In My Dreams”) with mandolin and guitar accompanying the duo’s vocals, at times at the breakneck speeds that were popular in the ‘30s and ‘40s. (Back then, tunes often were played at these speeds regardless of whether the band could keep up. Here, Henry and son miss nary a note.)
Then there is a full-band sound on the title cut “Helton Creek,” “Squirrel Hunters,” Henry’s “Hundred and Six Star Rag,” Frank Wakefield’s “Alone and Forgotten,” and many others. This fuller sound typically includes Red Henry’s spouse Murphy Henry and/or his uncle John Hedgecoth (former banjoist for, of course, Bill Monroe) on banjo, and daughter Casey Henry on bass and banjo. One of the nicest among these is the Stanleys’ “Flood of ‘57” with Red and Murphy on vocals all the way through. Mark and Sally Wingate provide fiddle and banjo on several fine, not generally well-known, fiddle tunes, including “Yellow Barber” and “Birdie.” Also quite effective are the Monroe instrumentals, “Lockwood” with some very pleasing instrumental work all around (especially Chris’s guitar break) and a rousing “Rawhide” with mandolin work by both Red and Chris and a great up-the-neck banjo break by Murphy.
This CD may not break any new ground (though it does feature a number of lesser well-known tunes that may be of interest to those seeking same) but there is lots of variety of presentation here, some very impressive performances instrumentally, and very good vocal harmony. For those who appreciate the early sounds which led to bluegrass and the traditional sound that resulted, this CD should offer a number of very enjoyable moments. AW (Bluegrass Unlimited, September, 2007)