Wow! That was my first reaction to this one. Gross, as some of you may remember was noted for one hit back in the ’70s. That song – “Shannon” – was not exactly a barnburner, and apparently was about the death of his dog. I also remember Henry because it seemed like he opened every concert I went to in the Midwest in the middle part of that decade. Didn’t matter who the headliners were, there was Henry opening.
So when I first listened to this CD and heard some great pop/rock (in fact, some of the best pop/rock I’ve heard in a while) I was pleasantly surprised. Influences aren’t hard to spot. He obviously has an affinity for the Beatles and George Harrison’s guitar sound. From the opener, “I’m Not Myself,” with its crunchy rhythms and jangly 12-string fills, to the George-esque slide of “I’ve Got Love For You,” he wears that influence on his sleeve. Other cuts bring to mind the late, great Harry Nilsson. The pop heaven of “Fixing Your Broken Heart” certainly would bring a smile to Harry.
Before you think this is just a guy sounding like his heroes, let me just say he brings a great feel and sound all his own to all the cuts here. And talk about hooks! In a just radio age, “Rosie’s Garden” would be an instant hit. And the wah-ed opening and killer vocals and hook of “Mama, Who’s Gonna Rock You” are the makings of instant classic rock.
Henry now makes his home in Nashville, and there are some definite nods to the capital of country music. “Lucky Me” is a great country tune with one of the best first lines you’ll ever hear, “Waitress asks me if I’m famous, I say no…but I’m hungry.” And the harmonized guitar parts and nice writing of “Since I’ve Been Loving You” has country written all over it.
Plain and simple, this is one of my favorite albums of any genre this year. Hopefully it will find a nice audience. Oh, by the way, the picture on the back of the CD has Henry surrounded by his guitars and amps. It’s quite a scene. Zelda Records, PO Box 150163, Nashville, TN 37215.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s July ’01 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.