Monday, July 26, 2010

Judy Henske is My New Favorite Person

Holy fucking crap.

As I am an obsessive researcher of things, and as I grew up with a very hip mother who totally schooled me on all things related to the 60's and 70's, especially things related to music and Woody Allen, I cannot believe that somehow, I had never heard of Judy Henske before today.

I am absolutely freaking out.
Ok, so I was googling around, trying to figure out which big band singer it was that sang this really amazing version I once heard of "My Melancholy Baby" and I see something in my results that says something about "Judy Henske, Queen of The Beatniks." Huh. How have I never heard of this woman, I wonder- you know, because I did totally go through that phase in 7th grade where I wanted to be a beatnik, and because despite the fact that I grew up and realized that I didn't actually like Jack Kerouac as much as I liked walking around with a copy of "On The Road" and looking cooler and smarter than the jerks at my school... I tend to enjoy a lot of music that was popular amongst the beats at that time, such as Odetta.

SO. I look her up. And holy crap. Holy crap. She is the best ever. Listen!

In addition to having pretty much one of the most kick ass voices I've ever heard, Judy is 6 feet tall, and was the inspiration (partly!) for the Annie Hall. At least in the way that Annie Hall was a singer and from Chippewa Falls. Apparently, Judy opened for Woody on some tour (she also used to open for Lenny Bruce), and they dated, and also one time they spent an entire day trying to move pages of the dictionary with their minds. She was in a movie called "Hootenanny Hoot" with Johnny Cash. She did not want to be a "dulcimer girl" or a "sparkly dress singer" and she wanted drums. She says hilarious things before all of her songs, and she used to stamp her foot so hard while singing that they had to put welcome mats on the floor by her to prevent the wood from chipping. She lived on a sloop! The reason Jack Nitzche, the Rolling Stones producer, christened her the "Queen of The Beatniks" was because you couldn't actually put a label on whatever it was that she was doing.
You must hear all of these things! She's supposed to be "folk" I suppose, but she sounds more like some amazing combination of like, blues and rock and punk and showtunes all at the same time.

There are only two pages of YouTube videos for her, but I suggest you listen to everything that's there, and also maybe download some stuff on ITunes, because it is in fact there. I do not understand how she is not the most famous person in the whole world. How is it possible for someone to be that entirely awesome to be someone I haven't heard of, when I so love things that are awesome? Why is there so little information on her! Why! She writes awesome, bad ass songs about bears eating people for godsakes! She's friends with Frank Zappa! And she was also on The Judy Garland Show!

Anyway. This is Judy Henske. She is ridiculously amazing and without question, my new favorite person ever.