Judy Henske

Judy Henske


Dubbed "Queen of the Beatniks," the breathtaking, legendary singer/writer/raconteur Judy Henske is, as author Dave Marsh wrote in Playboy, "a great blues and folk singer with a wicked sense of humor, a grand sense of theatrics and she renders hipster wit and wisdom with grace, brass and power."


"Judy is a force of nature,..a great singer/songwriter/performer. She's hilarious, poignant, witty and totally unique. She and her husband Craig are an experience you don't want to miss." --Bonnie Raitt (2005)

"Alternating between a wickedly droll and whimsical wit, and the ability to express
soul-searing pathos, Judy was utterly captivating and had EVERYONE entranced. She can tickle your funny bone one minute and rip your heart out the next. I sat in the audience with my mouth open, but I was taking notes the WHOLE evening."
-- Maria Muldaur (2005)

"She is still my hero."
-Tracy Nelson (2005)

Los Angeles, CA - The way gone chick of humor and humanity, singer Judy Henske has released SHE SANG CALIFORNIA (Fair Star Music). This is her first album since 2000's critically received LOOSE IN THE WORLD.

Produced by her longtime collaborator/arranger, Grammy-winning piano man/ songwriter and husband, Craig Doerge, SHE SANG CALIFORNIA is the quintessential magnificent-voiced Judy. Part saloon singer, part bawdy blues woman, part folkie, and part absurdist/acerbic raconteur, she is an evocative singer-storyteller of substantial emotional range. "I love the rockingness of this record-- it's really a celebration of being alive--damaged, but alive," Henske deadpans. On this album she and Doerge team with friends: Graham Nash, "freaky genius" harmonica player Norton Buffalo, guitarist Fred Tackett and drummer Richie Hayward(Little Feat), plus L.A. music icons Leland Sklar, Russ Kunkel and Rick Marotta.

As featured on NPR's "FRESH AIR," there are many high points to SHE SANG CALIFORNIA: the dark, bluesy ache of “Easy Rider“, the rollicking stride-piano of “Big Fat Man,” the jaunty Hollywood-skewering title track and Henske’s favorite murder ballad--the funky-tough “Duncan and Brady.” Two standout tracks are her poignant family reflection “Western Wisconsin" and the saloon recitative noir masterpiece, “Cocktail World.” A dramatic live rendering of “Maurice, Maurice,” the tune she cheekily notes as her minor key French art song, has her audiences agog with laughter. And can the end song with a title like “Low Life” swagger? You bet it can.

Celebrity and media raves for the elegant, six-foot tall Henske, one of the first singer Jac Holzman signed to his fledgling Elektra Records in 1963, have never diminished. Film critic Pauline Kael was a huge fan; so was Judy Garland (on whose TV show young Henske appeared) and also a then-totally unknown singer, Better Midler,
who learned quite a lot from watching Judy. Interviewed about “The Rose,” Midler acknowledged that her character “was part Janis Joplin, part Jimi Hendrix and part Judy Henske.” Clearly, Henske influenced the entire genre of folk-rock with her bold arrangements, and many renowned women singers-- from Grace Slick, Mama Cass, Cher, Janis Joplin and Tracy Nelson all the way to young Nellie McKay-- reflect her definitive style.

Woody Allen, with whom Henske toured nationally in classic night-clubs like Chicago's Mr. Kelly's, San Francisco's hungry i and New York's Village Gate, fashioned part of his Annie Hall character after her. Since the 1990s, best-selling crime fiction writer Andrew Vachss has made her a recurring iconic character in all of his books.

As one of L.A.’s top studio players, bandleader and songwriter Craig Doerge’s keyboard skills have graced countless albums for such diverse artists as Linda Ronstadt, Willie Nelson, The Temptations, Carly Simon, Frank Zappa & the GTO's and Barbra Streisand. But most music fans know him from his work on twenty-one gold and platinum albums with Jackson Browne, Crosby, Stills & Nash and James Taylor. That’s classic Doerge on “The Pretender,” “Running on Empty,” "Just A Song Before I Go,” “Dark Star” and "Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight.”

Since the release of the much-praised LOOSE IN THE WORLD in 2000, five of Judy Henske’s highly sought after early Elektra and Reprise albums have now been re-issued on Collectors Choice and Warner Brothers. These re-releases have been a cause celeb’ to her cult of worldwide fans, who lobbied labels hard for decades. Her treasured vinyl albums were all fans had to go on for over thirty years. After the acclaimed FAREWELL ALDEBARAN, the prescient folk-rock psychedelia gem (with then husband Jerry Yester) in 1969, she fronted the band ROSEBUD (which included Yester and Craig Doerge) on Reprise in 1971. Judy stopped recording and retired to raise her baby daughter, Kate. Judy says, "I wanted to lead a more austere, bookish life...to explore mycology, fly-tying and song-writing." Those songs have been recorded by Crosby, Stills & Nash, Bette Midler, French superstar Johnny Hallyday, and Libby Titus, to name a few. Now, as they did in 2000, the intrepid pair of Henske and Doerge are on the road again, torching every room they play.

SHE SANG CALIFORNIA might be called Henske’s second album in what she slyly calls “the Judy I am now” i


She Sang California (Fair Star Music-2005 )
Loose In The World (Fair Star Music-2000)
Rosebud (Reprise-1971)
Farewell Aldebaran( Straight/Reprise-1969)
The Death Defying Judy Henske (Reprise-1966)
Little Bit of
Sunshine… Little Bit of Rain (Mercury-1965)
High Flyin’ Bird (Elektra-1964)
Judy Henske (Elektra-1963)

All of Judy's early albums have been re-issued as of this year. Full discography, including singles, compilations and soundtracks: www.judyhenskefan.com

Set List

A Henske performance is show-stopping stuff of original songs, traditional blues and folk rendered Henske-style, a spoken word beat piece or two and "Til The Real Thing Comes Along."
One 75 minute set plus encore; or two 45 minute sets plus encore depending on the venue.