Archive for December 7th, 2004

Blues guitarist, Armand Lenchek, sends on this notice of the death of 83 year old Big Boy Henry. Armand got the news from bluesman Gary Erwin. I also heard the sad news on the new WCOM in Carrboro tonight.

Carolina blues giant RICHARD “BIG BOY” HENRY, who passed Sunday, December 5, 2004, will have his funeral Thursday, December 9 in New Bern, NC. Family has asked that friends & family convene at the family’s home at 713 Cedar St., Beaufort, NC 28516 at 9 am on Thursday morning. The faithful will caravan to the mortuary in New Bern.

BIG BOY HENRY was a figurehead of the Carolina blues and among the last of his generation. A big-hearted man and true folk artist, Mr. Henry was a NC Folk Heritage recipient, WC Handy Award winner, and amazing and prolific touring artist. Born in 1921 and faithfully departed 2004, he left friends all over the world.

Condolences and farewells can be sent to

Ann Henry
713 Cedar St.
Beaufort, NC 28516

God bless you and thank you, Big Boy.

Earlier Gary Erwin wrote:

Inspired by Blind Boy Fuller and other exponents of the Carolina blues style, Big Boy made his first recordings in 1947 while working at a radio shop in New Bern, NC (finally issued in 1988 on the Swingmaster label). He also recorded four sides with Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry in NYC (the masters of which were reportedly lost); created his own cassette label, Hometown Records, on which he released nearly a dozen of his own albums, and recorded for other labels such as New Moon, Erwin Music, Audio Arts, and Music Maker.

A recipient of the coveted Brown-Hudson Award for folk arts, Big Boy took his music all over the world with tours of England, Ireland, Switzerland, France, Italy, and Holland throughout the 1990s. He enchanted everyone who heard him play & sing.

A wonderful, spontaneous bard of the downhome blues, Big Boy was one of the last of his generation; a true ambassador of real blues. Moreover, he was a kind-hearted man who made friends everywhere he went. He will be greatly missed.

Big Boy Henry leaves behind his wife of 42 years, Ann Henry, and many children and grandchildren. He will be buried in Beaufort, NC later this week. Arrangements are being finalized

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Patrick mentions is a comment below about the powers of 1, 3 and 7 — and so 13, 37, and 137. Sevens definitely rule as there are so many rules of seven. In poetry, I use the Welsh seven syllable line of Dafydd ap Gwilym (14th century) as a basic building block. The idea is that the odd syllable count adds drama in that you never quite get a series of iambs going unless you emjamb to get there. If you do — you being the poet, but the reader is of course taken on the same ride — your rhyme hits in ways that break the Frankenstein tendencies of the iamb to modern ears while still keeping the expectations alive and occassionally even fulfilled.
Two other poems I’ve built this way are “Dividing Waters” and “Lent 2003″. The last was written for the Poets Against the War and is not build on seven lines and seven verses as “Birds and Fishes” and “Dividing Waters” are. “Birds” and “Waters” have other brothers in their set which I will make available later (or after they are publishing or abandoned).

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