Florida Folk Festival — Day 3

Red Henry

Red Henry

We last left you after a long (and mostly dry) Friday at the Florida Folk Festival. Saturday morning I awoke after a good night's sleep of 6 hours, begged some coffee, and got ready for the day. Again on Saturday we were to back up Dale Crider on a set, this time at the Azalea Stage, and then play a set of our own at 3:00 on the historic (and fun) Old Marble Stage. I say "and fun" because it is. The Old Marble Stage tent is typically crowded with festival-goers who are a lot of fun to play music for.

I got my mandolin and guitar tuned up about the time the rest of the band woke up and showed up at the campground. By "the rest of the band" I mean that we are Red and Chris Henry and Their All-Star Band: Besides Chris and myself we have my uncle John Hedgecoth, who (among other items in his long resume) played banjo for a while with Bill Monroe; Jenny Leigh, a young and talented fiddler who can play many styles well; and Barbara Johnson, who needs no introduction to a Florida audience, on bass. It's fun to play music with this group.

Chris, Jenny, Red, and John

Chris, Jenny, Red, and John

Along with playing our sets, Jenny was going to enter the Florida State Fiddle Contest, so she, along with Chris to back her up on guitar, went over to the big Dance Tent at the appropriate time. Meanwhile, John, Barbara, and I ambled over to the Azalea Stage to see what trouble we could make for Dale Crider during his show. We all took the stage and Dale was in fine form, preaching the Florida Environment Gospel and singing his songs. Our friend Ron Johnson was there, camera in hand, and immortalized two of Dale's numbers on YouTube:

"Apalachicola Doin' Time"

"Mangrove Buccaneer"

(...in the second of which, perspicacious listeners will note, Dale's amazing cat-like powers of recovery are demonstrated.)

. . . . .

After Dale's set I went back over to the Dance Tent, where Jenny was just about to play her tunes in the state fiddle contest. She played a couple of unbeatable tunes, and--- you can guess it--- she won the contest! So now we have a Florida Fiddle Champion in the band.

After some picking with our friends Barbara and Gary back at the campground, the time for our own set was coming up, so we all moseyed over to the Old Marble Stage. Enjoyed visiting briefly with Donna Green-Townsend and our old musical friends the Peyton Brothers, and then it was time for us to play. I figured we'd pull out all the stops, so we kicked off the show with a high-energy homemade instrumental, "Centerville Road." Then Chris and I launched into an old Bill Monroe number, "Toy Heart." Then Chris sang one of his excellent original numbers, "Walkin' West to Memphis," and the folks liked it a lot.

John was next, and he sang a special song he'd re-written from one of Bill Monroe's songs, "My Florida Sunshine." The chorus goes like this:

"Way down in the state of Florida, Florida,
where the old Suwannee River flows,
My Sweetheart is waiting for me, for me...
[dramatic musical pause],
'way down where the orange tree grows."

--and John had re-written the verses all about the White Springs festival in the old days! Cousin Thelma Boltin was in there. So were Dale Crider, Gamble Rogers, and Will McLean, and others who had played on that same stage long ago. The song was fun to sing.

Now it was time for a tune from Jenny, and she chose "Paddy on the Turnpike," a real barn-burner. John, Chris, and I all took a turn with it, and we finished it up by playing it one time through together. Mercy, what a tune! And the audience caught the band's excitement.

Christoper and I enjoy playing the mandolin together, so now we played a double-mandolin arrangement on "Pelham," another of his originals. The tune has a lot of spirit, and the folks liked it. And then (at the risk of playing three instrumentals in a row) we ended the set with "Helton Creek," the title cut from our latest CD. Everybody played great, and the listeners gave us a very nice response for which we're all grateful.

What a set! Then it was time to rest. Or so we thought... we got back to the campground just in time for the deluge!

This was not just a thunderstorm. This was one Florida cloudburst after another, going on for a couple of hours! Right away there were puddles on the ground a couple of inches deep. We huddled under the awning which Gary had brought, and waited for the storm to stop. But the entertainment was not over yet! Just as the storm was starting John hurried to get something out of his van, and (for the first time in his life, which I believe, knowing what a methodical person he is) locked his keys inside. So as the storm was pouring water down in buckets I was on the cell-phone to AAA, and sure enough, after about an hour a locksmith came out from Lake City, found the campground and our site somehow, and as the rain was letting off he let John back into his car. Mercy.

The rain went on and on, and everybody was too wet to pick. I heard some music over in the direction of the Mayhaws' big awning, but at that point I was too wiped out to go and cause any trouble. That was it for the night, but it had been a great day! -- as usual at White Springs!


Posted in By Red, jamming, shows and tagged , on by .

About Red Henry

Began playing mandolin, guitar, fiddle, and banjo in 1967-69. I married Murphy in 1974. We led the Red & Murphy bluegrass band, playing professionally, from 1975-87. Since then I've handled the technical side of Murphy Method cassette, videotape, and DVD production. When you call I usually answer the phone, and I'm normally the one who sends out the orders.

15 thoughts on “Florida Folk Festival — Day 3

  1. Steve (in Japan)

    Red, this entry is another good one! I wish I could hear your band’s “Paddy on the Turnpike.” Can you put it on YouTube?

  2. Red Henry

    Post author

    Steve, we don’t have “Paddy” on YouTube but we have several other numbers. “Helton Creek” and several other tunes are here:


    Some of our numbers at the Hahira bluegrass festival are here:


    Several more (though with very low light) are here:


    We may have 15 or 20 numbers on YouTube altogether. Happy hunting–


  3. Walter McKenzie

    I used to listen to you in Jacksonville Fl at that little bar on Beach Boulevard that featured Bluegrass Music. Mike Johnson and the Sounds Of Bluegrass too and Tuck Tucker and others.

    What a pleasure to see you at the FFF. I moved to White Springs in 1990 and I haven’t missed a FFF in thirty years. Send me your Email and I will send you some info on the White Springs Folk Club. It might be a good gig for you when you are down this way.

  4. Ben from Back When

    Excellent reading (and viewing and listening), thank you. And, a hearty congratulations to Jenny! Woo hoo! Which tunes did you play, Jenny?

    It just wouldn’t be a Florida Folk Festival without at least one torrential downpour over the weekend. I’ve never been a participant (are you kidding?), so we always camped at Spirit of the Suwannee. One year, upon returning to the campground after the big rain, we saw that a neighbor’s tent had floated away, and only the cypress knees had kept it from going right into the lake. Made us glad for putting in those stakes, even though they’re not necessary to hold the thing up. A very fond storm memory is of Gamble Rogers at the old marble stage; that year, there was a tent over the stage only. The rain began during his performance and quickly intensified. Gamble stopped, invited us all on stage, under the tent, turned the sound equipment around with help from the sound crew, and finished his show, facing us all cozied together under cover. He was so gracious, and the performance so intimate.

    Nice to know you had some appreciative audiences, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some damp eyes among the listeners to John’s rewritten lyrics.

  5. Martin Bacon

    Congratulations Jenny
    In the Hicks Henry family, “in the lead is where you want to be”.

  6. Steve (in Japan)

    ‘Whatevah’ is Dr. M. E. Bacon saying? I say Red is a leader and when working with him you’re in the lead. So, I guess Chris’ fiddle playing girlfriend has long been in the lead by playing in “Red and Chris Henry and Their All-Star Band”. Marty, Virginia Gentlemen is pretty powerful corn in a bottle. Go slow.

  7. Martin Bacon

    We are obviously talking at cross purposes, but I am sure that Murphy and Red understand what I was saying. I do enjoy bourbon now and then but I wasn’t drinking when I wrote that note. Congratulations again to Jenny!

  8. Steve (in Japan)

    Thank you, Sir, fror clearing the air. Though, I was just joshing with you a little with you, Sir. By the way, from your comments after almost each and every entry I thought you’d have enjoy a little ribbing. My mistake and I apologize to you, Marty. Also, I want you to know that for once in my life I’m finally able to participate in the hillbilly music that I’ve always loved. All of us subscribers want to be part of the TMM family. Maybe there’re times when you, Sir, should be emailing rather than commenting. I’d like to say too, “Congratulations to Red and his band. You’re good!” Now, on a different subject: This new video, Beyond Vamping: “Fancy Banjo Backup” is just excellent work. Right off the bat, it answers many questions about timing and “how to.” It’s a mighty training program on a DVD. Good work, Casey, and thank you.

    Again, I apologize to you, Marty. You’re a good man and you shine.

  9. Martin Bacon

    Hi Steve,
    No apology was necessary. I just didn’t think you understood the context of my comment. I am really happy to have you on the blog and enjoy your comments immensely. I wish you were in the U.S. and we could pick. All I know about that backup DVD is it has a great cover! Murphy would have a cow if I started on it.

  10. Steve (in Japan)

    Thank you, Marty. I’ll try not to be so clumbsy from now on. I hope the future holds a time and place for us meet and pick, and right in front of Murphy too.

  11. Martin Bacon

    That would be great! Since I’m not seeing Japan in my future (although I’ve been there a few times before) maybe it will be in Winchester. Hey, you could come to her Murphy Method camp.

  12. Steve (in Japan)

    Marty, I can’t promise that I’ll be there, but I’ll try. I have a 17 yr. old son who will graduate from high school next March and after that I have to get hime back and settled down in the USA. He’ll turn 18 shortly before he graduates (gotta register for the draft too). He’ll probably start out in Honolulu. Then I have a 15 yr. old daughter in 10th grade and she’s going to the same Christian High School as Ken is. Two years later after Ken it’ll be Honolulu for her too (and more worries for me). I’ve been a stay-at-home dad doing all the daily chores since we returned to Japan 13 years ago. No car, but we have two bicycles (ah, what luxury). My wife is a nurse. We made the mistake of buying our own place here and it’s been tough. Though, I’ve learned a lot about budgeting and shopping the right way, and cooking too!

  13. admin


    Glad you’re liking the new DVD. We’ve gotten quite a few positive responses so far and I’m tickled!


  14. Steve (in Japan)


    It really is a good DVD. I wish others would enter some comments about it. Thanks again for putting in all that work. Oh, I wanted to mention before, your Gibson banjo’s fretboard does make a difference as you explained. Thanks for that too.

    (Student) Steve

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