A Few Short Notes by Murphy Henry.
More extensive liner notes will follow, as I have time to write them, but right now...
The Constant Players and Band Members are:
Red Henry: mandolin, fiddle, lead and rhythm guitar
Murphy Hicks Henry: banjo, rhythm guitar
Argen Hicks: bass fiddle [on first three LPs]
Nancy Hicks Pate : rhythm guitar [all LPs except the first]
Laurie Hicks Tanner: bass fiddle [AR-50]
Tuck Tucker: Dobro [last three LPs]
Our first five albums were recorded at the Warehouse Recording Studio in Jacksonville, Florida, with Tom Markham and then Skip Osmundsen engineering. The last two were recorded in our own home studio in Hawthorne, Florida.
Red and Murphy: Riding Around On Saturday Night (1976)
(Arrandem Records, AR 10
Red and Murphy's first LP! Recorded in Jacksonville, Florida, and released on our own Arrandem label. (That's pronounced "R and M" for--guess what?--Red and Murphy!) Our band was a trio at the time, Red, Murphy, and Argen. Features four originals by Murphy and one by Red. The cover photo, taken in front of a Dairy Queen in Gainesville, Florida, is a nod to Murphy's title song. (Wish you could see our red shirts!) Numbers that have held up especially well include Daybreak in Dixie; Shine, Hallelujah, Shine; Flint Hill Special; and California Cottonfields. We could play really fast back then! Bonus cut: This CD includes a 1982 re-recording of Joshua with Mindy Johnson on bass, Tuck Tucker on Dobro, and Nancy Hicks (Pate) singing tenor.
Red and Murphy & Co: Fast Picks And Hot Licks (1978)
(Arrandem Records, AR 20)
Our band name has expanded to Red and Murphy & Co., and our band has grown to include Nancy Hicks (Pate), who would blossom into an amazing songwriter and singer. We continued to feature our original material with five by Murphy (including the title), an instrumental by Red, one by Nancy, and a gospel co-write by Red and Murphy. We also recorded Hold Back The Waters, written by the legendary Florida folksinger Will McLean. I still love that song! Songs that hold up well: Foggy Mountain Special, Mountain Laurel Man, He Will Set Your Fields On Fire. Grits In The White House, with some pretty clever lyrics, now seems a bit dated, since it refers to President Jimmy Carter!
Red and Murphy & Co: Pall Mall Reds (1979)
(Arrandem Records, AR 30)
We are still the same foursome--Red, Murphy, Argen, Nancy--but we have imported Mike Johnson, Argen's future husband, to add his rock-solid rhythm guitar to the instrumentals. Nine of the thirteen songs are originals. (We were big on originals, figuring they helped set us apart from other regional bands.) The title song, Pall Mall Reds, and the accompanying cover art, reflect a time when smoking, while starting to be seriously frowned on, was not considered heinous. Songs that still amaze me: Hundred And Six Star Rag (how the heck did I play so fast?), Two Of A Kind, The Darling Daughter. Bonus Cut: This CD includes a 1981 re-recording of Pall Mall Reds with Mindy Johnson on bass, Tuck Tucker on Dobro, and Nancy Hicks Pate singing tenor.
Red and Murphy & Co: My Everyday Silver Is Plastic (1980)
(Arrandem Records, AR 40)
Our fourth album in five years! Wow! We were between bass players when it was time to record but luckily Murray Ross, who had been playing electric bass with the Front Porch String Band, was between bands! Murray played on eight numbers and he rocked. And he made us rock! This was our best album yet. Most of these songs stayed in our stage repertoire forever. Nine of the eleven songs are original. IMHO, all these songs hold up well, even Lester's Song, which was my tribute to the late, great Lester Flatt, written the day after he died. C.P. Heaton wrote the excellent liner notes (which we may add later).
Red and Murphy & Co: I Ain't Domesticated Yet (1982)
(Arrandem Records, AR 50)
We now have two new band members, Tuck Tucker on Dobro and youngest sister Laurie Hicks on bass. This is our first album of all-original music, twelve numbers, half of which are instrumentals. Once again, we called on Mike Johnson to play rhythm guitar in the studio and we also used acoustic bass player Neal Thompson on seven cuts. Our band sound is maturing, especially since Red and Nancy and I had been singing together in this band for five years. Our song writing, too, is developing, and I consider these originals some of my best. Red's tune Red Zeppelin (two versions, AM and FM) is also one of his best ever, and the version with just him on mandolin and Neal on bass is stunning.
Red and Murphy & Co: Just Remember Where You Could Be (1983)
(Arrandem Records, AR 60)
Our core band members now consisted of Red, Murphy, Nancy, and Tuck, with various bass players, including Mindy Johnson recording with us, and Mike Johnson again working his magic on rhythm guitar. Laurie had departed for medical school, resulting in the title tune, which Murphy wrote to mark (and mourn) her departure. We feature nine originals along with Bill Monroe's mandolin showpiece, Rawhide and Chubby Anthony's Foothills Of Home. This was the first album we recorded in our own home studio in Hawthorne, Florida.
Red and Murphy & Co: Real Time Reel (1985)
(Arrandem Records, AR 70)
This was the last vinyl LP Red and Murphy & Co would record. Red, Nancy, Tuck, and I were still the heart of the group, but our old friend Bob "Hig" Higginbotham had joined us on rhythm guitar. The times were a-changin'. After this recording, Nancy would move to Atlanta, and in 1986 Red and I and kids Casey and Chris would move to Winchester, Virginia. Having two kids, Casey and Chris, made it harder to write! Perhaps that's why we have only five originals on this album. But we continued to pull from the Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, Stanley, Chubby Anthony catalog. We loved doing our originals songs, but we felt compelled to demonstrate that we had done our homework, had studied those original recordings in depth, and really knew how to pick this music! Red and I might have been college educated and raised "white collar," but we sure felt like we had "redneck in our souls," to borrow one of my own lines!