A great two-fer – a pair of albums from the very cool Judy Henske – back to back on a single CD! First up is the self-titled Elektra debut from Judy Henske – an enigmatic 60s figure with a style that lie somewhere between jazz, blues, and folk! Given the mix, Henske was a perfect fit for the early sound of Elektra Records – who give her plenty of freedom here to really do her thing – not just singing, but also speaking in between songs, as part of the live setting of the record – with an approach that really hints at the pre-hippie qualities of her scene! Some of the dialogue is quite frank, very down
to earth – and provides a wonderful contrast to the tighter, sharper approach of her vocals – especially when they're set up with jazzy backings from Onzy Matthews. Other tunes features a smaller group – with John Forsha on guitar, Jimmy Bond on bass, and John Ewing on trombone – on titles that include "Hooka Tooka", "Ballad Of Little Romy", "Low Down
Alligator", "Salvation Army Song", "Love Henry", and "Lilly Langtree". High Flying Bird features ultra-cool work from Judy Henske – a singer who's not quite folk, not quite jazz, and whose groundbreaking style here provides a strong platform for styles and generations to come! At this point, Judy's almost in territory that's like the Jim Kweskin/
Maria Muldaur side of the universe – a very conscious blend of roots and blues, jazz and folk – but with a style that's even hipper than that other pair, and this edge that shows that Judy, at least, is really ready for the flower power generation to happen – and is trying to do her best here with using an earlier aesthetic to get things going. Backing is by a small group with Jack Marshall on guitar and John Forsha on twelve-string guitar – on titles that include "Charlotte Town", "Buckeye Jim", "High Flying Bird", "Columbus Stockade", "Baltimore Oriole", "Lonely Train", and "God Bless The Child".