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    Strzelecki, Henry (8 August 1939 – Present)

    Bassist, producer and songwriter from Birmingham, Alabama, who began his recording career in the mid-1950s on Decca with fellow composer, Baker Knight.  He spent a lot of time on the road in the late 1950s, touring with The Four Flickers, which also featured his brother, Larry. 

     

    In 1960, he arrived on the musical map as a songwriter when Jerry Woodard recorded “Long, Tall Texan”, supposedly written about Tex Ritter.  It has since been covered by The Beach Boys, The Connoisseurs, Pee Wee Crayton, John Denver, The Englishmen, Greg & Steve, Murray Kellum, The Kingsmen, Long Tall Texans, Lyle Lovett, Bob Luman, and Conway Twitty. 

     

    After sitting in with Hank Garland’s band, he was asked by the leader whether he could move to Nashville, Tennessee.  On 4th December 1960, his pregnant wife’s birthday, he and his family relocated to Music City. 

     

    His first gig was with Hank Garland at a supper club run by Jimmy Hyde which was located in the section of town known as Printer’s Alley.  On Sunday evenings, they had a special guest, Chet Atkins.  Chet asked Henry to sit in with him during his weekly engagements.  Henry was playing seven nights a week, four in a duo with Bill Purcell, two with Hank Garland’s band, and one with Chet.  He credits Chet and Hank for helping him get started and sustaining his music career. 

     

    In the early ‘60s, Chet started to get him session work, and it was only the beginning of one of the most prolific careers in the history of musical recordation.  One of his first recording dates would have been on 7th January 1962, when he laid down three sides for Twelve Sides of John D. Loudermilk. 

     

    On 1st August 1964, he recorded one of his most famous tracks, playing bass on Roy Orbison’s “Oh Pretty Woman”.  He was also busy as a member of Elvis Presley’s band, appearing on Elvis for Everyone! and the soundtracks of Harum Scarum and Spinout in 1965 and 1966, respectively.  In 1966, he and a number of other Nashville A-listers collaborated with Bob Dylan on his legendary double album, Blonde on Blonde.  This was followed by another date with Elvis, on How Great Thou Art, in 1967.  He ended the decade with The Open Mind of John D. Loudermilk. 

     

    Louis Armstrong ended his studio career in curious fashion, recording Louis “Country Western” Armstrong in 1970.  The same year found Henry among the credits of One Day at a Time by Joan Baez. 

     

    In January 1971, he and Lloyd Green spent some time in prison—recording, that is.  The name of the self-titled album, recorded in California’s Vacaville State Prison, was Glen Sherley.  Glen was not only the main performer on the album, but also was an inmate in the prison.  He had penned one of Johnny Cash’s songs, “Greystone Chapel”. 

     

    In 1972, he contributed his bass lines to another of Chet’s favourite studio musicians, Jerry Reed, on Hot a’ Mighty.  Speaking of Chet, Henry performed on the guitar virtuoso’s Superpickers in 1973, and was a member of the band that derived their name from it.  In 1975, he appeared on no less than four albums, including John R. Cash, Perry Como’s Just out of Reach, Lloyd Green’s Steel Rides, and Ronnie Milsap’s Night Things.  He formed his own label in 1976 called October Records, which specialized in instrumental albums, and Lloyd Green was one of his first signings. 

     

    In 1977, he performed on Chapter One with Mundo Earwood, Chester & Lester with Chet Atkins and Les Paul, Dillard-Hartford-Dillman with Doug Dillard, Rodney Dillard and John Hartford, The First Time with Billy “Crash” Craddock and Loose Change with Larry Jon Wilson.  He rounded out the decade with Reba McEntire on Out of a Dream and The Oak Ridge Boys on Room Service. 

     

    In 1980, he played bass and sang backing vocals on American Son by Levon Helm, assisted John Anderson on his self-titled debut, and briefly joined Johnny Cash’s band.  He rejoined Johnny on 1982’s The Survivors Live, which also featured Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.  In 1984, he collaborated with Ray Charles on his album of duets, Friendship, and David Allan Coe on the less amicable Just Divorced. 

     

    He made a brief foray into filmdom in 1985, playing bass and writing original music for the movie, Malibu Express.  In 1986, he joined a number of well-known artists on the Hank Williams, Jr. album, Montana Café.  He was nominated for an Academy of Country Music Award in the category of Best Bass in 1987.  The ‘80s were rung out with k.d. lang’s Shadowland, The O’HarasTired of the Runnin, and Gene Watson’s Honky Tonk Crazy. 

     

    In 1992, he performed Live at Austin City Limits with The Nashville Superpickers.  He also makes an onscreen appearance on the 1998 DVD, Superpickers.  Most of his recent credits have been limited to CD re-masterings and re-packagings such as Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops’ Fiedler and Friends, Elvis Presley’s From Nashville to Memphis:  The Essential ‘60s Masters, and The Soundalike Kings Present Covers, Hits & Misses from the Vaults of the Legendary Spar Recordings.  (While at Spar, Henry was a member of The Now Generation, a sound-alike group comprised of studio musicians and featuring a young Jimmy Buffett.) 

     

    As of 2010, Henry was still recovering from the Tennessee flood at his home in Old Hickory, where many of his belongings were among the casualties uncovered by flood insurance.  He is semi-retired, although he still runs his own publishing house, Copper Music Company, and enjoys a pastime introduced to him and Jerry Reed by Chet Atkins and Archie Campbell:  Golf.

     

    Randy Barlow recordings

    Dixie Man (Ken Bell/Terry Skinner/J.L. Wallace)

     

    Hargus “Pig” Robbins recordings

    Chunky People (David Chamberlain/Jim Vest)

     

    Sources:

    1. http://www.answers.com/topic/henry-strzelecki-country-artist
    2. http://www.framus-vintage.de/modules/infos/artists.php?katID=4961&cl=EN
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    4. http://books.google.com
    5. http://www.rockabilly.nl/artists/jerrywoodard.htm
    6. http://theaxemen.wordpress.com/2008/11/25/live-at-city-mall-volumes-1-2/
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    13. http://michaelminn.net/armstrong/index.php?section8
    14. http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Day_at_a_Time
    15. http://www.lloydgreentribute.com/Photos.htm
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    34. http://www.lpdiscography.cz/c/Coe/coe_justdivorced.htm
    35. http://movies.nytimes.com/person/1213137/Henry-Strzelecki
    36. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0835465/
    37. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089539/fullcredits#cast
    38. http://shopping.yahoo.com/515675601-montana-cafe/
    39. http://www.plaxo.com/directory/profile/38657235506/d796ecdb/HENRY/STRZELECKI
    40. http://www.gene-watson.com/honky_tonk_crazy.htm
    41. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadowland_%28album%29
    42. http://www.deadreckoners.com/music/tired_of_the_runnin.html
    43. http://artist.ebay.com/Nashville-Superpickers_music_W0QQcZ1376213370
    44. http://meuraslinks4u.blogspot.com/2010/01/chet-atkins-and-friends-live-2004-dvdr.html
    45. http://www.amazon.com/Orange-Blossom-Special/dp/B001BFYX7E
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    47. http://www.cherryred.co.uk/bird/product.php?display=variousartists
    48. http://www.groovytunesday.com/sixties.html

              

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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