Henry’s Blues House Rides Again at The Bull’s Head – Davenports

After a break of some 50 years, Birmingham’s legendary Henry’s Blueshouse is set to return. The doors of Henry’s Blueshouse at The Bull’s Head, 38 Bishopsgate St, Birmingham will open at 7pm on Tuesday 5th March 2019. Admission is free.

The original Henry’s Blueshouse opened in The Crown Hotel in 1968 and ran every Tuesday under the flag Tuesdays is Bluesdays. It was said by Melody Maker to be “the first progressive music venue outside of London”.

Organised by trumpet player and band manager Jim Simpson, originally as a platform for Bakerloo Blues Line, later shortened to Bakerloo, it quickly developed into one of the most important music venues in this city. American bluesmen and leading British rock and blues attractions featured weekly at the small upstairs room adjacent to New Street Station which was to gain worldwide recognition as the birthplace of one of the most influential rock bands of all time, Black Sabbath. Simpson became their manager and took them from obscurity to a chart topping attraction with the single “Paranoid” and the albums “Black Sabbath” and “Paranoid”. The latter reached number one on the album chart, a feat not repeated by Black Sabbath until 43 years later.

Henry’s was seen as an important stepping stone to fame by dozens of bands including Status Quo, Jethro Tull, Thin Lizzy, Robert Plant, Judas Priest, Rory Gallagher & Taste, Thin Lizzy, Chicken Shack and Ten Years After.

American Bluesmen to grace the stage at Henry’s Blueshouse included Arthur Big Boy Crudup, who wrote “That’s Alright Now Mama”, the first Elvis Presley hit, Champion Jack Dupree, Lightnin’ Slim, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Reverend Gary Davis and J.B. Hutto.

Henry’s Blueshouse at The Bulls Head is organised by the venue’s founder, Jim Simpson, in conjunction with Davenports Brewery. The new venue is sited just off Broad Street, Birmingham’s entertainment hub, and will incorporate the additional features that helped establish the original Henry’s as such an important venture. Simon Key, Marketing Director of Davenports, commented: “We are delighted to be hosting this legendary night. The Blues will find a perfect home at The Bulls Head”.

From 7pm there will be blues films, sometimes blues talks and interviews as well as the occasional workshop, album or book launch. On the opening night blues journalist Stuart Constable will interview the founder, Jim Simpson, about life at the early Henry’s, discovering Black Sabbath and working with American bluesmen.

As a bonus, any card-holding member of the original Henry’s Blueshouse gets a free drink of presentation of their membership card.

A selection of hi resolution photos of the bands featured can be accessed here.

For further information, photographs, interview requests, band biogs etc please contact Nick Hart on nick@bigbearmusic.com or phone 0121 454 7020.

Featured bands:

March 5th The Shufflepack [High Wycombe]

12th Brooks Williams [Statesboro, Georgia, USA]

19th Dirk Diggler’s Blues Revue [Newcastle-Under-Lyme]

26th Bob Wilson & Honeyboy Hickling [Birmingham/Leicester]
April 2nd The Whiskey Brothers [Birmingham]

9th David Moore Blues Band [Birmingham]

Additional information:

  • The opening of Henry’s Blueshouse at The Bulls Head is part of the events programme to celebrate 50 years of Big Bear Records.
  • Henry was a particularly handsome Afghan hound who lived next door to Jim Simpson
  • John Peel was a tremendous supporter of Henry’s, often saying on air that he was wearing his Henry’s t-shirt
  • Jim Simpson is MD of Big Bear Records, possibly the UK’s longest established independent record label, and the Festival Director of the Birmingham, Solihull & Sandwell Jazz Festival which will stage its 35th edition from July 19th to 28th 2019
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