Henry’s Blueshouse rides again

Legendary Birmingham music night relaunches.

After a break of some fifty years, Birmingham’s legendary Henry’s Blueshouse is set to return. The doors of Henry’s Blueshouse at the Bulls Head in Birmingham city centre, will open at 7pm on Tuesday 5th March. Admission is free.

The original Henry’s Blueshouse opened in the Crown Hotel on Station Street 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 the band 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 JB 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 Bull’s 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.