Home / Biography / Washboard Willie

Washboard Willie

It wasn’t until William Hensley was 31 yrs . old that he made a decision to purchase a washboard and commence to create music onto it. He bought a hardwood and steel washboard, fastened a four-inch frying pan to 1 corner, place eight steel thimbles on his fingertips, tied the plank around his throat with a pup leash, and began beating apart. As a youngster we were young in Columbus, GA, there have been always vaudeville serves and tent and minstrel displays coming through the region. He always cherished beating over the drums or anything using a surface area. He played throughout the Columbus region occasionally, but nothing at all really skillfully. In 1948 he transferred north to Detroit, where he previously to concentrate even more on earning money, than defeating on his washboard, and he didn’t play in any way for 3 years. It wasn’t until 1952, that he and a pal had been out one evening searching for John Lee Hooker, if they discovered Eddie Uses up and his small group, playing on the Harlem Inn. After hearing the drummer playing out of period, Hensley got his washboard from the automobile, and started playing combined with the music group. By the next song, the club owner provided Hensley employment playing the washboard for the weekend. The music group, alongside Hensley, performed there for 3 years. Throughout the day he cleaned cars for an area auto company. 1 day he had this notion, while producing some suds within the drinking water, to contact his music group, Washboard Willie & the Super Suds of Tempo. This first music group contains Washboard Willie on washboard and vocals, Chuck Smith on bass, and Anthony Lewis. Initially, Hensley was simply defeating the washboard, and tapping his feet; shortly he added the bass drum, and the snare. In 1955, Hensley provided a upstart, Small Sonny Willis (harmonica), his initial work. In 1956, Hensley documented for Joe Von Fight in the Palmer Home in Detroit. Hensley teamed-up with Calvin Frazier on acoustic guitar, to record “Cherry Crimson Blues” and ‘”Washboard Shuffle,” alongside “Washboard Blues Pt. 1 & 2.” He continuing to record for Von Battle from 1957 to 1962. The classes included Hensley, drums, washboard, and vocals; Calvin Frazier, acoustic guitar; Boogie Woogie Crimson, piano; and Chuck Smith, baritone saxophone. The tape sat within the backroom of Von Battle’s record store, until George Paulus retrieved them and place them from his Barrelhouse Information, in 1982; JSP Information from Britain, also released the classes. In 1966, Willie do a program for the Herculon label, liberating “Natural Born Enthusiast” and “Wee Baby Blues,” supported by Evans McLendon on acoustic guitar, and Angelo Willis on baritone saxophone. The music group was right now playing seven evenings weekly in Detroit and Ann Arbor. In 1973, he toured using the American Blues Legends ’73 Tour, journeying all over European countries. An album premiered on Big Carry/Poly 2460 186 through the tour offering Hensley, alongside Lightnin’ Thin, Whispering Smith, Boogie Woogie Crimson, Snooky Pryor, and Homesick Wayne. By 1979, Washboard Willie wasn’t playing very much anymore — just special regional engagements. He was constantly a family guy and a Weekend School instructor, and he started to appreciate his pension. He passed away on August 24, 1991, at age 82, in Detroit.

Check Also

Mississippi Heat

A blues combo that fuses modern styles using the vintage Chicago audio from the ’50s, …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.