Duke Henderson

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Duke Henderson
Birth name Sylvester C. Henderson[1][2]
Died 1972
Los Angeles, California, United States
Genres Blues, jazz[3]
Occupation(s) Singer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1945–1953[4]
Labels Various including Apollo Records

Duke Henderson (died 1972), born Sylvester C. Henderson,[2] was an American blues shouter and jazz singer in the mid-1940s. His styles included West Coast blues and jump blues. In the late 1940s he renounced his past and began broadcasting as a minister and gospel DJ.[3][5] He eventually became a preacher.[6]

Music career[edit]

In 1945, Henderson made his debut recordings with the New York based Apollo label. Jack McVea recommended Henderson to the label, and he was backed on the recording dates by several notable Los Angeles session musicians. These included McVea, Wild Bill Moore and Lucky Thompson (saxophones), Gene Phillips (guitar), Shifty Henry and Charlie Mingus (bass violin), plus Lee Young and Rabon Tarrant (drums). The recordings were not a commercial success and Henderson lost his recording contract with Apollo.[3]

In 1947, Al "Cake" Wichard recorded for Modern Records billed as the Al Wichard Sextette, and featured vocals by Henderson.[2] Henderson subsequently recorded material for a number of labels over several years. His work was released by Globe, Down Beat, Swing Time, Specialty ("Country Girl" b/w "Lucy Brown", October 1952),[7] Modern, and Imperial.[3] Henderson ended up at Flair Records, where his 1953 release, "Hey Mr. Kinsey", was billed as recorded by Big Duke, and displayed a knowledge of the then current thinking on human sexual activity.[3]

Later in the decade, Henderson renounced his past, and commenced broadcasting on XERB billed as Brother Henderson. His ministerial gospel DJ career there was short-lived, although the radio station was later utilised by Wolfman Jack.[3] In the late 1950s Henderson broadcast with KPOP in Los Angeles.[8] After his DJ career, Henderson went on to become a preacher.[6]

In February 1959, Billboard reported that Proverb Records was being jointly formed by Brother Henderson. By 1964 its subsidiary label, Gospel Corner, was initiated.[8]

Henderson died in Los Angeles in 1972.[3][8]

In 1994, Delmark issued a compilation CD, containing 20 tracks from Henderson's late 1945 Apollo recordings.[5]

Compilation album[edit]

Album title Record label Year of release
Get Your Kicks Delmark Records 1994


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Duke Henderson". SecondHandSongs. Retrieved 2015-10-02. 
  2. ^ a b c Rounce, Tony. "Al "Cake" Wichard Sextette - Cake Walkin' - The Modern Recordings 1947-1948". Goofin Records. Retrieved 9 November 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Dahl, Bill (2010). "Duke Henderson". Allmusic. Retrieved 2 November 2010. 
  4. ^ "Musician List". Lordisco.com. Retrieved 9 November 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c Dahl, Bill (2010). "Get Your Kicks: Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 November 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "Duke Henderson - Get Your Kicks". Roots & Rhythm. 2010. Retrieved 2 November 2010. 
  7. ^ "Discography for Specialty Records". Global Dog Productions. 2006. Retrieved 9 November 2010. 
  8. ^ a b c "Proverb". Justmovingon.info. Retrieved 2 November 2010.