and had acquired the nickname "Mule" because he was sturdy in both
physique and character. In St. Louis, he worked with some of the early
blues pioneers, including J.D.
Townsend was one of the only
to have recorded in every decade for the last 80 years. He has recorded
on several different labels including Columbia and Folkways
He first recorded in 1929 and remained active up to 2006. By the mid
1990s, Townsend and his one-time collaborator
the only active blues artists whose performing lives stretched back to
Articulate and self-aware with an excellent memory, Townsend gave many
invaluable interviews to Blues enthusiasts and scholars.
him in 1960 and quoted him extensively in his 1967 work Conversations
with the Blues.Thirty
years later, Bill Greensmith edited thirty hours of taped interviews
with Henry to produce a full autobiography, giving a vivid history of
the Blues scene in St