Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page
Born in Georgia in 1899 'Too Tight Henry' toured extensively during the 1920's as part of a trio comprised of Blind Blake (Phelps, Arthur 1890-5 - c1933) and Blind Lemon Jefferson (1897 - 1929). He was considered at the time as a master of the 6- and 12-string guitar, and according to at least one contemporary report, "...their stickman..." (Lee Jackson, 1921 - 1979), holding the trio together.
Castle's recording career was limited considering his ability and skill on guitar, although in the early 1940's he became a popular and regular performer on a Memphis based radio show. Early recordings made by the Columbia label field recording unit in October 1928, show Too Tight as a bit of a show off, in the best "cutting heads" tradition of the blues soloist; Too Tight narrating his song in two voices (sometimes more as the song moves up gear) as he plays it. This in contrast to more lyrical recordings made a few years later in Chicago, in a more organized two guitar and harp format. These are the only known recordings of Too Tight Henry.
Too Tight died in Chicago in 1971 after apparent retirement from music. Henry Lee "Too Tight Henry" Castle is not to be confused with Henry Townsend who also used the pseudonym "Too Tight Henry".
Henry Lee Castle (guitar):