Take Meh, Shake Meh






:: Henson - Do Me Wrong, But Do Me ::

Update, 2/20/2009
Well as The Dude himself has said, "New shit has come to light."

I've recently been in correspondence with a relative of Tim Henson's who informed me that while the police ultimately ruled the death a suicide, an independent private investigation came up with his death being a murder. I would like to write a more complete tribute to Tim Henson at a later date once I've filled in some more blanks, but for now I'd like to get this one thing out there for the respect of his family. So read some of what's below with a grain of salt for now, and hopefully I'll rewrite this piece in the near future.

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A long time ago, at a record store kinda far away, I picked up about 200 pieces of 7" vinyl. I think they were 20 for a dollar, and I took full advantage. Some of the things I found were actually really cool, like an early Wrens (the incredible NJ rock band, not the vocal group) 7" and a handful of autographed Mark Sandman side project singles (he had just recently died). But for the most part, I selected things that sounded bizarre or funny. After listening to several of my acquisitions, I decided to make a compilation of the best/worst ones, hurriedly throwing it together and dubbing it Scars On 45. I took it to band practice, and it soon became a post-practice listening staple, a legend in our own minds. I made two more Scars comps, and I can trace back this whole addiction to finding and sharing the strange and wonderful plastic platters that are out there to those times. I've never looked back.

This song is probably my favorite thing I've ever found. It's not the weirdest, nor is it the funniest, but to me it is the the best combination of the sublime and the ridiculous. It's almost become mythical to me, because of my struggle to learn anything at all about the artist, researching many different times and ways. I think I've finally got enough of a handle on it to be able to write something.

Henson was Tim Henson, a Fame Studios session keyboardist. Many, many classic recordings were made at Rick Hall's Fame Studios, home of the "Muscle Shoals Sound." I am told he played keyboards on the monster soft-rocker "Torn Between Two Lovers". I guess Tim was being given a shot at being more than just a session player, and this single, and the self titled album it comes from, came out in 1974. "Do Me Wrong But Do Me" was written by Alan O'Day, who had a pretty big hit with the perfectly goofy "Undercover Angel" in 1977. O'Day's own version of "Do Me" appears on the same album. The flip side of his single is a cover of my favorite Beach Boys song, "God Only Knows," which is a bit of a trip because of the abundance of analog keyboard sounds. "Do Me" was produced by Rick Hall himself, with string arrangements by Grammy, Emmy and Clio Award winner Jimmie Haskell. It's filled with squawking wah guitar and ridiculous lyrics, but balanced with some really nice changes, and to top it off, what I think is a perfect bridge. Even though the lyrics are hard to take seriously, and in fact were probably supposed to be humorous, the music underneath gives off a darkness in juxtaposition that makes this, for me at least, a fascinating listen. I'm sure I've listened to this song over a hundred times.

In my final round of internet searches on Tim Henson, I came across someone who knew him, and through him I got some actual information. It seems that shortly after Tim had been made an official member of the prestigious Muscle Shoals Sound rhythm section, he took his own life. There was evidently a lot of pressure being a studio musician, in both quality of performance and the amount of work one would have to take on just to make ends meet. I guess if he was also trying to make it as a solo artist, the pressure would be that much greater. So yeah, this tale does not have have a happy ending, and we see yet another talented musician who becomes little more than a footnote in rock history. For me, this song always had a melancholy vibe to it, and knowing what I now know, it always will.

I'd like to thank JD Wyker and the members of the Mighty Field Of Vision mailing list for all the help and information they've given me. I was wondering if I'd ever be able to do this piece, or at least do it any justice, and they gave me what I needed.


Tony
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Wednesday, December 28, 2005 10:25:00 PM

I just want to say I really enjoyed this post and song. thanks pardner!    



Sunday, September 30, 2007 11:00:00 AM

....it's a lil more than 2 yrs since u altruistically excavated this gravestone of tim henson,and of which is now made available to visit every once in a while...thanx    



Tuesday, February 10, 2009 8:21:00 PM

he did not take his own life..he was murdered and robbed..trust me he is my uncle.    



Tuesday, February 10, 2009 8:31:00 PM

Well if he's your uncle, I'd love to hear more about him -- I couldn't find any info about him other than what other session guys could remember about him from the Muscle Shoals days.    



Friday, February 13, 2009 12:39:00 PM

feel free to email me mamajen201@hotmail.com    



Friday, February 20, 2009 7:08:00 PM

Terrific song, and you defined quite well what makes it interesting and special, in its modest way. Thanks for introducing me to it!    



Tuesday, May 12, 2009 12:38:00 PM

Hi,

This is Amber from the Beer Fest at the Echo Plex. This thing you have going here is really fantastic. The two things we were talking about are Annette Pecock's I'm the One and the Davie Crocket spoof, Pancho Lopez by Lalo Guerrero.

Nice talking with you
Amber    



Tuesday, May 12, 2009 12:49:00 PM

Hey Amber! Thanks for the kind words. I actually looked up Annette Peacock, and you can get that album you're looking for (it ain't cheap) on Ebay. I'd completely forgotten about the other one (beer,) but I'll keep an eye out for that as well.

Cheers,
Tony    



Thursday, October 15, 2009 9:32:00 AM

I would love to hear the actual scars on 45 comps you mention in this post

thx
torch1971    



Saturday, January 01, 2011 9:33:00 AM

Don't know if this will get to you or not (I'm not experienced at the blog thing) but I knew Tim Henson. His father and my father were good friends, and Tim, with his father and brother, visited us once and sang in our church. They stayed in our home, and Tim was a very humble and genuinely nice kid.

Tim was one of the most talented pianists I ever heard live - and at that time, he was only thirteen years old! I wasn't surprised when he turned professional.

Later (in about '72) I recall unexpectedly hearing a song on the radio that I really loved (though I only heard it once and can't recall anything about it); afterward the DJ said it was by Tim Henson, and that Tim had played every instrument on the record (not just the keyboards)! I've wanted ever since to find the album and/or single, but so far no luck. It must've been a different song than this one, since that was definitely in '72, no later than early '73. I also heard later that he played on many Fame albums, including the Osmonds, Aretha Franklin, etc.

His youngest brother, Paul Christopher Henson, plays in a band in the Atlanta area, but I don't know their name.

(btw - There was at least one album of Christian music put out by his family, with him singing and possibly playing - you could search for that but it would be an entirely different experience.)    



Thursday, March 24, 2011 6:11:00 PM

Hi...Tim Henson was my brother. My niece sent me this website after she read what was posted about Tim. Tim was such a talented musician and singer. He was under contract with United Artist Studios and played keyboards for Paul Anka, Mac Davis and so many others. I'll never forget watching him play for Paul Anka in Las Vegas.
My niece was correct in her comment that he did not commit suicide. He was robbed and murdered on Christmas Eve of 1977, in Muscle Shoals, AL. Luckily, his children were already in Atlanta at his parents home so they were not at home at the time of the robbery. Tim was a single parent of two children that he loved and my parents kept the babies while he was on the road. Tim's career was just taking off and he was so excited about his new album that was just going to be released. Then our worlds fell apart with his death. Tim co-wrote songs that earned gold albums and even today his children still receive his royalties. We miss him dearly and are proud of his success.
Thanks for your interest!
Jan Henson Crawford    



Tuesday, August 05, 2014 1:37:00 AM

Hey I know it's been years since anyone has posted on this but thought I would give this a shot. Ive spent the last. 4 years going through mine and my fathers record collection. We started collecting about 25 years ago and he kept everything at his house. He passed a little over 4 years ago and the collection came to my house. Anyway it's a lot of records. I was just going through one of the boxes and found Tim Henson "going through the motions" fame test pressing. I haven't listened to the 45 yet but sure this is the same guy as I got this record for a radio station I worked for many of years ago which was just down the road from Fame in Muscle Shoals. I would live to pass this record on to his family if they don't have a copy. My number is 7068336664. Please give me a call if you see this and want it. Thanks!    



Thursday, May 05, 2016 5:55:00 AM

Hey friends, I've been doing some research on Mr. Henson recently because he wrote a song in the late 60's that my mom Judy Crawley recorded for Kobra records. I heard it all the time growing up and I love it. It's called "Childhood Dreams". My mother had also heard, I guess mistakenly, that he had committed suicide. Anyway, this has been an interesting rabbit hole to go down as I had no idea these Muscle Shoals big shots were involved in my mom's earliest recording. Head honcho Rick Hall even co-write the a-side of the 45 in question. Crazy stuff. Anyway, if anyone wants to hear a very long lost Tim Henson track, here's the link: http://judycrawley.bandcamp.com/track/childhood-dreams    



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