Popular Henry’s Blueshouse celebrates 200th newsletter on Westside

A weekly newsletter launched to maintain blues music on Westside following the start of the first Covid lockdown has celebrated its 200th edition.

Henry’s Bluesletter is the free subscription newsletter of Henry’s Blueshouse, which is enjoying its new home at O Bar in Broad Street.

What began as a means of keeping the Henry’s Blueshouse audience informed during the pandemic gradually took on a life of its own.

O Bar on Broad Street, opposite Black Sabbath’s heacy metal bench.

The ‘Bluesletter’ now goes out on email to nearly 16,000 online subscribers across the UK, Europe and the USA every week.

The newsletter features listings and information on artists set to perform at Henry’s Blueshouse, which is held every Tuesday, as well as Birmingham Rocks on Sundays and Bandit Fridays. All three music nights take place at O Bar, with free admission to all performances.

Henry’s Bluesletter also contains various articles, with the 200th issue featuring a fascinating insight into the life and career of Blues legend BB King, written by Henry’s Blueshouse promotor, Jim Simpson.

Jim Simpson, Black Sabbath’s first manager, who founded Henry’s Blueshouse back in 1968.

There is also an appeal to former Birmingham clubbers to get in touch with their memories of the club scene in the 1980s.

Following the success of the book, A Dirty Stop Out’s Guide to 70s Birmingham, Jim and his brother Ron are currently writing a follow-up about Birmingham in the 80s, and need people’s memories of their favourite venue and gig. Send them to Jim at jim@bigbearmusic.com

Henry’s Blueshouse first saw the light of day in 1968, when The Crown on Station Street was its home. Artists appearing at Henry’s included then-emerging acts such as Status Quo, Chicken Shack, Judas Priest, Jethro Tull, Ten Years After, Thin Lizzy and Rory Gallagher’s Taste.

Black Sabbath also played their first gigs at Henry’s and were regulars in their early days, resulting in Jim Simpson becoming the band’s manager.

Jim closed Henry’s to go on the road with Sabbath, taking them to hit albums Black Sabbath and Paranoid, before later reopening it after a break of some 50 years.

Rich Dickinson’s Driving Force.

The next Henry’s Blueshouse gig is at O Bar tomorrow (Tuesday 30 January) featuring Rich Dickinson’s Driving Force, who have been delivering the electric blues of Joe Bonamassa, Rory Gallagher, Gary Moore and ZZ Top for more than two decades.

As #200 of Henry’s Bluesletter points out, this is followed by the Phil Ashmore Band on Friday 2 February and Get Loose for Birmingham Rocks on Sunday 4 February, before Henry’s continues on Tuesday 6 February with an appearance by Dawson & The Dissenters.


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