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Al Hendrix was born Clyde Allen Hendrix on November 12, 1934 in Miami, Florida. Later that year his family relocated to California and settled in Lynwood where they stayed until 1945. They then moved back to Tampa, Florida for two years before settling in Odessa, Texas.

Al's father, Joseph Allen, was a professional butcher. His mother, Lena Jean Jenkins, was a housewife who was also a guitar picker and singer with her two sisters. Al listened every Saturday Night to the Grand Ole Opry, and was inspired by the music of Hank Williams Sr. As a teenager, he began playing rhythm guitar to accompany his singing, and his startling expressive voice won him first and second place in local talent shows. In March 1953, Al enlisted in the army. He served for three years, including an 18-month tour of duty in Korea. He was honorably discharged from the service, having attained the rank of corporal in the military police.

When Al left the army, he came out to a significantly changed world of music. Rock & Roll was the latest craze, and Elvis Presley became Al's new favorite. Al's own vocal performances sounded a lot like Elvis naturally. Al settled in Bakersfield, California, and it was here, at the Blackboard Cafe, that Al met Buck Owens. Al and Buck made music together, often with Bill Woods and The Orange Blossom Playboys. Around this time, Al made his television debut on the Los Angeles based show "Rocket To Stardom."

In 1957, Joe Keplinger (aka Jolly Jody) hired Al to be the lead singer for his group, Jolly Jody and The Go Daddies, and they packed in 3500 at the county fairgrounds in Bakersfield. With the Go Daddies, Al recorded the "Rhonda Lee" and "Go Daddy Rock"for the Tally label. The two sides were picked up by ABC Paramount in February 1959. During this time he also appeared on Cousin Herb Henson's TV show, called the "Trading Post Gang", in Bakersfield. The show was mainly for country acts; Buck Owens was a regular.

Al later signed with LaGree Records in Hollywood. The initial recordings were "I Need You" and "Young and Wild", cut at Gold Star Studios and issued in 1960. Liberty Records leased them for nationwide release. "I Need You" was a number one hit in El Paso, Texas for 6 weeks. Alan Freed was playing the flipside "Young and Wild" every hour on his radio show in Los Angeles. "I Need You" also made the top 20 in San Diego. Al appeared on the Wink Martindale television show at Pacific Ocean Beach and at Art Laboe's show at Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

Hendrix then signed with Pike Records in Bakersfield and cut four more sides at Gold Star. Of these, "Monkey Bite" and "For Sentimental Reasons" were released in 1962. "Monkey Bite" got great reviews but limited distribution because the lyrics were too sexually descriptive. The Pike session produced two more tracks, "Jumpin' Johnny" and "Fooling Around" which remained unissued until 1985 when White label in Holland released them.

During these years. Al played all over the Los Angeles area at county fairs, shopping centers, clubs, and military bases in Southern California. He also appeared on the Bakersfield television shows hosted by Jimmy Thomason. One of his bands was Al and The Country Mixers, which performed on radio, TV, and at entertainment centers in the area.

The sudden death of his publisher and hospitalization of his manager interrupted plans for bigger shows. But in 1971, Al released two more songs on LaGree, "Georgia Kate" and 'Wait Until You Get a Whiff of My After Shave lotion" (also called "Mixing Fun" and "Shaving lotion".)

Music fans didn't hear much from Al Hendrix for a few years, but in 2006 he got together with producer and engineer Jimmi Accardi to make a CD of old and new material. Al went back into the studio with great enthusiasm and the same vibrant singing voice. New releases indude "Good Girl I Ain't Got", "When I'm loving You", "Rainbow's End", "Diabetic Man", "The DJ", "I Can Tell", "Cock Fighter", and "The Answer To It All". Al is also working on another CD of new songs which will include some country gospel.

AI Hendrix comments: "I was raised on hamburgers and the Grand Ole Opry. I always liked country music. My mother was from Georgia and my father from Florida, and I grew up on it. ... It makes you happy when you entertain people. I love show business; I really dig it. It's great when you feel you're doing something for people."










Posted April, 2008




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