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Lenny Breau, Don Francks, Eon Henstridge:
“At the Purple Onion”

(Art of Life AL1009-2)

Discography | Digital Downloads | About the Music | Liner Notes | Selected Quotations

Lenny Breau, Don Francks, Eon Henstridge: "At the Purple Onion"

Lenny Breau: guitar
Don Francks: vocals
Eon Henstridge: acoustic bass

CD $9.99

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Introduction

A New Electric Chair
(Listen with Real Audio: lo-fi)

The Surrey With The Fringe On Top
(Listen with Real Audio: lo-fi)

The Newspaper Song
(Listen with Real Audio: lo-fi)

Gum Addiction
(Listen with Real Audio: lo-fi)

Tea For Two
(Listen with Real Audio: lo-fi)

A Gentile Sings The Blues
(Listen with Real Audio: lo-fi)

Work Song
(Listen with Real Audio: lo-fi)

Oscar's Blues

Joey's Solo

All tracks previously unreleased.

Digital Downloads {top}

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WAV or FLAC Digital Download $9.99


FORMAT



About the Music {top}

Following in the footsteps of Lenny Breau's-"The Hallmark Sessions" CD (Art of Life AL1007-2), "At The Purple Onion" captures Lenny performing in a live trio date recorded at the Purple Onion club in Toronto, Canada in August of 1962. This 68-minute previously unreleased live recording features Canadian singer/actor Don Francks on vocals and acoustic bassist Eon Henstridge. The original analog reel-to-reel master tapes have been in the possession of Lenny's former manager, George B. Sukornyk, for over forty years. Includes liner notes by Don Francks, Joey Hollingsworth, George B. Sukornyk and Ron Forbes-Roberts author of the biography: One Long Tune: The Life and Music of Lenny Breau. All tracks have been professionally mastered using 24-bit digital technology.

Liner Notes {top}

The wine cellar held more than just fine vintage wines. It was also the secure resting place for some rare Lenny Breau, the now renowned guitarist.

What guided manager George B. Sukornyk to store the tape there in that inner sanctum where it would remain in pristine condition for more than 40 years may never be known, but whomever or whatever it was, thank you!

This once forgotten recording follows in the footsteps of the recently released Lenny Breau-"The Hallmark Sessions" CD (Art of Life AL1007-2) taped in Toronto, Canada in 1961 when George first brought Lenny from Winnipeg.

"At The Purple Onion" was taped in a crowded coffeehouse one evening in 1962 when the Yorkville district of downtown Toronto was blossoming with Folksingers, Jazz clubs, poets, writers, artists and restless young people seeking freedom of expression and lifestyle. Talent abounded and this was the right locale for Lenny to be seen and heard.

George brought Lenny and I together at his house in the burbs and from the moment we met we rejoiced in our eclectic love for all music and unbridled need for creativity. Immediately a date was arranged to do a set at the Purple Onion (without any rehearsal) and I asked an amazing freethinking bass playing friend, Eon Henstridge, to join us knowing Lenny would find him a soul brother. George also managed a soft-spoken hoofer named Joey Hollingsworth and he booked him to come and present his tap dancin' Terpsichore and fantastic singing to the packed house (as long as he could have a quick rehearsal with Lenny).

The result of this impromptu jam at the Purple Onion (like "The Hallmark Sessions") is further proof that Lenny Breau was a totally accomplished guitarist. His facility, technical knowledge of the instrument, improvisational skill and individual expression are well represented here at this early stage of his all too short unbelievable career. This is not to say his playing did not constantly improve: it simply means his genius was already quite evident.

Always the perfectionist, Joey Hollingsworth shows what a dedicated, clean-living talent he was and still is, vocalizing and carrying on the tradition of tap dancing to this day.

Eon (as I called him) plays his antique German bass, lovingly nicknamed "Ruby Roundsound", with command and perfect timekeeping with innovative soloing pursuing and embracing the evolving lyrical form of Jazz playing being adopted by many young bassists of the time.

At this point of my life, in the late 50's, my main endeavor was experimentation and freeform and this is most apparent in this live club date. Iconoclastic stream-of-consciousness comedy, Jazz improvisation with scat singing, political theatre and assorted daring do, were all part of the era of the risk taker and flying by the seat of your pants was a great unknown; full of surprise for the audience and performer alike. So, with no rehearsal and no set list of definite tunes, Lenny, Eon and I began what was later to become an underground trio I named three performing in many clubs, television and radio shows, concerts and finally recording an album for Kapp Records in New York City's Village Vanguard entitled, "No One In This World Is Like Don Francks".

Three would turn out to be one of the most memorable musical associations of my life. Lenny and Eon are gone now and I miss and love them both beyond words. Peace.

Don Francks - August 2004

Selected Quotations {top}

The spoken words and vocalese of Don Francks are pronounced over Lenny Breau's cool blues guitar and walking bass of Eon Henstridge. Known as Three, they ad lib over the first 5 tracks but with coordination and humor, especially "Gum Addiction". Francks' rearranged lyrics on "Tea For Two" stretch the boundaries and are nicely balanced by Lenny's explosive solos. The addition of tap dancer Joey Hollingsworth for the final 3 songs caps a very entertaining session.
D. Oscar Groomes - O's Place Jazz Newsletter

All fans of Lenny Breau will want to check out this previously unreleased CD...
Ken Dryden - All Music Guide

I just received my copy of the new CD in the mail this morning, sitting at work and listening with headphones, and it is totally blowing me away!!! Don Francks is really manic on this set, he is so creative, associative, energetic, wild, funny... Kudos to Art of Life Records and George B. Sukornyk and Paul G. Kohler!!! I really think they should receive an award for historic releases this year!!
Eli M. - Israel



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