Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Silly Songs: Ain't Got No Home

Clarence "Frogman" Henry: Ain't Got No Home


In Ain't Got No Home, longtime New Orleans resident, Clarence "Frogman" Henry, is pretty straightforward - he tells us he can sing like a girl and a frog (hence the nickname). Listen to the hilarity ensue as Frogman croaks like an amphibian after he squeezes out a falsetto - a very silly song, indeed. In his own words:

I was working at a service station in New Orleans and when I got off work, I would pass a club called the Brass Rail where Paul Gayten played. I admired him playing, I'd stand on the sidewalk lookin' inside the club. Paul was the A&R man for Leonard Chess and I would relieve Paul on Monday at the Brass Rail. I started singin' a song called Ain't Got No Home in the Old Joy Lounge in Gretna. I played it for Paul and Paul sent it up to Leonard Chess, and Leonard Chess came down to hear it. When Leonard heard it he told Paul to break it up into different parts with the girl and the frog. I had written Lonely Tramp before Ain't Got No Home. What happened, Shirley and Lee were from New Orleans and were hot during that time. I didn't have a female singer in the band, so I had to switch my voice like a girl, but how I do the frog I don't know. On the West Bank, Algiers, you had the alligators and frogs and I used to imitate the frog in school, to scare the girls! Leonard Chess put my record in the garbage, he wanted to keep it in mind, but I wouldn't be the artist. It was "make it or break it", that's what they called it. A disc jockey called Poppa Stoppa here in New Orleans was pushin' Troubles Troubles for the A-side and he flipped it over to Ain't Got No Home and the people was crazy over it. They didn't know the title of the song or who was singin' it so they said - "Play the Frog song by the Frogman". I happened to be in the studio and he said, "From now on your name is Frogman." - Clarence "Frogman" Henry

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