Thursday, August 3, 2017

Flying Cars, Bad Movies, Weird TV, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, and Oh, Yeah, Occasionally The Blues – My Eleven Years With Henry Cook

What can I tell ya? Anytime I go out somewhere and someone recognizes my voice, the first question is generally, “What’s Henry Cook really like…” Seems everyone wants to pull back the curtain on this notoriously elusive semi-celebrity.
Henry is a strange duck, and he would be the first to admit it. For one thing, he can pull quotes from obscure movies, television shows, and records like most people remember their PIN number. He’s so attentive to details that it borders on the obsessive. Nah, that’s not right – he is obsessive. He’s meticulous and gets a little upset sometimes when others are not nearly as attentive and meticulous as he is.
But he is not without humor. Good God, we would never be able to co-exist if we didn’t have that bond. People sometimes ask why I am always laughing and the simple truth is, Henry is incredibly funny. I spent 15 years as a stand-up comedian and don’t laugh at everything, but some of the weirdness that comes out of Henry’s mouth is hysterical. We’ve done a couple of shows where we reverse our roles and Henry plays the straight man, and those shows are never as good as when we just go with the flow and see where his warped mind takes us.
Which brings me to his obsession with the flying cars. He really wants one. He was having a string of bad luck with his last car; it seemed like every week there was something new wrong with it. He went through tires, engine parts, brakes, and finally part of the floorboards before he got rid of it and got a new used car.
That’s another thing about Mr. Cook, he’s extremely loyal. If you are at least trying to perform at his standard, he will work with you, and once you are his friend, unless you do something drastic, you are his friend for life. Trust me, I know… If he couldn’t get rid of his car until it was falling apart like the Bluesmobile at the end of the first Blues Brothers, imagine what he will do for the people in his life.
Anyway, he was frustrated over the automobile situation and happened to remark that it was the 21st Century and we were promised flying cars by all the Science Fiction movies, and most of all, The Jetsons.
Kind of hard to argue with logic like that. If you can’t trust Hannah Barbera, who can you trust?
That lead to Henry doing research and coming up with an article about an engineer who had built a prototype of a flying car, and bang, we had a premise for a show.
Since that time, he’s collected every article he can find about people trying to create one of these cars and he keeps them in a folder so he can go back and re-read them and dream of flying around the city in his brand new airmobile. One day I expect to come to the station and find him tethered to four drones while trying to achieve liftoff. I hope I didn’t give him any ideas…
That’s how we create things at Time For The Blues. One of us, usually Henry, will see something on television or hear something on the radio that triggers a visceral response. Like recently he had an encounter with one of those self-check-out lanes at the supermarket and that sent him off on a three-day laugh fest. He even recorded the voice getting ticked at him and yeah, that got turned into a show as well.
Don’t even get me started about our idea for Celebrity GPSes. The world may not be ready for that…
And what does that have to do with this week’s show, you ask? Well, it’s the 11th Anniversary of Time For The Blues and we’re feeling a little nostalgic.
I know, I can’t believe it either. When we started out doing this program, no one, ourselves included, thought we would last longer than six weeks. Surely by then we would run out of material and implode. Fortunately for us, we found ways of supplementing our miniscule collection of CDs and album – I bought a few things and inherited a couple of hundred CDs, Henry found some electronic services, and slowly but surely, publicists and artists found us and began sending us new material and it’s snowballed from there.
Now, it’s rare for any time to go by before we’re seeing a new pile of CDs land on my desk for us to consider. Almost every day is like Christmas, or my birthday, with presents to open. You can see some of these great CDs behind me along with a couple of toys that decorate the shelves in my portion of the office I share with two other people.
Henry has an office all his own, but then he needs one with all the computers and equipment that he needs access to on a daily basis. Since he’s the guy who works his tucces off to keep the station on the air…
What are we playing this weekend? Glad you asked. We’re looking back (of course) at some of our favorite highlights from when we got started and where we’ve visited. We’ll have some of our favorites, like the time we interviewed Charlie Musselwhite and he was gracious enough to cut a promo for us. Henry’s got some cool crossovers – artists and groups who don’t normally play the blues, playing the blues.
And we’ve found a great way to visit the great James Brown, so make sure you’ve got your funky dancing shoes on!
So, do what you have to do to join us at 11. Sleep late, take a nap, grab that caffeine, just be sure to join us. So, do what you have to do to join us at 11. Sleep late, take a nap, grab that caffeine, just be sure to join us. This is going to be a very special episode!
We’re going to have a great time and we sure would love for you to come along for the ride. You know where we’re going to be, point your browser to or join us on one of the Idea Stations: 89.1 WCVN, Northern Neck; 90.1 WMVE, Chase City; and the flagship, 88.9 WCVE-FM, Richmond, where it’s always Time For The Blues!
**Hey, if you are looking for some great shows to see this summer, may I recommend some of the following:
Thursday, August 10
Bobby "BlackHat" Walters      Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 6:00 PM Richmond Jazz Festival
Saturday, August 12
Tajmo (Taj Mahal and Keb Mo)       Maymont, 5:30 PM Richmond Jazz Festival
Sunday, August 13
Robert Cray        Maymont, 5:15 PM Richmond Jazz Festival
Friday, August 18
Janiva Magness   Tin Pan, 8:00 PM (doors 6:00), $30-35
Friday, September 8
Selwyn Birchwood        Capital Ale House Downtown, 8:30 PM
September 23
Robert Randolph And The Family Band with Big Mama Shakes at The Broadberry $25-$28
Saturday, October 21
ZZ Top       Altria Theater, 8:00 PM

Our Live Music Correspondent, Anita Schlank, is always finding the great shows to see. For these, and so many other great shows coming to town, take a look at the River City Blues Society’s Calendar page at    

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