Clarence "Frogman" Henry is a New Orleans legend who has left the rock-and-roll world with some memorable songs.
Clarence was born in Algiers, Louisiana in 1937. As a child he studied piano and the trombone, instruments that he became somewhat accomplished in playing and which he is still playing to this day. He joined Bobby Mitchell's R&B band in 1953 and stayed with them for about two years before going on to other bands in the New Orleans area. He tried his hand at songwriting and recording also.
In late 1956 a song that Clarence had written helped him to become somewhat of an overnight sensation. That song was Ain't Got No Home. The song was leased to Argo Records in Chicago, with Clarence singing in a falsetto voice when he says he can "sing like a girl" and in a contrived, humorous voice when he says he can "sing like a frog." It was a fun novelty hit that vaulted to the number 3 position on the R&B charts and to number 20 on the pop charts. It also served to give the nineteen-year-old a nickname that would stick with him for life, "Frogman." The flip side of Ain't Got No Home was also very good. Titled Troubles, Troubles, it was an uptempo song on which Clarence shared writing credits with bandleader Paul Gayten.
Clarence Henry continued to perform around New Orleans in the late Fifties and early Sixties before he came up with his next big hit. Once again on the Argo label, he had two more records reach the Top Twenty, But I Do [also known as I Don't Know Why] and You Always Hurt The One You Love. The latter had been a number one hit for the Mills Brothers in 1944. These records were produced by Gayten and legendary New Orleans record producer Allen Toussaint. There were other minor hits also, such as On Bended Knees/Standing In The Need Of Love and Lonely Street. He switched to the Parrot label and just missed with a record titled Have You Ever Been Lonely.
Clarence Henry has been active on the music scene in New Orleans for many years since his fling with the charts. He performs in clubs and he is well known and well liked in his native city. His home was damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but he was not injured.
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