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Judy Henske

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Judy Henske (born 20 December 1942, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin) is an American singer and songwriter, once known as “the Queen of the Beatniks”.
She moved to California in the early 1960s, singing in coffee houses in San Diego and Los Angeles, and working with the likes of Lenny Bruce. Moving on to Oklahoma, she worked with ex-Kingston Trio member Dave Guard and the Whiskeyhill Singers, recording an album.

After they disbanded she returned to Hollywood, gaining the attention of Jac Holzman and Elektra Records, for whom she made three solo albums. The first of these highlighted her offbeat humour in her live performances; the second featured the song High Flying Bird, a minor hit later covered by many bands of the era including Jefferson Airplane. During this time she worked extensively as a solo singer in New York, working among others with Woody Allen (with whom she had a relationship – the character Annie Hall, born in Chippewa Falls, was allegedly inspired by her).

After a failed attempt in the mid-60s by Mercury Records to present her as an all-round entertainer, she returned in 1969 with her husband Jerry Yester (previously of The Lovin’ Spoonful), making the remarkable baroque / psychedelic folk album Farewell Aldebaran for Frank Zappa’s Straight Records. The pair then formed a band, Rosebud, making a further album before they separated and Henske returned to domestic life with new husband, musician Craig Doerge.

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