One-Man Band and Oddball Songman Homer Henderson 1952-2022

The man behind “Lee Harvey Was a Friend of Mine” has died

One-Man Band and Oddball Songman Homer Henderson 1952-2022

Homer Henderson – the fiery, hilarious renegade songwriter and one-man band – has passed away, though details of his death are as obscure as the records he put out.

The singer/guitarist/drummer/harmonica-player (often simultaneously), real name Phil Bennison, co-wrote and performed "Lee Harvey Was a Friend of Mine," an underground 1985 single about a childhood friendship with the alleged JFK assassin that's been so often covered – including by Asylum Street Spankers, Laura Cantrell, and Oswald's girlfriend Judyth Vary Baker – it qualifies as a folk song.

"I think we wrote most of it while we were driving around drinking Slurpees and smoking weed," the Continental Club and Antone's regular, raised in North Texas, told the Chronicle in 2013.

Henderson specialized in Norton Records-style raw blues but also treaded in novelty music, like the humorous "Hillbilly Pecker" about being uncircumcised. Sadly, the Austinite's brash demeanor involved – in recent years – using racist language to express right-wing beliefs.

Known for his impressive one-man-band skills, which Gary Clark Jr. told the Chronicle inspired him to attempt the style ("[the bass drum] would slide and I'd be chasing it around the stage. So I gave up. I figured I would leave that to him."), Henderson also recorded with Eve & the Exiles, 3 Balls of Fire, and the esteemed late music journalist and biographer Nick Tosches, including on the 1998 gem "The Sweet Thighs of Mother Mary."

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Homer Henderson, Philip Bennison, Nick Tosches

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