Snippets of A Blessed Life
1957, I am nine years old, drinking a coke and chomping on a strawberry Turkish taffy. I was grooving on “Que Sera Sera” and “How Much Is that Doggie in the Window”. And then, “All Shook Up” came on the radio shaking me out of my reverie and into my destiny.
At fifteen I took a taxi cab to my first gig. “Freddy and the Freeloaders” was born. I knew the four chords, A, F# minor, D, and E necessary to play virtually all of the popular songs played on the radio. For the next nine years we rocked Milwaukee while playing rock and roll and kickass R&B.
In 1974, David Zucker invited me to replace him in Kentucky Fried Theatre in Los Angeles. I bought a used camper and loaded it up with books, records, guitars, and pictures of Yogananda and headed out west.
Fortunately, I failed the audition so that I could pursue my real passion of music. I hooked up with some of my Milwaukee musicians and their new LA friends. Amy Madigan, Jesse Roe and I, did a gig at the famed Bla Bla Café. As it happened Chuck Plotkin, the VP of Electra Asylum Records was in the audience, and after the gig he came up to us and asked, “Would you like to do an album with my record company?” Our group was “Jelly” and the name of the album was “A True Story”.
We toured the country for two months and sold a whopping 37 records. As a consequence, we were dropped unceremoniously from the label.
A year later, Al Kooper saw me perform at the Troubadour with the “Freddy Bliffert Soul Review Band”. He signed me up soon after as a solo act. During this time, I was also honing my performance skills as a solo artist touring the Los Angeles nursing home circuit.
After a year of recording in various studios around the country, Al hands me a copy of the finished album. The cover is a bright red African sunset with a giraffe and in bold letters the name “Freddy Henry” appears with the title track, “Get It Out in The Open”. Apparently, Al thought that Bliffert sounded too much like a mid-west German lumber baron. Hence my middle name became my last name. After selling less albums than “Jelly” I moved back to Milwaukee with wife Susan and baby Emily. I assumed my life’s destiny as the yodeling lumber baron. With my wife we founded a non-profit, called “Blue Lotus Farm and Retreat Center” a naturally accessible day camp for the underserved members of our society.
Currently I have three amazing daughters, Emily, Theresa, and Kaita, four granddaughters, and an incredible wife Susan. I am grateful for all other family and friends that continue to support me. I spent 10 years with my acoustic sing-a-long band, the Blifftones and now I have just retired as President of the Bliffert Lumber company.
I have had a blessed life as a husband, father, and now grandfather, musician, business man, good citizen, and a devout follower of Parmahansa Yogananda.