Warren Henderson

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While there's only a slim chance that most people know who either of them are, Warren "Slim" Henderson of Asheville, NC, should not be confused with the tenor saxophonist known as Slim Henderson…
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While there's only a slim chance that most people know who either of them are, Warren "Slim" Henderson of Asheville, NC, should not be confused with the tenor saxophonist known as Slim Henderson whose recording career began even earlier, as in the Roaring Twenties. The North Carolinian slide guitarist began to be heard on Appalachian radios about a decade later, broadcasting from WWNC in Asheville as a musical sidekick to early country legend Jimmie Rodgers.

Aside from that partnership with the so-called "singing brakeman" it could be said there were no brakes on Henderson's career in the newly developing country genre well into the '40s. He ruled over his own live radio show from the Nashville Grand Ole Opry and was garnering attention from picking enthusiasts for his style of fretting with a pocketknife. Then one fateful night Henderson decided to get inebriated on the air. Draining several bottles of strong hooch, the popular broadcaster slipped into a dark alternate personality. Old-timers in Asheville still discuss the contents of Henderson's show that night.

"He was singin' all them dirty words," local coffeeshop proprietor John Rajdub said, stepping over a huddle of spare-changers on an Asheville street. "My grandpa told me," he went on. "They used to talk about it all the time, him and his old pals. Never heard nothin' like it. Weren't no dang, goldarn, gosh-a-mighty swearin' neither. This here was the real deal. You can still hear some of them old-timers sittin' up there on the porch talkin' about the night all them dirty words went down!"

Henderson was fired; nobody in the puritanical Nashville would touch him after that, at least nobody in the position to authorize a paycheck. Following a time-honored tradition, Henderson limped back to North Carolina after being humiliated in his business elsewhere. Other opportunities awaited of course in Cackalackie. Henderson apparently ran a moonshine still, or at least bragged as much to his grandson, rocker Bobby DeVito.