Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Blues, Folk, Pop
Because he was a black man with an acoustic guitar, Ted Hawkins often falls into the blues category, but this description ignores prominent elements of his music. A better description comes from writer Peter Guralnick, who... more »
Because he was a black man with an acoustic guitar, Ted Hawkins often falls into the blues category, but this description ignores prominent elements of his music. A better description comes from writer Peter Guralnick, who called it simply a "rural adaptation of contemporary soul music." In his "rural soul," Hawkins incorporates the direct approach of Delta blues, the resignation of country music, the honest and idiosyncratic lyrics of folk, the hope of gospel, and the rich and tender vocals of soul. On this 1994 live album, Hawkins's urgent guitar strumming and infectious singing captivates and connects with the audience--after all, playing solo in front of a crowd is where Hawkins had the most practice, after years of Venice Beach busking. "All I Have to Offer You Is Me" was a hit for Charley Pride, country music's most celebrated African American performer. Hawkins renders a gripping a cappella version of John Fogerty's "Long as I Can See the Light," and his reading of Webb Pierce's honky-tonk staple "There Stands the Glass" is a perfect example of the emotional investment in whatever he sings. Even a simple testament to love like the original "Groovy Little Things" becomes a moving, spiritual moment. --Marc Greilsamer
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I don't usually gush, but this one rates it
Andrew D. Nelson | Texas City, TX USA | 01/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the 3 or 4 best albums of any genre that I've ever heard. If that sounds like hyperbole, I'm sorry, but Ted Hawkins had it all: emotional directness, great taste in covers, perfect pitch, wonderful playing--he had it all in a way very few musicians do. His interpretive efforts are as strong as any by giants like Otis Redding and Patsy Cline. What clinches it for me is his songwriting: besides being emotionally mature and honest, it's incredibly literate and fresh. I mean, "The Good and the Bad" alone has several classic lines; when you hear him sing that "Sugar is noooooo gooood/Once it's cast among the white sands"--wow. His songs stand right up to his covers: when you can write as well as Jesse Winchester and John Fogerty, well that's sayin' something. I've been a fan since 1986 (Happy Hour): this is his best work, although it leaves a few classics off."
I bought a copy for my father
Patrick Earley | 02/03/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Finding Ted's final album in a store in Boston on my first US trip, I stood for over an hour, headphones clasped to my head, amazed at the warmth and openness of every track.My wife and I had seen Ted only once, in Southport, England nearly 10 years ago, but we had never forgotten his music.I hadn't heard the first song he sang in Southport since that night, but when Ted began Missing Mississippi on track 19, the great paddle wheels of the river turned just like they had done all those years before.Robeson singing 'the folks I used to know'; Belafonte at Carnegie Hall; surely, Ted's sometimes beautiful, and perhaps more importantly, always honest rendition of his own and others' songs, is a life giving event of equal greatness.After an hour or so, the CD came to an end. I wiped away a small tear and bought 2 copies - one for my wife and one for my father - it was the least I could do. As a child, our home was filled with the sound of Johnny Cash, Charley Pride and Creedence Clearwater Revival - all reborn in Ted's inspired interpretations."
"I'm gonna have a good time tonight!" And he sure did.
Patrick Earley | 01/15/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The vintage busker from Venice, California, sits himself on a milk crate and with the support of his guitar he belts out a few memorial street ballads. From his very own compositions, he sings of love, jealousy and the whole damn thing. But what makes this man unique is his aging raspy voice that entices you to listen to this wise old man who has plenty to say. In LADDER OF SUCCESS he hands out his advice on how to make it to the top of the hills. "No matter what you know, you got to know somebody who knows somebody to lend you a helping hand,"and that is the key to the entertainment industry. He also manages to leave a lump in your throat when he bellows out those words of passion, "Baby!" in STRANGE CONVERSATION. Then you find yourself musing over SORRY YOU'RE SICK, "What do you want from the liquor store? Something sour, something sweet? I'll buy you all your belly will hold, you can be sure you won't suffer no more." Ted Hawkins died in 1995 after recording this last album. His career had just kick started and he had places to go. In BIG THINGS, he tells us that he needs to keep on moving on because he has been fooling around for too long and now it's time to write songs with stories to tell that will live on after his death. And yes, they do live on in this classic album."