I have to admit that as a young person, it was the music of Ted Hawkins that demonstrated to me more than anything else that soul music and country music are two sides of the same coin. Ted taught me that it's all about context. I didn't know at the time that many of the songs he covered were classic country songs. I just loved his music, whatever it was.
I always saw a straight musical genealogical line from Sam Cooke to Otis Redding to Ted Hawkins. The three are intrinsically connected in my head. Yet, Ted didn't have the reach or influence of the other two. But he did die somewhat prematurely on the brink of something big, just like the other two.
For younger folks who might not be aware of Ted's story, I'll try to give the nutshell version. Ted Hawkins had a rough 'n' tumble childhood in Biloxi. Surviving by the skin of his teeth, he became inspired to become a musician through the music of Sam Cooke and later Otis Redding. He ended up recording a small handful of singles in the 60s, then spent the rest of his days as a busker in Venice Beach, Ca. A couple of well-meaning record label dudes "discovered" him at different times over the next two decades. He was popular in Europe but mostly ignored in the states. However, in the early 90s he recorded a slickly produced album that (at the time) nicely showcased his talent to a modern audience. It was well-received and gaining momentum when Hawkins died of a stroke at age 58. He was on tour at the time and I was planning on seeing him. Alas, it wasn't meant to be.
The record of the day (actually from an LP) is Ted's country composition "My Last Goodbye" recorded with his wife Elizabeth in 1985 for Rounder Records. A classic honky tonk bopper by a man whose talent was too unique to be easily packaged and sold by the music industry. It was too real for the 80s, too raw for an era of synthetic plastic dreams. The 90s could handle him. I wonder how he would have handled the 90s.
DJ Action Slacks
I'm excited to highlight some of my favorite records in a variety of genres (soul, R&B, classic country, rockabilly, oldies, garage rock, etc). These won't all necessarily be "dance" records per se. They will all be records that I believe deserve a special listen. I simply love good music, rare or not. Hopefully you will spend some time here and love music right along with me! Lets give this a shot!