Unnoted and obscure except to those who frequently passed him by, Ted Hawkins sat on a milk crate on the Venice Beach boardwalk for years as a street performer and passed the hat. Although he strummed an acoustic guitar, he wasn't a blues or folk artist; he was a rough-edged soul/country singer in the fashion of his biggest hero, Sam Cooke. This was Hawkins' first major-label release (though his sixth album overall). That passionate soulfulness in his raspy voice and insistent guitar dominates the foreground, even though producer Tony Berg tastefully mixed in supportive musicians. Listeners have good reason to be suspicious when critics hail a largely unkown street singer as a major talent, but Hawkins, who died shortly after this album's release in March 1994, was the real thing. Analogue Productions has drawn out Hawkins' soulful and gritty voice, embracing rawness and emotion, in this new 200-gram 33 1/3 reissue. Mastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio from the original analog tapes, and plated and pressed by Quality Record Pressings, this LP presents one of the best performances from a true artist. And it comes in a premium Stoughton Printing gatefold tip-on jacket with additional photography. If, as one reviewer said, Cooke himself had bounced in and out of prison all of his life and ended up singing on the street with an acoustic guitar, it's hard to imagine how he would have sounded any different than this.
Ted Hawkins: The Next Hundred Years
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