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GA Russell

Ronnie Hawkins, RIP

6 posts in this topic

I thought the NYT Obit was interesting since I really didn't know that much about him other than the Band connection and his wild reputation.

What also caught my eye was that it was on the same page as Alan White's obituary and BOTH had connections to John and Yoko's Toronto period

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I was of course aware of who he was on the Rockabilly scene of the later 50s almost from my early collecting days starting in the mid-70s. Though at the time it took some filtering beyond the usual comments on him and his backing band The Hawks that became The Band, an aspect that of course was blown up out of proportion in any accessible info on him back in the 70s when info on those 50s acts who were more than just footsoldiers but certainly not kings (to paraphrase one publication by Wayne Russell) relied on accessible facts for readers weaned only on then-current acts. Not much later I managed to grab a reissue LP of about half his original 50s Roulette recordings and was really smitten by his drive and punch. Some time before (groping for anything available at all by those 50s acts beyond the usual big-hit suspects in my youthful urge) I had taken my chances on a copy of his 1971 "The Hawk" album on Cotillion but cannot really say I agreed with one (capsule) biographer who claimed he "rocked better than ever" on that album. It wasn't bad but to my ears it remained a somewhat uneasy mix of Hawkins trying to straddle the fence between modernized reworkings of rockabilly classics, relatively contemporary country sounds and Southern "hard" rock backing band overtones. An "evolution" that tried to cover too many bases at the same time IMO and somehow neither flesh nor fowl overall. 
Anyway, I may well spin this in remembrance again (for the first time in decades) - so ... RIP; Ronnie!

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I liked this: "He first performed in Canada in the late ’50s and realized he would stand out far more in a country where homegrown rock still barely existed. Canadian musicians had often moved to the U.S. to advance their careers, but Hawkins was the rare American to try the reverse."

And this: “When the music got a little too far out for Ronnie’s ear,” Robertson told Rolling Stone in 1978, “or he couldn’t tell when to come in singing, he would tell us that nobody but Thelonious Monk could understand what we were playing. But the big thing with him was that he made us rehearse and practice a lot. Often we would go and play until 1 a.m. and then rehearse until 4.”

Finally, it made sense to me that Dylan, growing up near the Canadian border and probably hearing Canadian radio, was aware of the Hawks and pulled them for his touring band.

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As is frequently mentioned, he gave a riveting performance of Who Do You Love (Bo Diddley tune) in the film The Last Waltz.

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Posted (edited)

39 minutes ago, mjzee said:

I liked this: "He first performed in Canada in the late ’50s and realized he would stand out far more in a country where homegrown rock still barely existed. "

Ted Daigle.
Bob & Lucille.
Ray St.Germain.
Les Vote.
Bob King.
plus the amusing occasional R'n'R excursion by Ted Benoit ...
etc ... :P

But of course Ronnie Hawkins was right. Being American (and therefore coming from the "right" country for R'n'R) must have given him a big push.

39 minutes ago, mjzee said:

And this: “When the music got a little too far out for Ronnie’s ear,” Robertson told Rolling Stone in 1978, “or he couldn’t tell when to come in singing, he would tell us that nobody but Thelonious Monk could understand what we were playing.”

:lol:

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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