Dale Hawkins: Oh! Suzy-Q; The Definitive and Remastered Edition (Hoodoo)

 |   |  1 min read

Dale Hawkins: Suzy-Q
Dale Hawkins: Oh! Suzy-Q; The Definitive and Remastered Edition (Hoodoo)

If he'd done nothing else other than his tough-edged swamp-rockabilly hit Suzy-Q, Dale Hawkins out of Louisiana would still have made the rock'n'roll history books: Suzy-Q was co-written with guitarist James Burton who plays the stinging and memorable solo, and it took Hawkins to the Apollo in Harlem where he was the first white rock'n'roll/rockabilly singer to play that prestigious place.

But there was more to Hawkins than that one song, albeit a pretty terrific one. His 1958 album on the Chess label which featured the song -- this one, here remastered and with extra tracks -- was bristling with sassy, sharp and sometimes witty rockabilly/swamp rock'n'roll, featured three tracks with Roy Buchanan on guitar, had songs with a bluesy edge (Heaven) and on material like Wild Wild World he proved what a smart songwriter he was in his idiom.

The additional tracks -- 12 more -- show the high regard in which he was held by fellow musicians: among the players are Willie Dixon, Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana (of Elvis' early sessions), and Leonard Chess himself handled much of the production.

Hawkins' career was remarkably short however: Suzy-Q had no strong follow-up single despite the talent on hand, although the songs here crackle with energy. Hawkins shifted labels, went into production (the Five Americans' Western Union was one of his) and then fell prey to benzedrine addiction and quit the business.

He started a rehab centre, built a studio in the mid Nineties and in '99 released his first album of new material in 30 years. He died in February 2010.

Rockabilly fans and lovers of early rock'n'roll will delight in this album . . . and Suzy-Q -- covered by the young Stones and Creedence Clearwater Revival among many others -- is a bona fide classic.

Like that? Then try this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Nick Drake: Family Tree (Island/Universal)

Nick Drake: Family Tree (Island/Universal)

There is a very good case to be made that Nick Drake (1948-74) was like a Robert Johnson of British folk, leaving behind a small but compelling body of songs, and few clues to the nature of his... > Read more

Blackfield: Blackfield IV (Kscope/Southbound)

Blackfield: Blackfield IV (Kscope/Southbound)

This century has seen the rehabilitation of prog-rock. Generations which weren't around for punk's late Seventis scorched-earth policy towards progressive tendencies are finding something in... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE BARGAIN BUY: Frankie Miller: Original Album Series

THE BARGAIN BUY: Frankie Miller: Original Album Series

Curious how some artists can command a ferociously loyal audience but remain unknown to most. I know of Brits who hold Frankie Miller in the pantheon of great soul, rhythm and blues and rock... > Read more

VOLUME SOUTH AT MIT (2018): The songs and stories from the streets

VOLUME SOUTH AT MIT (2018): The songs and stories from the streets

The Volume: Making Music in Aotearoa exhibition -- seven decades of New Zealand popular music -- which ran at the Auckland museum from late 2016 to May 2017 was an extraordinary success.... > Read more