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Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks:
The Best of Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks

[cover art]

[CD cover]

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Ronnie Hawkins was one of the few rock'n'rollers committed to performing and recording unapologetic rockabilly while others were returning to their country roots or going the teen idol route. This 18-song compilation focuses mostly on his initial burst of activity for Roulette in 1959 and 1960, with a few later odds and ends thrown in. While he deserves respect for keeping the torch of rock'n'roll's roots burning during some of its leaner years, he didn't match the greatness of rockabilly's kingpins. His voice and performance was energetic but not brilliant; his material was a bit pedestrian. The best of these tunes are "Mary Lou" (his sole top 30 hit), "Forty Days" (an update of Chuck Berry's "Thirty Days"), and "One Of These Days" (later covered by the Searchers). What he's really known for, of course, is giving a bunch of mostly Canadian kids their start as his backing band, the Hawks. This later edition of the Hawks eventually toured with Bob Dylan and evolved into the Band. Only two of these songs, though, feature that lineup (the 1963 single "Bo Diddley"/"Who Do You Love"). On "Who Do You Love" especially, Robbie Robertson lets rip with a roaring solo that's a good few years ahead of its time in its manic distorted intensity. It's by far the most exciting track on this compilation of a respectable but minor performer from rock's early days.
-- Richie Unterberger, All-Music Guide

This is a shorter collection, with a little overlap with the 1995 Sequel records set. It is a fun collection, and it fleshes out one's sense of where the Band guys came from, but there is actually much less of the Band itself on this one. Levon plays drums on all but one of the tracks, and Robbie is on quite a few, but only two songs - "Bo Diddley" and "Who Do You Love" - have the full band on them. Cut 18, "Down in the Alley", is a track recorded in 1970 with the Muscle Shoals Ala. rhythm section and a fabulous display of blues guitar from Duane Allmann.

Band members are playing on these cuts: Levon: Drums on all but track 18; Robbie: Lead guitar on 11, 14, 16, 17; Rick: Bass guitar on 11, 16, rhythm guitar on 14 and 17 (Roy Buchanen is on bass for 14 and 17); Richard: Piano on 14 and 17 (Alas - the Rhino collection is Garth-free).


1. Thirty Days (Berry) MPEG-3 file (97K)
2. Forty Days (Berry) MPEG-3 file (97K)
3. Mary Lou (Jesse/Bihari) MPEG-3 file (97K)
4. Wild Little Willy (Hawkins/Magill) MPEG-3 file (97K)
5. Oh Sugar (Hawkins/Magill) MPEG-3 file (97K)
6. One of These Days (Hawkins/Magill) MPEG-3 file (97K)
7. Dizzy Miss Lizzy (Williams) MPEG-3 file (97K)
8. Odessa (Hawkins/Magill) MPEG-3 file (97K)
9. Sick and Tired (Kenner/Bartholomew) MPEG-3 file (97K)
10. Baby Jean (Hawkins/Magill/Helm) MPEG-3 file (97K)
11. Come Love (Oliver) MPEG-3 file (97K)
12. Hey Boba Lou (Hawkins/Magill/Robertson) MPEG-3 file (97K)
13. Ruby Baby (Leiber/Stoller) MPEG-3 file (97K)
14. Bo Diddley (McDaniel) MPEG-3 file (97K)
15. Clara (Hawkins) MPEG-3 file (97K)
16. I Feel Good (Lee) MPEG-3 file (97K)
17. Who Do You Love (McDaniel) MPEG-3 file (97K)
18. Down in the Alley (Stone) MPEG-3 file (97K)

The Best of Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks - 1990 - 45:13 - Rhino Records RHI70966

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