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Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks: The Roulette Years

[cover art]

(2 CDs)

This is probably the Hawkins CD most worth hunting down for Band fans. It has everything on the Rhino album (except for cut 18, which is a track recorded in 1970). The two-CD set contains a lot of stuff with Levon drumming, and a fair bit of stuff with Robbie and Rick, and several songs with Garth and Richard too. Altogether there are six songs that feature the complete Band lineup backing Hawkins. Three of the songs are shelved recordings from the early 60's with the young Levon singing lead and Robbie and Rick on instruments (along with saxman Jerry Penfund), including an engaging version of "Further on up the Road". Quite a few of the songs have the complete Band/Hawks lineup in place (with one interesting substitution: Roy Buchanen plays bass and Rick Danko is on Rhythm guitar on versions of "Bo Diddley" and the version of "Who Do You Love?" that appears also on the Across the Great Divide box set). Garth Hudson contribute a few things to several cuts on this compilation (he is not playing on the Rhino collection), including a wild series of organ fills to "Bossman" in which you can hear intimations of the Garthhood to come. The CD pair contains a complete record of all the participants in the recording sessions Hawkins played in while with Roulette from 1958 to 1963.

The compilation includes "Suzie-Q", a good, but not great, cover of Ronnie's cousin Dale's hit, the Helm/Robertson/Danko/Penfound song "What a Party", "There's a Screw Loose" (there sure is, this track is worth the CD price), and "Kansas City" by Rockin' Ronald, although Ronnie says it's not him singing on that one.

Peter Viney on the tracks featuring The Band:

"The Roulette Years" is an essential album to have. There are some doubts as to the 100% accuracy of the notes but they list session dates and who did what. In the sense of "The Band" as the five members, I'm not sure there are any. The tracks include Jerry Penfound, the sixth Hawk. So that's the 7/5/63 session (dates are in British order) with the six Hawks: Bossman, High Blood Pressure, Instrumental intro, There's A Screw loose. Then there's a session on 2/2/62 mastered at a much later date with Arkansas (version 2), and two takes of Mojo Man. That's seven tracks, but five "songs."

The 1963 session that yielded Who Do You Love & Bo Diddley has four + Jerry Penfound, but no Garth. It adds Roy Buchanan and King Curtis.

Before that you're into three (Rick, Robbie, Levon) plus Jerry. 5 tracks from 18/9/61, five from 13/9/61, one from 15/9/61. There isn't a keyboard player listed on these at all. Go back earlier and you get just Levon & Robbie, and earlier still, just Levon.

--from The Band guestbook, November 2011


Disc 1

1. Ruby Baby
2. Forty Days
3. Horace
4. One of These Days
5. Whatcha Gonna Do
6. Wild Little Willy
7. Mary Lou AU file (233K)
8. Oh Sugar
9. Odessa
10. Need Your Lovin'
11. Red Hot
12. Dizzy Miss Lizzy AU file (249K)
13. Hay Ride
14. C-Riff Rock
15. Baby Jean AU file (239K)
16. Southern Love
17. Someone Like You
18. Hey Boba Lou
19. Love Me Like You Can
20. You Cheated, You Lied
21. Dreams Do Come True
22. Lonely Hours
23. Clara
24. Honey Don'T
25. Sick And Tired
26. Ballad of Caryl Chessman
27. Summertime
28. You Know I Love You

Disc 2

1. Sexy Ways [RealAudio]
2. Come Love [RealAudio]
3. Searchin' [RealAudio]
4. Honey Love [RealAudio]
5. I Feel Good [RealAudio]
6. Suzie-Q
7. Matchbox
8. What a Party
9. Bo Diddley
10. Who Do You Love AU file (245K)
11. Bossman
12. High Blood Pressure
13. There's a Screw Loose
14. Arkansas
15. Mojo Man
16. Further on up the Road
17. Nineteen Years Old
18. Kathy Jean
19. Mojo Man
20. Sexy Ways
21. Ruby Baby
22. Forty Days
23. Hay Ride
24. Light in the Window
25. My Heart Cries
26. Look for Me
27. Love It up
28. Your Love Is What I Need
29. Kansas City

Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks: The Roulette Years - 1995 - Sequel Records, UK, WED CD 266

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