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