I’ve blogged about Ted Hawkins before. This time I’m concentrating on his best album. He was a very talented musician who had a difficult life. Born in Mississippi, he spent time in reformatories and prisons, picking up a love of music and a talent for guitar along the way. He was a drifter that spent most of his latter years in Venice Beach, California as an anonymous street performer. An American, he was more known throughout Europe, touring there and filling small venues. He never reached, even there, the superstar level than much less talented performers have before him and since.
THE NEXT HUNDRED YEARS was his third release and his best album. He was just starting to make some headway here in the States. I first saw him on a television story in 1994, I couldn’t tell you which. Maybe Sixty Minutes? All I remember was how impressed I was with this street musician and went looking for his music. I bought the album here on vinyl and probably wore it out. I dubbed a copy on cassette for a friend and got a very nice thank you note for turning his wife and him onto Mr. Hawkins(he in turn passed this man on to his brothers and friends).
It was the last record released during his lifetime. He passed away a few months later on January 1, 1995 at the age of fifty-eight. A number of CDs have popped up over the years since then, live sets, compilation repackaged CDs, and, as usual when an artist records an album, more songs are done than needed and the best are chosen. Inevitably , the record companies will mine those for anything to make a buck.
THE NEXT HUNDRED YEARS should be on every music lover’s shelf. His voice is very distinctive and, dare I say, soulful, playing that acoustic guitar while sitting on his milk crate. There’s a lifetime of hard living in that voice. Here are a few songs from that great album: