Ted Hawkins - Happy Hour

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Sometimes hearing a song can be just like looking at an old photograph - it can transport you straight back to a period of time in your life. My musician of the month is Ted Hawkins an American singer/guitarist who started out life like many musicians as a street busker. Sitting on an old upturned milk crate singing for nickel and dimes Ted would ply his trade on street corners in and around Venice Beach California wearing his trademark leather glove on his left hand. Ted had a troubled early life and spent several spells in jail before turning to music to earn a living.

When I first discovered Ted Hawkins wonderful music I was a London city boy in the 1980's. Our offices were in Soho and after work,on a Friday,our routine was to go straight from work to the pub for early evening cocktails. We were always drawn to the pubs that were offering Happy Hour cocktails, two for the price of one. Happy days indeed. In one of these bars , as I was enjoying my second lethal "killer zombie " cocktail they played Ted Hawkins "Happy Hour" and even through my drunken haze I was totally smitten by the lyrics, the relevance and the melodic voice of Ted. I immediately went out and bought the album "Happy Hour" and the rest of his albums came soon after.

I was even fortunate enough to see him live in the U.K. where, true to form, he played his whole set sat on a crate with his leather glove holding down the strings. A magical night. I am never quite sure of the correct musical genre to classify Ted's music I have seen it listed as blues, folk and country but I guess for me I will always think of it as the blues.

Whenever, I hear "Happy Hour" I am straight back into my double breasted pinstripe suit reaching out for that killer zombie that isn't there. If you haven't listened to any of Ted Hawkins music and enjoy your blues/country/folk I can thoroughly recommend it.

I love the sleeve photography by Donna Cline and Stanley Rowin. The front cover of Happy Hour completely captures Ted in full flow wearing his black leather glove just as I remember him. Album sleeve design I believe was by Scott Billington and Nancy Anderson and the album was released in the mid eighties and was one of a number of great albums released by Ted. Unfortunately Ted Hawkins sadly passed away in 1995 at the early age of 58 following a stroke but, wherever he is, I raise my Killer Zombie and say long live Ted Hawkins and long live Happy Hour !

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