Saturday, 8 October 2011

The Band- Musical History Part III

The Hawks recorded their final session with Ronnie Hawkins on the 7th of May 1963, these sessions heavily featured the organ work of Garth Hudson. The group returned to the Bo Diddley songbook with Bossman which has a funky bass intro from Rick Danko who was starting to show more confidence in his playing. The bass solo is followed by a swirling organ intro from Garth Hudson he was able to extract the most amazing sounds from his Lowery, Ronnie Hawkins provides a typically lo fi nasally delivery that suits the song perfectly, Hawkins was not blessed with a great vocal range but his ability growl and grunt his way through blues type songs was rarely matched by other artists of the day. Also recorded was a cover of the Coasters tune High Blood Pressure featuring a Garth Hudson solo and some nice piano interplay from Richard Manuel, who was perhaps unfairly described as a rhythm pianist because he didn't posses a strong pounding piano style similar to early Hawks pianist Will Pop Jones.

The finals song recorded at these sessions was the manic instrumental There's a Screw Loose featuring wild organ work from Hudson who was perhaps channelling Robbie Robertsons' solo from Who Do You Love. Hawkins provides an over the top falsetto vocal in the bridge, Robbie Robertson appears restrained in these sessions There's a Screw Loose seems like the perfect vehicle for him to expand on his work on Who Do You Love but his solos are short with more focus on Garth.

Most of the tracks from these sessions ended up on the Mojo Man album released in 1964, by that time the Hawks had left Hawkins and set out on their own. The Hawks in less than two years had committed to tape a significant body of work, their own records focusing heavily on ryhthm and blues but in a style that suggested tight musicianship with a sound that was ragged and loud and was certainly new for its time.

Following their decision to leave Hawkins the newly renamed Levon and The Hawks (although they would use a few different names over the next 18 months) set out determined to achieve success on their own terms. It would still be a long haul until the release of their first album, they continued to play the club circuit playing dates in Canada before returning to the south when winter set in up North.

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