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Before I'd stand to see my baby go down I'd take off all my clothes and walk the streets in my mornin' gown - Ramblin' Willard Thomas, Hard Dallas Blues

Author Topic: Buddy Boy Hawkins in the 1960s  (Read 1404 times)

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Offline TallahatchieTrot

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Buddy Boy Hawkins in the 1960s
« on: June 10, 2013, 07:22:54 PM »
One of the many mysteries that researchers tried to solve in the 1960s was Buddy Boy Hawkins. Where was he from? Around 1966, Henry Vestine of later Canned Heat fame went door knocking for records in Arkansas and heard of a bluesman named Hawkins in the Blytheville, Arkansas area. It was never established that it was  Buddy Boy or Walter Hawkins but the word made it back to the New York collectors and thus Hawkins was ID's as being from Arkansas.
    In 1968, I found Paramount talent scout Harry Charles in Birmingham and interviewed him on numerous occasions and played him recordings of many bluesmen I suspected he may have found and recorded.
    Listening to Hawkins , he said, "That's ole Buddy Boy.  He called himself that  in every song.'' Charles DID NOT know Hawkins real name IN THE 60S and  used Buddy Boy on the Paramount sessions as his real name. He often gave false names to his bluesmen to keep them from being found by other companies, but Buddy Boy was what Hawkins called himself. Hawkins resurfaced in 1929 in Jackson, Mississippi and was sent to record for Paramount on the same trip made by Charley Patton.
     Hawkins said on one those recordings that he  brought his blues from Jackson and used the term "Jackson A Rag" in that song. That confused a lot of listeners/researchers. He was NOT remembered by any Jackson musician and I believe he was told by Paramount to go to Jackson and see H. C. Speir  who would send him back to record for PM. Charles had left working for PM in 1928. Thus, Speir was the logical choice to send him back to PM.--to pay his expenses and get him to Richmond, Indiana where those PM masters were recorded.
     Where did Hawkins learn his guitar styles?  I  do not know and perhaps Alabama census records for 1920/30/40 can be used to locate him in that state under the name Walter Hawkins. Charles said he found him in Birmingham on the streets playing, probably on 4th Avenue North where street musicians played daily. For Charles, he was another bluesman to make money by recording him.  But Hawkins was one of Charles' first discoveries, along with James "Bo Weevil" Jackson, a nickname he gave to Jackson who he also recorded for Vocalion as Sam Butler.
     Steve Calt wrote the notes for Nick Perls in the late 1960s/70s and the suggestion that Hawkins was from Arkansas was used by Perls on early reissues. After I found Charles and sent Calt tapes of the interviews, he realized that Hawkins was from Birmingham and from that time on he appeared  on Alabama reissues usually.
      Personally, one of the first records I found door knocking in 1962 was Hawkins "Workin' On The Railroad."  But "A Rag" is considered to be his best recording by collectors who seek his original  78s as do many guitarists.
 I hope this adds some information about Hawkins and will clear up the Arkansas suggested connection and help guitarists who listen to his music. gayle dean wardlow

Offline Johnm

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Re: Buddy Boy Hawkins in the 1960s
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2013, 04:33:40 PM »
Thanks very much for that information, Gayle Dean.  Of those early guitarists playing in Spanish, the one who always sounded the most like Buddy Boy Hawkins in his approach, to me, was Marshall Owens, especially on "Try Me One More Time", where Owens walked a lot of little interior lines up and down his fourth string, much as Buddy Boy Hawkins did.  Am I correct in thinking that little or nothing is known about Marshall Owens' life and where he was from?  He sounds like he may have been an older man when he recorded his titles.  Maybe Buddy Boy Hawkins built on his style.  He also may never have heard him or heard of him, too, I suppose.
All best,
Johnm

Offline TallahatchieTrot

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Re: Buddy Boy Hawkins in the 1960s
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2013, 05:32:06 PM »
Johnm--Owens was definitely and older bluesman from Alabama. Don Kent found some information on him and Alex Van deer Tuuk in Holland has found more on him in Alabama census studies and documents. So you are correct.  Hawkins would have been a younger man.  They very well could have met and played with each other in the Birmingham area.  Although he sang a "Texas Blues" when he recorded in 1931 with some other Alabama artists, he was from that state. Your analysis is indeed accurate.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Buddy Boy Hawkins in the 1960s
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2013, 09:18:51 PM »
OK, it's not A Rag, but I really like Workin' On the Railroad. :) But I like all Hawkins' stuff, I guess. The slow stuff like "Railroad" and "Jailhouse Fire Blues" is real nice, IMO.

John, that's interesting about Owens. Will have to do some comparative listening.

Thanks for that information, GDW.

Offline wreid75

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Re: Buddy Boy Hawkins in the 1960s
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2013, 04:17:45 PM »
I have an itchin suspension that Randy Meadows is quietly working on this.  Call it a hunch

Offline TallahatchieTrot

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Re: Buddy Boy Hawkins in the 1960s
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2013, 06:52:22 PM »
 Randy is NOT working on any project with me right now. I hoped we could do a Hayes McMullan CD together but his  time is limited. LD50 in California has done a lot of census work with me a year or so back. I don't have the necessary net skills or belong to ancestry.com. But appreciate your comments.

 


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