Ted Hawkins (October 28, 1936 – January 1, 1995) was an American singer-songwriter born in Biloxi, Mississippi. He was an enigmatic figure for most of his career. He split his time between his adopted hometown of Venice Beach, California, where he was a mostly anonymous street performer, and Europe and Australia, where he and his songs were better known and well received in clubs and small concert halls.
Hawkins was born into a poor family in Mississippi and had a difficult early life. He was sent to a reform school when he was 12 years old. As a teenager he drifted, hitch hiking, and stole his way across the country for the next dozen years, earning several stays in prison including a three-year stint for stealing a leather jacket as a teenager. Along the way, he picked up a love of music and a talent for the guitar. "I was sent to a school for bad boys called Oakley Training School in 1949", he wrote in a brief piece of autobiography. "There I developed my voice by singing with a group that the superintendent's wife had got together". After reform school, he ended up in the state penitentiary and was released at 19. "Then I heard a singer whose name was Sam Cooke. His voice did something to me."
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Links to Peel
Peel first heard tracks from Ted Hawkins in 1985, more likely via Andy Kershaw, who discovered the work from the artist and even went to his home in America to interview him for the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1986. Although Peel was enthusiastic about the works of Ted Hawkins at the beginning, he seemed to have lost interest in the artist after the 80's and rarely played any tracks from him.
- 15 October 1985: If You Love Me (album - Watch Your Step) Rounder
- 22 October 1985: 'Don't Lose Your Cool' (LP - 'Watch Your Step') Rounder
- 28 October 1985: The Lost Ones (album - Watch Your Step) Rounder
- 11 November 1985: Sorry You're Sick (LP - Watch Your Step) Rounder
- 03 December 1985: Watch Your Step (Band Version) (LP - Watch Your Step) Rounder
- 06 August 1986: Watch Your Step (LP - Watch Your Step) Windows On The World
- 26 August 1986: If You Love Me (LP - Watch Your Step) Windows On The World
- 22 September 1986: Bring It On Home To Me (LP - On The Boardwalk (The Venice Beach Tapes)) American Activities
- 21 October 1986: Watch Your Step (single) Rounder
- 28 October 1986: Stop Your Crying (LP - Watch Your Step) Windows On The World
- 05 November 1986: North To Alaska (LP - On The Boardwalk (The Venice Beach Tapes)) American Activities
- 11 May 1988 (& Billy Bragg): Cold And Bitter Tears (v/a LP - Great Moments Of Vinyl History) Special Delivery