Tunes that just make us feel good
from Ted Hawkins and The California Honeydrops
Ted Hawkins (October 28, 1936 – January 1, 1995) was an enigmatic American singer/songwriter. Born into a poor family in Biloxi, Mississippi, Hawkins spent much of his youth at Oakley Training School, a reform school that has since been well-documented for abuse, but it’s where he honed his voice and guitar chops. After that, he spent time in a penitentiary before being released at the age of 19.
“Then I heard a singer whose name was Sam Cooke. His voice did something to me.” said Hawkins. From them on, he bounced around the Midwest, in and out of trouble, before landing in Venice, California. There he took odd jobs and primarily became a street performing along the piers and boardwalk. It’s there where he began making records, as well as spending another 10 years locked up for heroin.
Hawkins’ musical style that mixed folk, soul, country and deep-south spirituals never quite gained commercial success in the U.S. He did, however, garner a fair amount of recognition and fame in Europe.
Enjoy this soulful track Bring It on Home to Me from his 1982 LP “Watch Your Step”.
It just feels right.
The California Honeydrops
The California Honeydrops from Oakland, CA have come a long way since forming around 2009. They, too, got their start as street performers as singer/guitarist and trumpeter Lech Wierzynkski and drummer Ben Malament started busking in subway stations.
Today The Honeydrops travel the world spreading their infectious style of Bay Area R&B, funk, Southern soul, Delta blues, and New Orleans second-line dance-fueled. They’re just one of those bands you have to see live, and the smaller the club the better.
Interesting tidbit: frontman Wierzynkski was born in Warsaw, Poland, and raised by Polish political refugees. He learned his vocal stylings from contraband American recordings of Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and Louis Armstrong. Another reason not to keep the immigrants out!
We couldn’t just pick one song. Here’s 3 from different size venues and styles that showcase their range and magic.
Enjoy “When it was Wrong” – Live at the Rickshaw Stop, San Francisco.
The California Honeydrops – “Bubblegum” – Live at High Sierra Festival #JAMINTHEVAN
The California Honey Drops featuring Grace Love – “Night Time is the Right Time”