I have taken it on as a personal mission to spread the gospel about the late, great Ted Hawkins. While his songs were acclaimed and his live shows well-attended when playing in Europe and Australia, here in America he was often relegated to busking in Venice Beach until much later in life.
Hawkins’ style meshed soul, folk, rock and blues seamlessly, with a voice filled with gravitas and signs of hardship. Yet on his amazing track “Sweet Baby” (from album Watch Your Step) it bursts with pure love and joy. The song is a pledge of devotion to a woman, with the narrator swearing never to do anything that would cause her “teardrops to fall”. One of the few songs on the album with a full band, including horns, it sways to a light Caribbean rhythm before shuffling into a big-hearted chorus.
The song has been a favorite of mine and my wife, and we had it play at our wedding at the end of the ceremony. It’s a song for those kinds of occasions, and one that will stick with you throughout the years.
Read the LA Times obituary of Hawkins here.