Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ernie Hawkins Plays Those Rags & Bones

As you may be aware, I am a fan of Piedmont blues stylist Ernie Hawkins and earlier in 2012, I posted a review of his most recent recording, Whinin' Boy, while a few days earlier I posted a 2001 review of his CD, Bluesified. I recently discovered I never posted my 2006 review of his CD Rags & Bones which appeared in the March 2006 DC Blues Calendar and the May/June 2006 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 282). I likely received my review copy from Ernie Hawkins or his management.

The masterful finerpicking guitarist, Ernie Hawkins, has a delightful new CD , Rags & Bones (Say Mo’ Music). The talented disciple of the legendary Rev, Gary Davis opens with a superb rendition (played on a 12-string guitar) of Davis’ Make Believe Stunt, a tune Davis derived from a lick of Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag. The bones of the title are heard backing another guitar rag from Davis, The Boy Was Kissing the Girl (and Playing Guitar at the Same Time).

There are enjoyable covers here including Mississippi John Hurt’s Avalon Blues, country music pioneer, Jimmie Rodgers’ TB Blues, Henry Thomas’ Texas Easy Street, and Mance Lipscomb’s G Rag, with Hawkins delivering relaxed, easy going vocals to go with his deft fretwork. Most interesting are guitar adaptations of three classics of twenties jazz, Louis Armstrong’s Potato Head Blues and Cornet Chop Suey, along with Singin’ the Blues which is adapted from the legendary Frankie Trumbauer/ Bix Beiderbecke recording and a George Gershwin piano roll.

Maria Muldaur guests with a wonderful vocal on Rev. Davis’ I Am the Light of This World, and the album closes with Hawkins handling an African tune Massanga. Its a delight listening to the music hear and how wonderfully the guitar sounds. For further information check www. or better mail order stores.

Here is a video of Ernie teaching how to play a Reverend Gary Davis number.

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