Louisiana guitarist Dale Hawkins' 1957 hit Suzy Q, with its crackling bluesy guitar and insistent cowbell, was one of the most exciting early rockabilly singles. Recording for Chess (as one of its few white artists) between 1956 and 1961, Hawkins never quite duplicated its success, either commercially or artistically, but came close enough on a number of occasions to warrant respect as one of the better rockabilly singers. His drawling delivery, sense of humor, affinity for blues, and sharp guitar work (which was actually provided by such ace players as Roy Buchanan, Scotty Moore, and James Burton) are heard to good effect on his 1958 album and a number of non-hit singles. Hawkins went on to become a producer of some note in the 1960s, working with the Five Americans and Bruce Channel. In 1999 he released his first album of new material in 30 years, Wildcat Tamer, on Mystic Records. The impressive Back Down to Louisiana appeared in 2007 from Plumtone Records. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi

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