Dale Hawkins 1936-2010

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear friend and hero, Norton artist Dale Hawkins.

Rock and roll instigator Dale Hawkins-- Delmar Allen Hawkins on certificates of entry and exit-- was born to set the world upside its head, and he shot that rattlin’ noggin down the alley like a dolemite bowling ball that caught fire halfway down the lane. Such was the infernal, unquellable energy of Dale Hawkins.

Louisiana- hatched and bred Dale grew up dredged in music, black and white. His father was in a country western band—that alone could account for influences, but it was Saturday night patrols with his sheriff grandfather that ignited the flame. Hearing rough, raw blues in the flesh on one hand, country on the other, and both black and white spiritual mayhem throughout, young Dale’s head fast became a cauldron, stewing a signature sound born of the swamps, a unique and staggering blast that would soon set the national charts on red alert with the brain bashing Susie Q, his second record. (The first was the effervescent See You Soon Baboon—an answer disc to Bobby Charles' Later, Alligator—cut at local radio station KWKH and released on Checker. Dale believed that the Chess Brothers issued it, believing from the sound of the recording that Dale was black.) Five-star records followed on the Checker label – Little Pig, Baby Baby, Tornado, La-Do-Dada, My Babe and one of the greatest albums of the fifties OH! SUZY Q.

Dale picked guitarists like they were winning race horses. James Burton, Roy Buchanan, Kenny Paulson, Scotty Moore, Fred Carter, Jr. (who would go on to play in Dale's cousin Ronnie Hawkins' band the Hawks) and Carl Adams all blasted on his Checker recordings.

He continued in the music business long after his first fricasees, producing a slew of records, notably the Five Americans’ smash hit Western Union. Susie Q would continue to resound throughout the sixties with versions by the Rolling Stones and Creedence Clearwater Revival (who’d reprise the riff again on Green River). Dale worked promotion for RCA in the seventies, helping along the careers of Mike Nesmith and Harry Nilsson. In recent years, Dale was featured on countless rock and roll festivals, offering his original Checker sides with the spark and drive of a teenager.

In 1987, we connected with Dale and interviewed him for our KICKS magazine. Our friendship with Dale resulted in the Norton release of DAREDEVIL, a collection of unreleased material featuring the original 1956 demo of Susie Q. Plans were underway at Norton for an album of all new material pairing Dale with the Flat Duo Jets, but the project was scrapped when Dex and Crow signed with Geffen Records. (Dex Romweber wrote Baby Are You Hiding From Me, which appears on the Flat Duo Jets RED TANGO album, for Dale to record with the Jets. It was not to be.)

In 2006, Dale was diagnosed with cancer, but bounced back several times over the past few years. His final major appearance at the 2009 Ponderosa Stomp in New Orleans reunited Dale with his original guitarist James Burton for their first full set in fifty-two years and the pair turned in a powerhouse set backed by Deke Dickerson’s Ecco-Phonics.

Billy and I spoke with Dale at length by telephone a few days before his passing. He was in pain, obviously, but the tearful words spoken were also about his frustration in realizing that his days of participating in music were drawing to a close, that he would not be making the funny joke phone calls to Nortonville any more, that he wouldn’t be planning the next big moment that would send everyone into orbit, that we would not all rock 'n roll and make a joyful noise together... again.

Dale was energy incarnate. To say it was a joy and a privilege to work with him would be an understatement. It was an honor to have him as a friend, and we are all so supremely fortunate to have his music in our lives forever.

God bless Dale Hawkins. Dale, we love you, always.

(Dale Hawkins appears on the Norton label on DAREDEVIL (LP/CD 256) and Number Nine Train/On Account Of You (45-055)

Susie Q

Little Pig

Dale Hawkins in New Orleans at 2009 Ponderosa Stomp
Photo by Jacob Blickenstaff 33-13.com



Happy T. Valentine’s Day, all you heartbusters out there! A crew of Norton pals will be celebrating with fine romantic dining at our favorite restaurant, WHITE CASTLE! This holiday event is available to all Nortonians (and other people) by making reservations with the White Castle people! WC takes on a VD mood with sophisticated presentation, soft music, teddy bears, tablecloths, candy, candles, souvenir photography, table waiters, and specially printed menus. Naturally, the fine fare remains top notch!

ANDRE WILLIAMS • KICKS BOOKS KICK OFF! A posh new line of “hip pocket paperbacks” has hit the racks with SWEETS by Andre Williams. The Bacon Fat man joins the Norton Scribblers Assn. with his sensational tome SWEETS, which is causing a regal ruckus wherever it is read! Dig the full report on Andre’s NYC launch blasts at Kicks Books. Be sure to also pick up bound editions by fellow Norton artist/hero Tommy James, (TJ will be signing copies of his must-git new autobio Me, The Mob, and the Music at 7:30 on Feb. 22 Barnes & Noble, 1972 Broadway here in NYC), as also Myles Connor (dig his action-packed autobio The Art Of The Heist from Collins), and Arch Hall Jr. (superb and spicy novel Apsara Jet is available from the books section on the Norton website in limited signed editions—Arch will be appearing in person at Chiller on April 16! Let’s all go see the Wild Guitar man!)

NYC’s own Binky Phillips has out-did his bad self with a detailed report at Sonic Boomers of Mr. Rhythm’s raucous reading with our generation’s literary Pied Piper Nick Tosches, which was introduced by our beloved Doc Rock, Lenny Kaye! Read this out loud and watch the words spring into action in your teeny tiny noggin! And keep up with Binky, whose sharp eye and keen wit keep us laughing (and crying!) Where have all the good times gone? Obviously they’re here right now—let Binky learn you so.

Many of you have learned via AOL Spinner that Andre has introduced a perfume alongside the book! Yes, Sweets comes to life with the inimitable essence of Bait & Switch, available as liquid gold at live events only. Postal regulations prohibit the mailing of fragrances, so BAIT & SWITCH will be available through the mail as a “sniffer”. Same fine bottle and packaging, with an aromatic plug which will instantly transport you to the mean streets of Sweetsville. Bewitching, yet absurd! Purchase at Sweets site.

All future hip pocket paperbacks from Kicks Books will launch with signature scents. Kicks Books readers, the "Glittering Illiterati”, will enjoy select access to olfactant options for the full tilt read-a-roma experience.

Dig it! While in the big town, Andre recorded a version of The Way You Dog Me Around for the upcoming tribute album to his great friend, the immortal Detroit R&B king Nolan Strong. This album will also feature tracks by Reigning Sound, Demon’s Claws, Mark Sultan, A-Bones, Fondas and many more and is due out on The Wind Records. Tune in next time for exciting details!

ANDRE WILLIAMS MIDWEST WEEKENDER! Andre and the stellar Party Stompers (Jeff Meier & Mike Hurtt’s wildass combo), blast Cleveland, Detroit and Ann Arbor in March. Dig…

Fri. March 19 (Cleveland) Andre Williams & the Party Stompers, plus the Hi-Risers, book signing and show and dance at the Beachland Ballroom, 15711 Waterloo Rd, Cleveland (216) 383-1124 8 PM doors, show at 9 PM sharp

Sat. March 20 (Detroit) Andre Williams book signing at the Book Beat, 26010 Greenfield Road, Oak Park (248) 968-1190

Sat. March 20 (Detroit) Andre Williams & the Party Stompers show and dance at the Park Bar, 2040 Park Ave, Detroit (313) 962-2933

Sun. March 21 (Ann Arbor) book signing at Cafe Ambrosia, 326 Maynard St, Ann Arbor (734) 929-9979

More details and late breakin’ Andre updates at Kicks Books blog!


Feeling the mid-winter blues? Spending quality time with your Five Royales want list for the third time today? Declaring once again, “Hope I die before I see another Super Bowl half time”? Then dig what we have in store for you…

THE DING-DONGS (Norton 357 - LP/CD)

“Ding Dong!”

“Who’s there?”

“Mark Sultan and Bloodshot Bill!”

BBQ and BB sweat out thirteen action packed party stompers about girls, werewolves, gypsies and toilets! These Canadian titans have teamed up for a flat out WILD round of rock n’ roll insanity! Prepare to get stuffed with the Ding-Dongs! Still not convinced? Take the Ding-Dong taste test in this snazzy infomercial

THE LONESOME DRIFTER – EAGER BOY (Norton 327 - LP) Sixteen song vinyl roundup on Tommy Johnson, the legendary Lonesome Drifter culled from the vaults of Shreveport’s Ram Records. His 1958 single Eager Boy stands as one of the most sought after rockabilly records of all time. The Drifter’s haunting vocals and stark instrumentation make him one of the truly unique figures in rockabilly and hillbilly music. This is real bone chilling stuff! For fans of Hasil Adkins’ MOON OVER MADISON Charlie Feathers’ UH HUH HONEY albums.


Dig this! Norton has rounded up the earliest recordings by the inimitable Texas mad man Roy Head along with the original Traits! These sixteen 1958-62 sides (including one unissued cut) were waxed for the TNT and Renner labels long before Roy hit the big time with Treat Her Right! Tracks like One more Time epitomize wild early Texas rock n’ roll! Live it up indeed!!

BOBBY FULLER – EL PASO ROCK VOL. 3 (Norton 318 - CD) Yes, the long overdue third volume chronicling Bobby’s early studio, home and live recordings is coming very soon! Rounds out the three volume series into the ultimate set.

MELVIN DAVIS – I WON’T COME CRAWLING BACK TO YOU/I DON’T WANT YOU NO MORE (45-155) Wicked Detroit soul stomps! Top deck’s an unissued mover cut in 1962 at the Fortune Records studios while the flip is Melvin’s rare 1961 Jack Pot label debut! These Motor City dance floor monsters will stun fans of Nathaniel Mayer and Gino Washington!

KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE – BIG TEARS/THE KNIGHTS IN SHINING ARMOR (45-877) You dug our two monster Kim Fowley comps, ONE MAN’S GARBAGE and ANOTHER MAN’S GOLD, now here’s two more stunning productions by the man himself! Thrill to two early soul workouts featuring moonlighting members of the Coasters!

Norton’s Rolling Stones cover series is back! Here’s our last chance to plug that we’ve issued 19 Nervous Breakdowns in this series as we get set to gather more moss with two hot platters…

TANDOORI KNIGHTS – GOMPER/WRECKED ANGLES – 2120 S. MICHIGAN AVENUE (9660) The world’s spiciest duo, King Khan and Bloodshot Bill offer a currified romper of Gomper (clocking in at 5:09 – the exact time of the Stones version!) on this New Dehli platter! All they ask in return is that you please remove your shoes. Turn it over and dig Scotland’s least likely hit makers as they blaze through everyone’s favorite Nanker Phelge floor packer!

GAYE BLADES – RUBY TUESDAY/GIRLS AT DAWN – THAT GIRL BELONGS TO YESTERDAY (9661) Lose your dreams and lose your mind as Atlanta’s Gaye Blades, (featuring members of the Black Lips, Gentleman Jesse and his Men and the Carbonas) clobber the Stones’ lilting chart buster! Brooklyn’s Girls At Dawn turn Gene Pitney’s overblown ’64 Jagger-Richards tune into a hauntingly original opus. Beautiful! Be sure to catch the Girls At Dawn on tour in March!

...plus stay tuned for THEIR HISPANIC MAJESTIES REQUEST double 45 set (in posh non-3D gatefold cover) featuring four mucho loco Stones songs con carne – sung in Spanish by Davila 666, Luis and the Wildfires, Los Peyotes and one more group that seems to have forgotten the importance of answering e-mails. In any event, more info and more platters next time!


Sun. February 21 WANG DANG DOODLE BIG TEN INCH 78 RPM SPINNING PARTY Join a slew of local platter pushers on an all shellac attack, wailin’ tunes at the fastest speed known to man! Face it, nothin’ spells chick magnet more than Jimmy Myers and his Happy Highway Gang’s Ding Dong Mama From Tennessee revved up at 78 RPM! The Bell House, 149 7th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Aves,), Brooklyn

Sat. February 28 BROOKLYN RECORD RIOT The Riot is back at the Warsaw Polish National Home! Records! Kielbasa! DJs! Peirogis! Tons of wax – see you at the Norton table! 12-8 PM Warsaw 261 Driggs Ave. in Williamsburg

Sat. March 19 ALLENTOWN 45 RECORD EXPO Records, records, everywhere, plus a Waffle House enroute! Swing by the Norton table for flipped sides – we’ll have boxes and boxes of seven inchers!