December 02, 2004

It's never too late

"It's Too Late Now" (Matthews-Thrower-Bartholomew)
The Hawks, Imperial, 11-4-1954

(tune in to HOTG Internet Radio)

I mentioned The Hawks in my Dave Bartholomew (see Archives) post a few weeks back with reference to “Fats” Matthews, who also sang on that side I had up, “Hey Hey”. As I noted, Matthews was in The Hawks. Of course, this is not the group that backed Ronnie Hawkins and Bob Dylan and later became known as The Band. These here Hawks were a NOLA vocal group that had been doing gospel for many years as the Humming Four, later known as the Famous Four when recording early in the 1950’s. Bartholomew heard them and convinced them to do a gospel single for Imperial Records and then to make secular sides as The Hawks. After a few years run with no commercial success, they went back to the sanctified sounds.

I like the rather Afro-Cuban cowbell ride on “It’s Too Late Now” and
Earl Palmer’s latin-funk-tinged drumming, which unfortunately sounds muffled, due probably to a microphone placement problem for the legendary engineer/studio owner, Cosimo Matassa. Guitarist Irving “Buddy” Charles is credited with the solo on this track. Other of Bartholomew’s stable of session stalwarts,. like Frank Fields on bass, and likely Ed Frank on piano, are playing here, too; as this is just one of the vast number of recordings the producer oversaw during his heyday (roughly 1948 – 1962). Besides Matthews, the other vocalists on this track were Albert Veal, Joseph Gaines, John Morris, and Willie Thrower.

“It’s Too Late Now” was recorded in New Orleans on November 4, 1954, which was also the day my wife was born. Man, I should have blogged this a few weeks ago. Anyway, happy birthday again, Sweet One (she’s a stone music geek, too, and should have her own blog).

We’ll be in the ‘50’s, 60’s and maybe even the ‘40s for the next few posts. It will be interesting to see how many of you follow along. Hope you do.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great song! I'd only heard a battered 45 of theirs (also great), "It Ain't That Way," that I rescued from a bin gathering dust. Didn't know anything about them. By all means stay in the earlier decades...

5:48 PM, December 02, 2004  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Yes, nothing wrong with "It Ain't That Way" either, featuring "Fats" Matthews on lead vocal. I've been kind of neglecting the early R&B years in the HOTG. So I am going to stay there a while and will try to get back more often. Glad you rescued that 45, too. It's a keeper.

10:44 PM, December 02, 2004  

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