"Still Cruisin'"

Hawk Records

There is something so gratifying, so right, about hearing a rock and roll legend still having the chops, and the songs, to deliver the goods on a new record.

The indefatigable Ronnie Hawkins, who has been making great rock and roll about as long as there has been rock and roll, returns, after fighting off bad health in recent years, and, in the process, has made "Still Cruisin'" one of the strongest records of his more than four decades career.

Since he's a ripe 68, you might think that the Hawk might take it easy a bit, but there's none of that on this record. Accompanied by a host of friends, including singer/actress Beverly D'Angelo, drummer Levon Helm (whose group the Hawks, later the Band, got their start from Hawkins), Alex Harvey and a trunkload of others, Hawkins delivers his often vivid combination of foot stompers like "Can't Stop Rockin," tear jerkers like "Friendship," and barroom singalongs like the hilarious "Five Dollar Fine for Whining," actually sounding stronger as the record plays along.

On this one, The Hawk ain't "cruising," man, he's soaring.

- Mark T. Gould