Life is full of tragic irony. No one who listens to the blues with any frequency can argue this point. Whether the music, whether the person; the blues points out that sometimes life just isn’t fair. So, what can you do about it? What do you do if you are born as the unwanted son of a prostitute, spending a tough childhood in reformatories, only to try and find peace through drifting rootless across the U.S.? If you are Ted Hawkins, you make music so beautiful and powerful to the common person, that you leave a legacy far more powerful than all the hurt you’ve endured.

The life and music of Ted Hawkins, Venice Beach street performer to major studio recording artist presents within the context of his own life, the beauty and pain of irony. Some of you may know Ted, through his album, The Next Hundred Years. Some of you, like me, were so taken by the voice and the depth of his music, a depth that made you feel you could look into his soul, that we eagerly awaited more releases. Tragically, Ted passed on, just a mere fraction of time past the release of the album. So we, here in the states, we unable to fully gain the presence of the man and his music.

Folks in Europe were much more fortunate. While Ted was happy being a busker on the beach, European audiences, found him to he pure magic. If you can find them, Ted’s earlier works are, Watch Your Step, Happy Hour, and now, also on Evidence Music, Songs From Venice Beach. On this disc, The Final Tour, there are songs from all the discs, as well as innovative performances off of his standard playlist.

On The Final Tour, there are covers of many of his songs, you’ll enjoy the versions of Strange Conversations, Groovy Little Things and Ladder of Success. In addition to his own work, he covers a couple of other artists songs; included in this category are John Fogerty’s Long As I Can See the Light. (Speaking of Fogerty, kind of makes you think the Grammy’s might get their act together, good to see him win an award!) His Jerry Hubbard cover, of A Thing Called Love, is very warming on these Spring transition days.

No need to cry the blues over the life and irony of Ted Hawkins, he wouldn’t give you much comfort. Get the disc, look into his face, you know he lived the life he was meant to live. He departed prematurely. No matter, his legacy, his recorded voice, will leave you feeling genuinely enriched by the this man.