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Blues Musician Ted Hawkins.

Ted Hawkins is a singer, a songwriter, and a guitarist who for almost 30 years was a street musician in L.A. His music isn't the blues though he's qualified to sing them: he grew up in poverty in Mississippi, his mother was a prostitute, he never knew his father. As a teenager, Hawkins spent time in jail. His first two marriages ended quickly: one was annulled, his second wife died two months into the marriage. Hawkins music is a blend of country, folk and soul; his songs have been described as cutting through, "the vapid conventions of pop music and offer as raw a slice of reality as you are likely to find." In 1971 he recorded a number of songs for producer Bruce Bromberg. In 1982 they were compiled on a Rounder Record "Watch Your Step." It received a five-star review in "The Rolling Stone Record Guide." That led to two more albums recorded in Nashville and interest from the BBC. He became a star in England where he lived for four years, though he was still virtually unknown in the U.S. Back in the U.S. he went back to street performing and was "discovered" again by a DGC record producer. Hawkins has a new album "The Next Hundred Years," (DGC label).

22:35

Other segments from the episode on May 2, 1994

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, May 2, 1994: Interview with Ted Hawkins; Interview with Gloria Steinem; Obituary for John Preston.

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