William Hawkins composed the songs on these recordings in the late 1960s. They were first performed by several Ottawa-based bands in which Hawkins was the creative catalyst. He wrote the lyrics for a parcel of songs, including It's a Dirty Shame, which went No.1 when recorded by The Esquires in 1965.
An amateur recording exits of a 1966 live performance of Heavenly Blue at Le Hibou. Despite the poor quality of the recording, most of the tunes, including an interpretation of Willy Dixon's “Little Red Rooster”, are electrifying, the energy and passion spellbinding.
Bruce Cockburn's title to his song, King Kong Goes To Tallahassee, is partly a reference to Hawkins, who was a mentor to Bruce in the 1960s when he first started writing songs. Says Cockburn: “Bill wrote a series of poems that featured King Kong going to various places and always getting into trouble, so the title is also something of a tribute to him.”
Murray McLauchlan, in his autobiography, has described Hawkins’ “Gnostic Serenade” as “one of the finest songs ever written.”
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Stone Solid Blue - William Hawkins, vocal & Rhythm Guitar. 1997
Little Red Rooster - played by Heavenly Blue, 1966
Louis Riel - William Hawkins, vocal & Rhythm Guitar. 1997
It's a Dirty Shame - Terry Gillespie. 2008
Gnostic Serenade - Bill Stevenson, 2008