Between 1949 and 1952, the Texas born pianist Roy Hawkins cut a whole slew of great blues and R&B records for Modern. These included several hits notably Why Do Everything Happen To Me, #2 on the R&B chart in February 1950 and The Thrill Is Gone, #6 on the R&B chart in July 1951. The Thrill Is Gone of course was later covered by BB King for ABC Bluesway and became King's biggest hit to date for that label in 1970. In fact BB' s version of the song became so popular that he adopted it as his signature tune.
Why Do Everything Happen To Me was written for Roy by Oakland record impressario Bob Geddins while Roy was hospitalised with injuries sustained in a serious automobile accident. Incidentally, both BB King and James Brown later covered Why Do Everything Happen To Me although Geddins did not benefit as he had sold the song to Modern boss Jules Bihari who split the writing credits with Hawkins. After the automobile crash which left Hawkins with a paralysed arm, Modern Records' ace producer Maxwell Davis took over production duties on Hawkins' recordings for the company and brought in Willard McDaniels on piano.
Geddins, who was responsible for unearthing many talented blues artists, including Jimmy McCracklin, ran a couple of small labels, Down Town and Cava-Tone, in the Oakland area of San Francisco. He was in the habit of leasing or selling his more successful masters to bigger labels such as Modern, Aladdin and Four Star.
Geddins had discovered Roy Hawkins playing in a club in Oakland in 1948 and was very taken by his soulful, doom-laden style which was going over big with the club patrons. Hawkins and his backing group the Four Jacks were very popular and were doing sell-out business at several Bay area clubs at that time. The producer rushed Hawkins and his band into the studio to cut some sides to capitalise on their current popularity and released They Raided The Joint on Cava-Tone. After recording some more sides with Hawkins, Geddins sold It's Too Late To Change and Strange Land to Modern and Jules Bihari then brought Hawkins and his band to LA to record at Universal Recorders.
This CD contains 24 of the best of Roy Hawkins recorded output for Modern and these masters have been carefully transferred from the original lacquers to produce the finest sound quality. Hawkins is a unique blues talent and his recordings on this CD sound as fresh and vital as if they had been recorded only yesterday.