Alan Hawkshaw

Mo'hawk: The Essential Vibes & Grooves 1967-1975

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Like many an active British session player in the 1960s and 1970s, Alan Hawkshaw, in addition to playing on many records by stars, did some recording as part of studio-only bands and for music library albums. Mo'Hawk selects 20 such tracks from 1967-1975, emphasizing ones that put his soul-rock-jazz Hammond organ to the fore. Some were credited to bands when first released -- four to the Mohawks, one to the Salon Band, and one to Rumplestiltskin. But the rest evidently come from music library albums for Keith Prowse Music (though the liner notes don't give precise details on the origination of some tracks), which were heard by few back when they were recorded, and not always even used in TV or cinema. Hawkshaw is a very good organist, but this material does betray its origins as pieces that were, after all, often hastily composed for cheap budget albums or as incidental background music to be considered for movies and television. As a consequence, it's largely generic party music from various phases of Swinging London, albeit gutsier and more soulful than much other such music that made its way into period films. And while Hawkshaw plays his parts with some aplomb, when you have this sort of material (mostly written by Hawkshaw, alas), it isn't going to give Georgie Fame sleepless nights. Various shades of easy listening, soul, funk, jazz, and pop-psychedelia make their way into the tracks, none of the songs standing out as work that transcends the background context for which they were originally crafted.

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