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Sunday, Apr. 30, 2017

So long, Wildcat Tamer

Posted Tuesday, February 16, 2010, at 12:57 PM

I'm not positive of the year, but I am positive of the location.

It was on the banks of the Strawberry River in Franklin, probably in 1974 or so.

It was the first time I remember hearing Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Blasting out of the 8-track deck of a Cutlass Supreme parked near the entrance to the swimming hole, I first heard the glorious racket of CCR doing "Suzie Q."

Clocking in at over 10 minutes long, "Suzie Q" with its sparse chords that sounded like an elephant rolling down a flight of stairs was enough to intrigue the ears of this pre-teenager, starting a lifelong love affair with CCR and the band's front man, John Fogerty.

It wasn't until several years after that when I became aware that "Suzie Q" was not written by Fogerty or CCR.

It was written by one of the true pioneers of American music - Dale Hawkins.

After a long battle with colon cancer, Hawkins passed away Valentines Day died in Little Rock at the age of 73. Hawkins had been undergoing treatment at the Arkansas Hospice Center at St. Vincent's Doctors Hospital in Little Rock.

Hawkins, who wrote "Suzie Q" ("Suzy-Q" was how Hawkins spelled it) in 1957, is a member of both the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

More than just the creator of what some critics call "swamp rock boogie," Hawkins was much like British blues legend John Mayall in that he helped introduce some of the greatest guitars ever into our popular conscious.

James Burton (who played on "Suzie Q" when he was just 15 years old!) Scotty Moore, Joe Osborn, Roy Buchanan, Fred Carter, Jr. and Kenny Paulsen are a few guitarists who logged time at the side of Hawkins.

Hawkins not only influenced a young John Fogerty, but he also had an impact on a young band from across the ocean named The Rolling Stones.

Four years before CCR covered "Suzie Q," The Stones did a version of the Hawkins classic in 1964.

One of this writer's favorite Hawkins albums was Wildcat Tamer, a disc that came out in 1999, some 30 years after his previous release, proving that the man could still rock-n-roll with the best of them.

So long, Dale, and thanks for the wonderful introduction to Creedence Clearwater Revival, along with your amazing talents.

Also, sympathy goes out to the family of Mississippi blues artist Lil' Dave Thompson. Thompson was killed in an auto accident early on Valentine's Day morning, heading home after playing the final show of his winter tour the night before.

Like Hawkins, Thompson too, was an original and will sorely be missed by fans of roots music.

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Terry Mullins, Sports Editor
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Since my own high school sports career fizzled out before it really reached its zenith, I have managed to live vicariously through the student/athletes of the 16 high schools I've covered for Areawide Media since 2001. I've witnessed the highest of highs in the form of state championships. I have also seen first-hand the sting of disappointment when the ultimate prize was within reach, but still eluded the grasp of its pursuer. But through all the ups and downs associated with high school sports, my respect for the young competitors that suit up each night, along with the men and women who guide them, remains unwavering. Blog mission: With my passion for music, especially live music, running second only to my passion for sports, I'll try to devote this space to both. Especially when it concerns our region and what's happening around it. Look for commentary and features on area sports figures and musicians, along with things to get out and do in the beautiful Spring River/Ozarks area. But I'll not totally ignore the outside - I'll also hit on some national happenings in the wide worlds of sports and music.
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