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The Hawks

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Biography

There have been at least 5 bands with the name “The Hawks”.

1. The Hawks were one of the earliest groups to come out of New Orleans (the biggest, of course, was the Spiders). Put together by bandleader Dave Bartholomew, they were the melding of a soloist and a gospel group.

In 1952, Dave Bartholomew was an a&r man, bandleader, and talent scout for Imperial Records in New Orleans. He’d already brought Fats Domino to the attention of Imperial’s owner, Lew Chudd, and he was trying for the gold again.

This time, he’d discovered another large singer, Allen “Fat Man” (or “Fats”) Matthews, when he was performing at the Tiajuana Club in the Big Easy. Bartholomew was so impressed with Matthews (and his ability to sound like Clyde McPhatter) that he hired him as his band singer.

Meanwhile, in August 1952, Imperial Records released the only gospel record to ever appear on the label. It was by a group called the New Orleans Humming Four: “Twelve Gates To The City”/”I’m Satisfied.” In a way, it was fitting: the Humming Four had been in existence for exactly 20 years and this was their only record.

The Humming Four had been started by Albert Veal in 1932 (when he was in high school); Buddy Morris was another of the original four. Twenty years later, by the time of their only recording session, the personnel were Albert Veal (tenor), John “Buddy” Morris (baritone), Dudley Royal (tenor), Joe Gaines (tenor), and Frank Rushing (bass). (In spite of the fact that they had become a quintet in 1936, they still called themselves the Humming Four.)

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