Subtitled "The King Anthology 1946-1963," this brings together his earliest recordings as well as two versions of his final single. Kicking off with a previously unissued undubbed version of his biggest hit, "Lonesome 7-7203," the set goes back to the dawn of Hawkins
' career with sides like "I Ain't Goin' Honky Tonkin' Anymore," "I've Got the Blues," "Sunny Side of the Mountain," and "You Nearly Lose Your Mind," all distinguished by sparse string backing and bluesy vocals. It isn't until 1949's "Pan American" that normal country instruments (fiddles, steel guitar) start showing up in Hawk
's music, as he covers everything from Hank Williams
to current R&B hits like Ruth Brown
's "Teardrops From My Eyes" and John Greer's "Got You on My Mind." Hawkins
further blurs the line between country and blues with proto-rockabilly tracks like "Doghouse Boogie," "Back to the Dog House," and "Rattlesnakin' Daddy." Hawkshaw
left King in 1953, and the rest of his career is chronicled on an exhaustive Bear Family box set entitled Hawk, but these are some of his very best and earliest sides and are absolutely essential to getting the big picture on this highly underrated artist.