Ted Hawkins was a truly original Singer-Songwriter with a voice like Sam Cooke and a slightly skewed lyrical sense. His most memorable songs mirror the upheaval and disappointment of his turbulent life; at the same time, he was capable of gentle emotion and touching revelations -- he could express the most intimate of sentiments without sounding mawkish. The music is equal parts soul and folk with dashes of country in the intricate picking and sometimes forlorn vocals. Hawkins' songs are haunting in their honesty and reveal a deep well of pain in poetic, complex lyrics. A sadly unrecognized Venice Beach street performer for most of his career, Hawkins' big break came way too late and he died of a stroke on the eve of his success. His recordings are undeniably essential -- the only testament to this unique and gifted performer.