Oct 19, 2011

TC Hawkins: God’s own Travellin’ Bluesman

by Al Ngullie
For a man whose name takes after one of America’s most fabled hunting rifles, opened for some of the most iconic figures of entertainment America ever had, and later on survived the horrors of the Vietnam War and emerged to travel the world singing the Blues, he is as close to the real beat stuff anyone can have.

Blues veteran TC Hawkins has travelled hard but travelled well. “I know there are better singers, better musicians out there but no one is more sincere than me. (This sincerity is) from God,” the man, who once opened for The Jackson Five, told The Morung Express during an interaction at Aier’s Mansion in Dimapur, Sunday.  

A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, TC Hawkins performed Saturday in Dimapur as part of “international culture-mix,” an inter-culture variety, held on October 8. The Christian ‘bluesman’ is described as a singer, songwriter, choir director, producer and international performer. But this affable man, standing somewhere 5’7 has also a scarred side to him, one he politely declined to talk about. Hawkins is also a veteran of one of the most devastating and most controversial wars in modern history – the Vietnam War (1955-1975).
The mere details he can share you is these: He enlisted in the US Army 1966 and was dispatched to Vietnam in 1967. In 1969, he returned home after military service.  

Right: TC Hawkins in performance in Dimapur, Nagaland
on October 8, 2011 (Photo by Sorei Mahong)

From Vietnam to Praise                                

“When I came back from Vietnam, everybody was singing rock and roll,” Hawkins reminisced. Hawkins already had an incredible track record even before he commenced military service, in fact. He led a now obscure band that opened for The Jackson Five and then Tina Turner herself. Hawkins would go on to open for the great bluesmen of the day Al Green and BB King among others. In fact, his career was taken on the tops when he sang the Star Spangled Banner the night Muhammad Ali took on Jimmy Young.

Hawking said he resumed his singing even in the military. But, apparently, the war took a toll on him. When he emerged from serving in Vietnam, Hawkins no longer wanted to pursue career in “secular’ music. There was no power in his music before he committed to God, Hawkins said between sips of coffee. “When I committed to God, then,” he said, “the power came.”

TC Hawkins had finally found what he wanted to do in life. He travelled the world performing in Norway, a host of other Scandinavian countries, Russia and Canada. He then wrote and produced his first solo album entitled “I Gave It Up”.

The Blessed Vagabond

Yet, in all irony, the veteran bluesman has no record label even after 40 years. ‘I have been waiting for somebody to come along, to sign me and say, show me what you got,’ Hawkins said. In a world of rock and hip-hop, record labels have yet to find time for a Christian blues singer, who aside from all practical purpose, is 63 years old now. “There has been no label for me for 40 years. But I am successful in the eyes of God. I am successful because I attempt to succeed in what I do,” the man, whose namesake is a hunting rifle, said. ‘Was it successful because you have reached the top? Or was it successful because attempt was made to reach the top? In God’s eyes, I am already successful. I’m certain of it,’ he explained. “I have never lost hope. I believe that one day the phone will ring…” the man said.

Writing and producing his music, Hawkins took out a second CD “Forever”, and a third recording which was a single “There’s Nobody.” His latest release is “Totally Committed” which has a set of more than a dozen new songs ‘for the record labels.’  

It is said that TC Hawkins is a household name in Europe and Scandinavia. In fact, he is quite popular there that he’d travelled to Norway for about 40 times to perform.  “He is mentioned in the same breath as BeBe and CeCe Winans, Andrae Crouch and Richard Smallwood,” a resource on Hawkins says. God has been his guide and provider, he acknowledged. ‘I had never heard of Nagaland, now I am in Nagaland,’ he said, explaining that God is the one who offers him work. He has a dream though – a record label that can offer him a platform to share his message of redemption and God’s love to the people.

In 1990 Hawkins joined the Scandinavia leg of BeBe and CeCe Winans European tour In November of 1993 he appeared in Oslo, Norway, with Richard Smallwood. “Whatever God has in store for me I will take. If you keep believing, faith will work.”

Hawkins has a page on MySpace at www.myspace.com/hawkins1

1 comment:

  1. Antoinette Hawkins (T.C.'s daughter)August 4, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    I love my daddy! He is a great father, husband, grandfather, son, brother, uncle and friend a person could ever have and he is anointed by God.