Kaz Hawkins: Feelin’ Good
She recently posted on Facebook that Grannies are just like Moms, but cooler.
Cool doesn’t begin to describe Kaz Hawkins – this lady and her band have matured beautifully since “Get Ready”. It is almost as if she has begun to believe in herself and begun to see what we have been saying since she first got her act together, that this is a very talented lady.
She is open, honest and down to earth. I am so proud to be able to say that for a very short time back in 2014 I was Kaz Hawkins minder… but that is another story altogether!
“Feelin Good” is Kaz’s second album and the difference between it and her debut “Get Ready” released in 2014 is phenomenal. Don’t get me wrong, her debut was a cracking recording but in “Feelin’ Good” she and her band have upped their game. Kaz sounds like she is relaxed and enjoying what she is doing. And the wee man on guitar, Dr Nick, is… well, thank god he fell of that skateboard! Don’t believe me? Fast forward to “Because You Love Me” or “Soul Superstar” and listen.
There have been changes to the band since last I saw them play, a new look and a new brand. The changes have been organic and practical changes, not diva induced breakups. The new look Kaz Hawkins Band may have changed personnel but the sound is still powerhouse blues but upped to 11+. Providing the percussion and bass lines are Slovakian brothers Pete and Jánny whilst Miss Dee comes on board with sweet, sweet backing vocals that perfectly balance the voice that is Ms Hawkins.
Oddly the album starts with an ‘off camera’ comment – Kaz saying that she has lost her mojo… lord help us if this album is a mojo-less KHB, if she finds it she will be beyond awesome.
The opening track “Pray” is the pure gospel at its best – the closing track “I Just Wanna Make Love To You”… well the words are the same as those Etta James sang but Kaz and the band have injected it with steroids, riffs and rock. Then in “It Ain’t You” and “Don’t Run Away” we have pure funk… And why at times am I hearing Thin Lizzie and Rory Gallagher?
On “Don’t Make Mama Cry” there is a tiny tip to pop with “Don’t ya” skipping from left to right channel in a very 70s style, back when stereo was new. The title track may have become a standard in the capable vocal chords of Nina Simone back in 1965, but Kaz has adopted it as her own, a metaphor for where she has got to in life and in her career and how she feels about it all now.
Simone made the song “Feelin’ Good” a blues classic, Hawkins’ “Feelin Good” is destined to become a classic album.
By all means add this album to your collection but, if you can, do so by buying it from Kaz and the band at a gig. You will want to take something home to remember her amazing live performance. I for one cannot wait for the KHB to hit the John Peel Centre in Stowmarket and The Murderers in Norwich.
Check out our interview with Kaz here.