The latest recording from the Nighthawks, All You Gotta Do, is about as close to perfection as you would want from a blues and American roots band. Of course those terms and descriptions, blues rock, soul blues, roots rock, roots music, Americana, hadn t even been coined yet when this band started mixing it all up. And created their own magic gumbo of rock and roll. Inspired and encouraged by their hero s and mentors, that created the genres, they learned the language and feel of this great music. And that s what makes the difference. Founding member Mark Wenner has always had a sound he was after. From the deep blues of Muddy Waters, early rock & roll of Elvis and Buddy with some great four part harmonies was the formula. He has the band now that can do just that and more.
For his third album, Nighthawks at the Diner, Tom Waits set up a nightclub in the studio, invited an audience, and cut a 70-minute, two-LP set of new songs. It's an appropriate format for compositions that deal even more graphically and, for the first time, humorously with Waits' late-night world of bars and diners. The love lyrics of his debut album had long since given way to a comic lonely-guy stance glimpsed in "Emotional Weather Report" and "Better Off Without a Wife." But what really matters is the elaborate scene-setting of songs like the six-and-a-half-minute "Spare Parts," the seven-and-a-half-minute "Putnam County," and especially the 11-and-a-half-minute "Nighthawk Postcards" that are essentially poetry recitations with jazz backing. Waits is a colorful tour guide of midnight L.A., raving over a swinging rhythm section of Jim Hughart (bass) and Bill Goodwin (drums), with Pete Christlieb wailing away on tenor sax between paragraphs and Mike Melvoin trading off with Waits on piano runs. You could call it overdone, but then, this kind of material made its impact through an accumulation of miscellaneous detail, and who's to say how much is too much?
The Nighthawks are an American blues and roots music band, based in Washington, D.C. The Nighthawks currently comprise Mark Wenner (harmonica), Paul Bell (lead guitar), Johnny Castle (bass guitar), and Pete Ragusa (drums). Formed in 1972, the Nighthawks underwent several personnel changes before stabilizing the lineup of Mark Wenner (harmonica), Jimmy Thackery (lead guitar), Jan Zukowski (bass guitar), and Pete Ragusa (drums).In 1987, the band headed to Europe for a two week tour before taking some time off….