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October 15, 2006

Canadian Blues Legends Honoured With Lifetime Achievement Awards

Written by
cindy mcleod

Canadian blues news


King Biscuit Boy (the late Richard Newell)
Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
Hamilton Music Awards
November 19, 2006

Ronnie Hawkins, King Biscuit Boy, Harold Kutlets to Receive Lifetime Achievement Awards

The 3rd annual Hamilton Music Awards is set to kick off next month, honouring the top musicians of the year. The awards will be handed out at a gala event Sunday, Nov. 19 at the Dofasco Centre of the Arts, and will be hosted by ex-Junkhouse frontman Tom Wilson and CH’s Wendy Wolfe.

The gala follows a two-day music festival featuring acts such as Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Jacksoul, The Forgotten Rebels and Ronnie Hawkins. In addition, the Hamilton Music Awards will feature an industry conference on Saturday, Nov. 18, and a Career Day for students on Friday, Nov. 17 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel.

Ronnie Hawkins, the late Richard Newell (a.k.a. King Biscuit Boy), and music promoter/manager Harold Kudlets, all leaders in the Canadian music industry, will be honoured at the event with special lifetime achievement awards. The three honourees share common ties in the industry.

Harold Kudlets, one of the country’s most influential talent agents and managers during the ’50s & ’60s, will be the recipient of this year’s Business Achievement Award. It was Kutlets who brought Arkansas rocker Ronnie Hawkins to Hamilton in 1958, where the musician became a veteran of the southern Ontario club scene.

Hawkins moved to Canada in 1961 and formed the renowned group The Hawks, featuring fellow Arkansas native Levon Helm, and southern Ontario natives Robbie Robertson, Garth Hudson, Rick Danko and Richard Manuel.

Breaking from Hawkins in 1965, the new band known as Levon and the Hawks hired manager Kudlets, who booked them at clubs and festivals across North America. Capturing the attention of Bob Dylan in 1965, the group renamed itself The Band and went on to back the legendary musician for the next two years. One of the most revered groups in rock, The Band toured and recorded until their last concert together in 1976. The concert, which featured many guest performers including Hawkins, was filmed by director Martin Scorsese and entitled The Last Waltz.

It was Hawkins who gave Hamilton native Richard Newell the moniker King Biscuit Boy and crowned him the best blues harmonica player in the country. (Newell died at his Hamilton home in 2003 at the age of 58).

Another of Hawkins’ most recognized bands was formed by a group of Hamilton-area musicians who later became the band Crowbar, best known for their 1971 hit song Oh What a Feeling. King Biscuit Boy recorded two albums with the group before going to the United States to pursue a solo career.

Kudlets, now in his 80s and living in Shalom Village retirement home, returned to manage The Band when they reunited in the ’80s without leader and key songwriter Robertson.

for more information visit www.hamiltonmusicscene.com

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