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Bluesman Hawkins, 58, Dies Of Stroke

Ted Hawkins, the versatile bluesman whose trademark milk crate served as his seat whether he was playing on a sidewalk or in concert halls around the world, died after a stroke. He was 58.

Hawkins died Sunday, said his record label, David Geffen Co.

His raspy, poignant music, which often crossed into country, gospel and soul, drew high praise from critics. Rolling Stone magazine gave his 1982 “Watch Your Step” recording five stars.

He had a loyal following in Europe but had only recently begun to enjoy widespread popularity in the United States. He made his major record label debut on Geffen last year with “The Next Hundred Years.”

Hawkins said his years of singing for spare change at Los Angeles’ Venice Beach prepared him for the difficulties of touring.

“Many, many days the wind blew sand down my throat while I’m trying to sing,” he said in October. “It comes so fast I don’t get a chance to stop. You have to hold the people once you get ‘em to pay attention to you.”

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