Starting out in Cornwall with a box of cassette tapes, safely curated for 40 years by Stephen Duffy, then baked and extracted in London by acknowledged leaders in the field of music rescue FX, thereafter mastered for vinyl and CD in Los Angeles by Grammy Award winning engineer John Paterno, and finishing up in Warwick and Rugby with Seventeen Records, the Cassette-O-Sonic sound of The Hawks “Obviously 5 Believers” album is finally available on vinyl and CD.


Everybody knows the story of Steven ‘Tin Tin’ Duffy and Duran Duran right? Right.  Everybody who readys RPM is familiar with The Jacobites or Dave Kusworth Right? right well lets introduce The Hawks from Birmingham back when Five nineteen year olds  Stephen Duffy, Dave Kusworth, Dave Twist, Paul Adam’s and Simon Colley – The Hawks released just one single “Words Of Hope” in 1980 and then vanished without a trace into a world that through time created myths about lost tapes, unreleased diamonds etc etc well here are those myths – Busted!.

In 2021, with “O5B”, they have now released The Greatest Album Never Made by a ragamuffin, group of jangly guitared foppish haired rock and rollers who believed in the magic and mystery of what a band could produce.  Something that seems to have been lost in the mists of time.

Born out of punk and a Stones infused Rock and Roll dream these post punkers are what time has deemed could have and should have beens.  There are bands people have heard of but probably not heard that litter the diaries of music fans especially those in the Midlands of a certain age. Live they weren’t a mystery by people who were there and they did spawn one 7″ single but that’s it…until now.  when Duffy and Kusworth last met, Duffy, as custodian of The Hawks’ ‘tape recordings’, promised that they would one day see the light of day. Sadly this was not soon enough for Kusworth who tragically passed away suddenly in September last year amidst this wretched pandemic.


True to his word Duffy has finally released these ten tracks Some forty years after they were made. Forty bloody years (where did it all go?) with all ten songs being penned by Duffy ‘cept for a handful co-written by Kusworth begins with the jangly ‘All The Sad Young Men’ without the modern fineries of digital recordings this earthy time capsule is more than listenable as it lies somewhere between early Waterboys and the obvious ingredients of what was to come from these teenagers.

‘Aztec Moon’ is a dreamy acoustic slice of balladeering but once the rest of the band breaks in it floats off. There’s a beautiful naivety or innocence about the arrangments and familiarity as well as ‘Big Store’ is a timeless melody even if the lyrics needed a little work.

Songs like ‘what Can I Give?’ give the likes of The Mighty Wah!, Teardrop Explodes, and Echo And The Bunnymen a royal run for their money, and the bass line at the start of ‘A Sense Of Ending’ is majestic.  ‘Bullfighter’ could be something that the Lower East Side darlings of the late 70s such as the Voidoids would have fought over but there is a Britishness about it as well and considering this was the work of such young men its impressive stuff.


You do wonder after repeated listening how these songs weren’t picked up by some eager A&R bod looking to make a name for him/herself.  Had The Hawks come from the heady northwest say a budding Liverpool scene or Manchester then things might have turned out differently, very differently. ‘What It Is!’ is somewhere between the beatniks from the 60s and the baggies from the late 80s maybe they were just too cool for school and this is the best way for those who know to get their hands on a copy and their best kept secret legacy to continue on into infinity, who knows.  I’m glad I’ve heard these tunes it was well worth the wait.  I’m just gutted Dave didn’t get to hold a copy.


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Author: Dom Daley