Dale Hawkins: Legends Like Lionel Trains, too!




2023: Dennis Chandler talkin’ LOVE TRAIN https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQwyVFqDwjs

About Dale Hawkins …


Dale Hawkins always said,  “Everything is going to work out just the way it’s suppose to!”
This is … A LIGHT STORY about LITTLE TRAINS … BIG LEGENDS … (LIONEL trains, Steven Spielberg and BB KING) …
“ALL ABOARD!” … doin’ it the Dale Hawkins way … we shout out … down-home style … Enjoy the trip. Dale did. 
Dale Hawkins always said,  “Everything is going to work out just the way it’s suppose to!”
First off … HOW DALE AND DENNIS MET. It was right onstage … at the rehearsal for this Cleveland concert. It happened when HEADLINER HAWKINS came out from the wings … that backup musician Dennis stopped playing. He exclaim out loud … how much he loved “that La-Do-Da-Da song”. He was referring to when he first heard Hawkins’ hit record. It was back during Dennis’ high school days.

From that first meeting of the minds … whenever dear Dale called … for Dennis to do musical duty … Den went and served gladly. DALE HAWKINS CANTERBURY BILLBOARD FB A 1

So now a little more set up to this story … about Dale and his kind ways. The above photo shows how Dale “SUSIE-Q” Hawkins always responded with such VERVE to the music being made. (In this case by musical director Dennis’ solo on “MY BABE”). That’s the way Dale did all things … with verve. Dale’s dear friend the late, great Bluesman WILLIE DIXON wrote that song; but I would venture to say … few performed it with such passion, like “the Hawk”. The rockabilly legend had many other hit songs. But, again … the one titled, “La-Do-DaDa”… had special meaning from the high school days of another person. That person was Steven Spielberg. Turns out Dale got to learn how special it was to the legendary film maker. How it happened follows …

Great TRAINMEN think along the same lines. And great MUSIC LOVERS … sing the same tunes, (so to speak). Go get a BIG cup of coffee or tea … then read on.

First … ’bout MUSIC. How THREE LEGENDS LIKE LIONEL ELECTRIC TRAINS. So here’s the setup as to why the ICONIC FILM MAKER STEVEN SPIELBERG … asked to meet the ICONIC ROCKABILLY SINGER DALE HAWKINS. Dale had many hits like “MY BABE , SUSIE-Q”, to name just two. But the song that Spielberg liked is the same song that was responsible for Dale and Dennis meeting. It’s how DC came to serve as musical director for DH … (whenever he called upon him).

The song? One with a funny title, “La-Do-DaDa”… but with special meaning for Spielberg. Again from the high school days … of yet another youth. Turns out Dale got to learn how special it was to him. Keep reading … get another cup of coffee or tea, if you like.

Break’s over. To continue … Dale began to tell us the back story …when he called our landline. (Yes, Youngins’ … no cells).
It was just after the two had met (down in Nashville). But, he was so excited … we could hardly decipher … that-deep-down-Southern-drawl-of-Dale’s. So he stopped, took a deep breath and began again. He slowed down his drawl to tell us … “OK, let me tell you in YANKEE” (read: King’s English).

Turns out Spielberg wanted to meet Dale. To thank the Rockabilly legend for “MY MOST FAVORITE SONG FROM MY HIGH SCHOOL YEARS … ‘La-Do-Dada’!” BTW: That meeting came about because of some very caring creative-types. They made it happen … for “The Hawk”.
Earlier that evening, a mutual recording executive friend of Spielberg’s and Hawkins … called Dale (on his landline). To have him … “please come to Nashville … (from Dale’s home in Little Rock, Arkansas) … for a surprise”.
When he arrived, Dale was placed in one studio. He said he sat so long that he got tired and impatient … and left. But, his friend caught him and from another studio … brought in … “A BIG FAN WHO WANTS TO MEET THE GREAT DALE HAWKINS!” DH said he looked up and saw it was THE GREAT STEVEN SPIELBERG.
As they were being introduced to one another … Dale said he was surprised how SOFT-SPOKEN Steven Spielberg was. Plus he was impressed how MILD-MANNERED the movie maker was. Then … WHAM … with ROBUST ENTHUSIASM … S.S. told Dale how he felt about his song. (It was the same thing that Dennis told him … about Dale’s song being his most favorite song from his high school years)
Steven Spielberg proceeded to also say how he felt Dale’s song still found such favor … after all these years.

When Dale first called us … he started to say, “Spielberg said about his song, ‘La-Do-DaDa’… the SAME THING …THE SAME WAY Dennis did”. (At THEIR first meeting at a rehearsal onstage prior to “playing the Palace”).

In turn, Dennis told Dale that proves … what a gift his song was … still is … and as its writer … Dale should feel proud. It withstood the test of time and memory, too. What a Blessing for any songwriter.
Dale was special and his music still is special. We were so happy for him. One day we hope to let Steven know … how happy he made “The Hawk”.

So about those down-home-Dale-ways. Oftentimes “The Hawk”, looked out for ‘ta other. Yet he always wanted to TOP any tale … (sorta like doin’ the dozens). He started to put a tag on the Spielberg story.
We both were still on our end of the landline. Then in his self-deprecating way … he turned attention ‘ta other person. In this case … both of us. Dale gave a varied, “See, Dennis you could say … you and Steven Spielberg think along the same lines … like lovin’ that song”.

Now ’bout lovin’ Lionel. In response to Dale’s kind, “Great-minds-think-along-the-same-lines” comment … Dennis said, “Well, alright”. Then he thought Dale might like to hear how … another friend of theirs … enjoyed meeting the GREAT STEVEN SPIELBERG, too. He was referring to THE GREAT BB KING (or Poppa BB, as we lovingly sometimes referred to him).
So Den shared what BB told us about getting to see Spielberg’s electric trains. It happened after BB finished playing the Universal Amphitheatre that Steven invited him to play … with his trains.
BB being THE EVER PLAYFUL KID … albeit a BIG KID … had to feel like a little kid … going out after school. There they went … to that famous Spielberg “Bungalow on the Back Lot”. BB said he just loved the whole experience. What a host he was. “The host with the mostest”.
But, BB King … being the consummate Southern gentleman … always tried to relate to the other person, too. So he said to Steven Spielberg, “Oh, my friend, Dennis Chandler has electric trains. But, I can’t quite recall what kind … but, they look to be the same”.
Well, they are the same type … Lionel … and they are from the same time. The Post-War era … (as in SS & DC’s childhood years).
See great trainmen think along the same lines. And great music lovers … sing the same tunes, (so to speak). What Lights.

Great minds think along the same lines … train lines, that is. Like these other favorite film guys.  (The Great Three Stooges) TRAIN COLLAGE THREE STOOGES CHRISTMAS GIFT FIGHTINGClose… but no cigar… please. (The Great Lou Costello and daughter) TRAIN LOU COSTELLO cropBack to about that telephone call:  We also shared with Dale about reading many articles about what first motivated Steven Spielberg to make movies. He said it was because of a couple of childhood gifts:  a LIONEL electric train and a SUPER 8mm movie camera. In interviews SS often addresses how “the movie making” started for him … by filming the crashing of his trains … his LIONEL trains. So that’s when the train bug bit Spielberg. (But, about when the train bug bit Chandler … that’s another story for another time…  Here’s a teaser …

Dale Hawkins loved hearing those Spielberg stories. Of course, that Southern-gentleman-drawl-of-Dale’s came out … with a string of “shoulda, woulda, couldas”. He said, “Oh, I wished I woulda known … I shoulda told Steven …. we coulda talked more … ’bout us all knowing BB, too!” “Oh, and that those trains of yours ARE the LIONEL kind”.

Timing. But, then we recall what we wrote above … that Dale always said, “Everything is going to work out just the way it’s suppose to”.
Perhaps that “suppose to”…  will be … as some of mutual creative-types suggest …  “Go West, young man … go West”… or … “Go, East, young man … go East”. Judging from such sincere wishes … I think everyone wants to run away with the circus … err… train, too. But, just where do we go from here … East or West … that is the question. TRAIN OBSERVATION LENNY LIONEL LION MON right

Of course, Dale Hawkins will be there in spirit … going along (as) coach, (pardon the pun). 

Thank you for being a Light, dear Dale. We still celebrate the sensational … we still celebrate Dale! 

Love, Dennis & Liz