Ronnie Hawkins is known for many things but ballads are not one of them. Bear Family’s 2011 set proves this to be a misconception, illustrating that Hawkins is as adept with a slow burn as he is with a hopping rockabilly beat. Strictly speaking, these aren’t all ballads, at least not in the folk sense: there are plenty of those, but there are bluesy grinds, swaying slow dance crossovers, rolling progressive country, and any number of slow tunes, all of which are handled with ease by Hawkins.
Bear Family’s generous 30-track disc skips through the eras with grace, with simple early-‘60s sides sitting next to slicker ‘70s productions, but the disc never plays schizophrenically; rather, the shifting sounds reveal how Ronnie Hawkins could always deliver a song with unassuming skill.
Vee Jay originally released Love You Madly, a collection of then-previously unissued Duke Ellington performances, back in 1974.
Collectables' 2002 reissue doesn't add anything new to the album, but it is nice to have it back in print again, especially for the performance of "Lover Come Back to Me," which features Billie Holiday. Other highlights include the medley of "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," "In a Sentimental Mood," "Mood Indigo," "I'm Beginning to See the Light," "Sophisticated Lady," "Caravan," "It Don't Mean a Thing," "Solitude," and "I Let a Song Go out of My Heart" and "The Mooche."