One advantage of longevity in the music business is that when you don't have anything new to offer, you can always repackage something old. Sometimes, as in the case of the Nighthawks' "Times Four," the vintage material is better than the reprise.
Washington's Hawks, of course, have been primary movers in the Blue Wave, a regional phenomenon whose rock'n'roll is firmly rooted in both traditional urban blues and rockabilly, but whose outreach is to rock audiences. It's high-energy, beer- guzzling music, rough inside and out.
"Times Four" is an all-new double album: one studio set and one live (recorded in 1976 at The Psyche Delly in Bethesda and in 1979 at the El Macombo in Toronto). The punchy, live cuts include tunes by Elvis Costello, Otis Rush, Elmore James, Little Walter and Carl Perkins. Studio cuts range from soul ("Let a Woman Be a Woman") to country (Hank Williams) to a hassle of blues; there's even a revival of the Hangmen's "What a Girl Can't Do." Whatever mode they're in, the Hawks play with undiluted energy and the abandon of believers. ON RECORD, ON STAGE THE ALBUM THE NIGHTHAWKS -- Times Four (Adelphi Records AD4130/35). THE SHOW THE NIGHTHAWKS, J.B. Hutto and the New Hawks, Rory Block, and John Cephas and Phil Wiggins, Sunday at 7 at Carter Barron Amphitheater.