T. K. Hulin
Inducted on November 17, 2001
Alton James Hulin was born August 16, 1943 in St. Martinville. He began his musical career at age 14 when he recorded a single entitled "Many Lonely Nights." In 1959, he founded the Lonely Knights Band and the following year he recorded "I'm Not A fool Anymore." The song was released on the LK label, owned jointly by T.K.'s father and Robert Thibodeaux, a local songwriter. In 1964, Hulin formed a 12-piece band that included, now famous Edgar Winters, who traveled from Beaumont and stayed at Hulin's home on the weekends. In 1964, at age 20, Hulin's big hit, "Not A Fool Anymore," was released nationally and climbed to #25 on the National Billboard chart. The record, written by Hulin's High School music teacher, Robert Thibodeaux, went silver, selling over a half million copies. His other hit recording, "As You Pass Me By" better known as "Graduation Night" was recorded in 1964 and sold over 150,000 copies. Each year around May, one can always hear this famous recording with the song being popular in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.
He was about 12 years old when he discovered his interest in music. Hulin used to play in the back of an old barn with some sticks and an old salad oil can that he pretended were drums. A self-taught singer, Hulin never learned to read music and never wrote a song, but proudly insists that "he sings from the heart." When Hulin first started singing in the sixties, he looked up to such stars as Otis Redding, James Brown and Tom Jones. The artistry and stage presence of Tom Jones left a lasting impression on Hulin who says that Jones still continues to draw crowds because he still sounds that same as he did 25 years ago. "He's a terrific performer and his voice carries so well," says Hulin. Like Jones, Hulin feels his voice matured and he says that his singing today is better than it was 20 years ago.
For over 40 years, Hulin has been packing fans into various nightclubs throughout South Louisiana from Alexandria to New Iberia to Port Authur. He still performs four or five nights per week. Hulin considers himself a rhythm and blues singer but his versatility extends into rock and roll, country, and even Cajun. He is still requested to sing the French version of "Jolie Blonde" at local clubs. Says Hulin, "I still get an adrenaline rush from the crowd and that makes me perform all the better."
After recording 6 vinyl albums, Hulin recently recorded a new CD, his first, titled "Simply T.K." The entire CD was recorded live at the Back to Back Club in Lafayette.
Besides an entertainment career, Hulin and his wife, Colleen, own and operate the famed Yellow Bowl Restaurant in Jeaneratte. Owned and operated for years by her dad, Tony Roberts, the establishment specializes in fresh Seafood. Having T.K. Hulin in there to greet fans and customers excites the most humble of patrons.
A dedicated and religious person, Hulin continues to give benefit concerts for such important organizations as Muscular Dystrophy and Toys for Tots.