Monday, 25 April 2016

At Home With Screamin' Jay Hawkins

At Home With Screamin' Jay Hawkins - EPIC LN 3448 - released 1958 

Side A
Orange-Colored Sky
Hong Kong
I Love Paris
I Put A Spell On You
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Side B
Yellow Coat
Ol' Man River
If You Are But A Dream
Give Me My Boots And Saddle
Deep Purple
You Made Me Love You

This is Screamin' Jay Hawkins' first album and is one of my all time favourites. A gloriously insane collection of schlock horror, standards, show tunes and even a spiritual. Standout tracks are the dance floor friendly 'Yellow Coat' and the song that would become his calling card 'I Put A Spell On You'. 'I Put A Spell On You' was originally intended to be a ballad but he and the band had a few drinks during the recording session and the result has been described as "the most extreme expression of possessiveness ever heard on record". In fact his maniacal howls and screeches caused the record to be banned by many radio stations as being too cannibalistic. The version on this album, however, has the grunts and snarls at the end of the track removed to protect delicate listeners. Few could ever match the power of his voice and delivery and almost all covers are sung as a ballad, the one notable exception being Arthur Brown. Jay has been quoted as saying that he really wanted to try opera singing but no one would take him seriously. That's the opera world's loss but the rest of the world's gain.
He reprised 'I Put A Spell On You' and 'Yellow Coat' for the 1991 film of the Chester Himes novel "A Rage In Harlem", both the book and film are well worth searching out.

Here is my favourite track off the album, 'Yellow Coat' and the essential full version of 'I Put A Spell On You'......

1 comment:

  1. Really enjoyed reading about Screamin' Jay Hawkins'. Really cool music! Fab first post, looking forward to lots more. Welcome to Blogland! xxx


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