I’ve been longing to play some Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and here’s my chance. (It may also enable me to sashay stylishly into a series of posts entitled “R U Bonkers??”, a sideways look at the world of insanity, which I’m thinking of doing.) Screamin’ Jay was possessed of a terrific voice and a total lack of any sense of boundaries. He should have been more celebrated than he was. His most famous song is the typically voodoo-themed I Put A Spell On You, made famous – in surely one of the best cover versions of anything ever - by Nina Simone*. But here's Jay himself - in what appears to be the USA version of Jazz Club (nice!) - doing a cover of that white-man’s homage to the African-American, Ol’ Man River. He seems to be playing in the style of Les Dawson at the beginning - I'd like to think he's cocking a snook at the overly po-faced host, who introduced us to him earlier with the line "he jumped out of a coffin and into our hearts" - but wait until 1:42 minutes in before he really starts to nutter up:
* Unfortunately there seems to be no video available with the studio version of this song, but this live clip maybe indicates how the incomparable Nina made it her own.