Monday, January 19, 2009

One Song in the Style of A Nutter

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.

12 comments:

Mrs Pouncer said...

Greetings from Chalet Weiche Droge in glorious Saaenmoser! Gadj, this has set me up for a day of newly-dropped white powder, and no mistake. Loving Screamin' Jay; and that his piano intro is in the style of Les Dawson makes it even better. Kinorenner! as we all say here.

scarlet-blue said...

Oh I liked this Gadj... and a nice bit of sax...
Hello Mrs P! You be careful not to overdo anything on your first day.
Sx

Gyppo Byard said...

Splendid! Love Screamin' Jay Hawkins... This is a new and interesting approach to the selection of music, to which I have already applied what is left of what I am pleased to call my brain.

The Dotterel said...

Say what you like, that crazy cat can siiiiiiinnng!

Julian Meteor said...

Don't mind me; I'm just reading following Scarlet-Blue around the internet.

lol

Pearl said...

What a strange, strange man he was. He left behind something like 60 children. Apparently his appeal went beyond the stage...

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

Is that a live snake round his neck?? No wonder the rest of the band stayed so immobile.

Gorilla Bananas said...

That's the first time I've seen voodoo, blues and Shakespeare combined in the same act.

Lulu LaBonne said...

You've reminded me that I have a Screamin' Jay record somewhere, I love him - and all that bling and snakey stuff too.

Kevin Musgrove said...

I am gobsmacked.

Loved the cuffs!

inkspot said...

Outstanding post, Gadj.

Among the credits rolling at the end was "written by [someone or other]". If it was totally scripted, it's even more remarkable.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Saaenmoser, Mrs Pouncer? I thought you said you'd gone to Gdansk. Greetings to you wherever you are! (Is that snow or Shake 'n Vac you're talking about??)

Great, Scarley! Yeah, the guy introducing the show does seem pretty good on the sax, and I suppose Screamin' Jay does need a straight man.

Glad you like it, Gyppo! The pun did seem unusually serendipitous - i.e. a great excuse - and thanks for taking it further.

He's got a fantastic voice hasn't he, Dot. He can sing straight like a crooner when he wants to, but then usually can't help freaking out before long, and I don't blame him.

Welcome again, Mr Julian. Being a member of Scarlet's entourage is a worthy occupation!

Pearly, it's claimed he fathered as many as 75! I wonder if he payed them all child support...

Has he got a snake around his neck, Daphers? It's probably either not alive any more or it's as drunk as Jay is.

Good point, Bananas, and the combination really should have developed into a genre in its own right.

Lulu, yes indeed, and talking of bling, he's in a different league to those rap so-called "musicians" - shot a lot more people too (Japanese, in the war).

Kevin, you can probably get an outfit like this make for you in Carnaby Street - you should wear it to work!

Thanks, Inky. I'm not convinced that his gruntings could be cripted - though having said that, apparantly Frankie Howerd's were!