Friday, 12 February 2010

Lazy Ways & Birthdays

A re-up this, just a cut n paste about a shamefully near-ignored track that I posted last year, which happens to be next in in the unruly pile of seven inch singles awaiting their sad fate on ebay.

Battered, tattered & torn - not to mention a bit crackly... (although even when new, this pressing was more than a little noisy). Getting old it is too, like me eh - a day, & technically, a year older since yesterday...


I'm gonna reach into your chest, and fumble with your emotions

So sings Jalacy Hawkins, backed by Keith Richards on this darker than usual version of his oft-covered song. I like to contemplate the imaginary video - a cross between a less choreographed Thriller & the Titty Twister acts in From Dusk 'til Dawn... Keith Richards looking undead, some ghoulishly attractive backing singers, a zombie stand-up drummer; and Screamin Jay Hawkins presiding - threatening not just spells, but weird disfigurement & more in his macabre efforts to hold on to a woman. Maybe he's some land-based version of the Flying Dutchman, appearing on Halloween every seven years, hoping to escape his cursed fate through the use of witchcraft.

I guess a graveyard setting, coffins... - no wait; that's just his live act.

A single release on Polydor in 1980, this & the B-side 'Armpit #6' were recorded on December 18, 1979, at Blue Rock Studios in NYC. Producer was Allan Schwartzberg; presumably the prolific session drummer.

I Put a Spell on You - Screamin' Jay Hawkins (Keith Richards on guitar)
7" 45 - Polydor POSP 183 (1980)
buy? you might find it on ebay or somewhere specialist for $15 or so

I love it; have always found the 'normal' version rather uhh, silly for the sake of it whereas this sounds more serious; the production & Keith's guitar help of course. I think I mean that there's an air of menace, as opposed to tomfoolery; and to borrow a line from Jon Spencer - "We don't play no blues, We play Rock & Roll".
If you think that sounds like I don't rate the usual Hawkins versions - yes, you're right. Somehow, the first rendition I ever remember hearing of I Put a Spell on You, was on the vinyl you hear above; & the others sound too tame in comparison.

There've been dozens of cover versions of Spell on You, I can't be doing with finding 'em all, but expect a few for comparison later on - one's rather bizarre.

Sooo, not a huge Jalacy Hawkins fan overall - but I thought he was excellent in Mystery Train, a film I'd warmly recommend; I've never heard the word 'chimpanzee' in the same way since watching it.

Chosen Fruit -Apple Certified Specialist Support for your Mac