Archive for the ‘Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ Category

Ike Turner

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Listen: She Made My Blood Run Cold / Ike Turner
She Made My Blood Run Cold / Ike Turner

Lux and Ivy profusely praised Ike Turner, despite the various mainstream accusations, as being one of the most important contributers to their raw and primal style. ‘She Made My Blood Run Cold’ is easily proof. No shortage of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins or ‘Fever’ similarities either.

Who came first and gets the trophy? We’ll never know.

Travis Wammack

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Listen: Scratchy / Travis Wammack

I’ve never been able to figure out why soul collectors included this single in their world of must-haves. Because ARA Records was distributed by Atlantic? Or maybe it’s the middle bit that has that Screamin’ Jay Hawkins moment. Regardless, in the UK, where the 7″ came out on Atlantic proper, it usually sells for around $100. It’s not the price that irks me but instead the chances of finding one. Well, a yellow labeled demo that is. Meanwhile, my US pressing will have to do.

I recall this one on the the jukebox at Emmy’s, our local small town malt shop. My older, babysitting cousin would drag me round there after school daily. The place was a snapshot right out of AMERICAN GRAFFITI despite being the 60′s. Upstate New York was not current back then. I’d just stand by the Seeburg content to watch records spin round the machine’s turntable for hours, most of the 45′s having a white sheen from repeated plays.

Despite sounding off-centered to this day, ‘Scratchy’ ignited my interest with instrumentals, as did Jack Nitzsche’s ‘The Lonely Surfer’, another well played single at the time.

Wow, did these records ever sound great in that jukebox, and in fact, they still do. all these years later, both are in my Seeburg now, so I know. And yes, I can stand and watch them play for hours, completely content with life.

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

Friday, December 9th, 2011

I Put A Spell On You ('66) / Screamin' Jay Hawkins

Listen: I Put A Spell On You (’66 Version) / Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

“Let me tell you one thing, a leopard don’t change it’s spots.”

That’s what Screamin’ Jay Hawkins had to say about Little Richard’s then recent denouncement of drugs and sex. This was ’85, and he’d just done his first New York show in a long, long time at some short lived venue near Chinatown. He was at a career low. After the performance, he and his wife came out to the front bar for a drink with Eric and Mel, and Corinne and I. The four of us were about the only folks who showed up. We’d looked forward to it for weeks. How could this public indifference be possible?

Didn’t matter to him, his show was full on. Came out of the coffin, the whole ten yards. We sat for a good hour, Eric and I just pouring questions on him, learning that he kept all his stage props at his son’s place in New Jersey when not in use and that included the coffin. I was enthralled with Little Richard since seeing him on The Dick Cavett Show in the late 60′s at which time he was making a bit of a comeback, having just signed to Reprise and was more flamboyant than ever. Just hysterical, really camp and out of control, most likely cocaine fueled. By ’85, Little Richard’s whole drill was about finding God and denouncing his old ways. So I asked Screamin Jay if he knew him, and had he really given up all those fun things. And that was his response.

Having been ripped off royally for publishing and record royalties when ‘I Put A Spell On You’ was originally released in ’58 (it’s rumored to have sold 1M copies for which Screamin’ Jay Hawkins saw zilch), he decided to re-record it for US Decca in ’66, giving it an Otis Redding/Bar Kays soul review rave-up. Not a widely known version, it’s here for a listen.

Voodoo / Screamin' Jay Hawkins

Listen: Voodoo / Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

Around ’74, he did a one-off for RCA, ‘Voodoo’. No info on this or if any other tracks were recorded. Who at RCA would have signed him, and why? But thanks still to that brave, unknown A&R executive.

Heart Attack And Vine / Screamin' Jay Hawkins

Listen: Heart Attack And Vine / Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

In ’93, his version of ‘Heart Attack And Vine’, from a UK album BLACK MUSIC FOR WHITE PEOPLE, was used in a Levi’s campaign and charted at #42 in the UK. It was his only ever chart entry there or anywhere. At least he got to experience some justice prior to getting into that coffin one last time.

Dr. John

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Listen: Right Place, Wrong Time / Dr. John

I recall while living in London during the early 70′s, Dr. John, The Night Tripper, who had by now shortened his stage name, or maybe Atco did the the shortening, to Dr. John, visited London for a handful of shows. The press and beautiful people were drooling. Despite ‘Right Place, Wrong Time’ not being a UK chart hit, unlike in the US, those in the know weren’t fussed. It was a classic, way more important than a chart number. These hommies knew and besides, Dr. John was the real, real, real deal. I believe the show happened at the Rainbow.

Of course, Ronnie Wood couldn’t cut the media line fast enough to be name checked as a supporter. A leopard don’t change it’s spots, as Screamin’ Jay Hawkins once rightfully proclaimed.

But for true authenticity, Charlie Watts stepped into the spotlight to affirm his excitement.

Dr. John has many great singles, basically all of them. ‘Right Place, Wrong Time’ was just one.

Dr. Feelgood

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Listen: Another Man / Dr. Feelgood DrFeelgoodAnotherMan.mp3

There’s a load of theories about where punk started. I suppose you can slice and dice it back to anywhere you want, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins or The Pretty Things, or endless garage bands from the mid 60′s. Most self appointed, gatekeeping journalists will flatter each other with either The Stooges or The New York Dolls. My vote goes to Suicide in the US and the Canvey Island bands in the UK, of which Dr. Feelgood were the first superstars.

Their live show stoked Eddie & The Hot Rods and together they lit up London fast and raw. It was indeed the speed of sound and the sound of speed all at once. New bands that clutched to the past and stood in their way were mowed down flat. Hustler and Nutz for example. It was a fun time for house cleaning. Labels like Chrysalis had their rosters fossilized overnight. Seemed like the world turned from black and white to color. Every single released was a new high.

Dr. Feelgood: Lee Brilleaux had a vocal style and stage presense not unlike Roger Chapman, and Wilko Johnson religiously perfected Mick Green’s jagged guitar style into his own. Their second album, MALPRACTICE, is a clean, articulate blueprint of the band’s attack and technique. But when Dr. Feelggod unleashed live, it was unstoppable.

Seeing them between late ’75 through mid ’77 really was life changing. If you did, you’ll know how hearing their records now will still sound different to us, as opposed to those who weren’t as lucky. Over three decades later, that hasn’t changed.

Not one for European pressings, I tell you honestly, my collection has less than a hundred. I make exception for singles like this, when not one but two 7″ worthy songs are issued on a 45. Both ‘Going Back Home’ and ‘Another Man’ (like ‘I Can Tell’, all from MALPRACTICE) were never released as singles in the UK or US. This Dutch pressing being the only exception to my knowledge. In fact, ‘I Can Tell’ has never come out on 7″ anywhere. How did the otherwise faultless Andrew Lauder mess this one up?

Wait. Come to think of it, there were a few numbers from Brinsley Schwarz NERVOUS ON THE ROAD that deserved single status. Andrew Lauder you have some answering to do.

Being an archivist and collector can also mean you’re a pack-rat, depending upon whom you listen to. Ask Corinne for instance and she’ll pick door number three.

Fine, I’m all of them and glad of it, having saved pretty much everything I’ve ever owned, starting with a rock that flew into my hand off my tricycle’s front wheel at about five years old. That’s how extreme, and far back, I can claim the obsession. Good thing, because the records began at age seven. Damn, if only I started at birth.

In the case of this flyer, saving every last item allowed me to pinpoint the exact date and hour when a whole new musical world was revealed behind that invisible curtain. There had been a few jolting revelations before and several after, but that moment when rock as it had been known and loved immediately became the past occured on February 29, 1976. Dr. Feelgood were a blistering no holds barred introduction to pub and punk. Gone was the polish and self indulgence, the bloat and tired outfits. What the music world changed into we all know.

It was a fantastic time to be young and insatiable. And here’s the flyer to stake that very date in my life. Corinne and I, with our dearest friend Karen Kasiner, braved a winter storm to see Dr. Feelgood. I wouldn’t trade that night for anything.

The Show Stoppers

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Showstoppers, The Show Stoppers, Heritage, Solomon Burke

Listen: Ain’t Nothin’ But A House Party / The Show Stoppers Showstoppers.mp3

I truly thought this was a much bigger national hit than it’s Billboard #87 peak (in ’68). I guess the song got well known but the charts never reflected it. Happens a lot. Often records quitely sell and sell weekly until one day – boom – you have a gold record. Example: Screamin’ Jay Hawkin’s ‘I Put A Spell On You You’ (platinum actually), The Ramones 1st album as well The Sex Pistols US debut.

Pretty sure this didn’t quite go gold, but God knows with all the shadey accounting rampant in the 60′s independent label and distribution world.

But what a stomper, Northern floor filler, and every other well coined, over used slogan. Of special interest to me: Solomon Burke’s two brothers were 1/2 of the lineup.

Red Saunders & His Orch. / Delores Hawkins & The Hambone Kids

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

RaySaundersHambone, Red Saunders & His Orch., Okeh, Delores Hawkins & The Hambone Kids

Listen: Hambone / Red Saunders & His Orch. with Delores Hawkins & The Hambone Kids

Red Saunders found his first successful footing in the depression era Chicago clubs. His endless singles, on many labels, seemed to finally reach an early doo wop/RnB mix of ghetto wildness, a frenzy evident here.

First released in February 1952, the record was accompanied by large display ads in Billboard showing The Hambone Kids performing in front of Red Saunders and his drums. The originally issued take of ‘Hambone’ included Dolores Hawkins’ whistling but lacked her vocal interjections that appear on this version; it also included a brief passage for the full band and a tenor sax solo. The Kids’ rhythmic practice was known as hamboning or patting juba: slapping various body parts as a substitute for drumming. Dee Clark, one of those Hambone Kids, also loudly stamped his heel on the 2nd and 4th beats.

Peaking at #20 on the Billboard RnB chart, it was, like Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ ‘I Put A Spell On You’, a consistent seller. By ’63, parent company CBS decided to reissue ‘Hambone’ as Okeh 7166, pictured here. And then again in ’67 (Okeh 7282). These reissues used an alternate take running 2:13, in which The Hambone Kids and Dolores Hawkins are accompanied throughout by guitar, bass, and drums only; the rest of Red Saunders Big Band / Orchestra contributing only shouts of “Hambone!” at the beginning and end of the piece.

There are many versions of ‘Hambone’ floating around this earth, as was the case with all big selling black records in the 50′s, endless vanilla white artists watered them down for middle America consumption. This here is the real deal though.

Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

samtheshamjujups, Sam The Sham, Sam The Sham & The Pharoaohs, MGM, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Dr. John, ? & The Mysterians, The Sir Douglas Quintet, The Mothers Of Invention

Listen: Ju Ju Hand / Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs SamTheShamJuJu.mp3

samtheshamring,samtheshamjujups, Sam The Sham, Sam The Sham & The Pharoaohs, MGM, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Dr. John, ? & The Mysterians, The Sir Douglas Quintet, The Mothers Of Invention

Listen: Ring Dang Doo / Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs SamTheShamRing.mp3

Throw together the music of Dr. John, The Sir Douglas Quintet and ? & The Mysterians, a bit of The Mothers Of Inventions’s intimidating looks and bang, you end up with Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs. Deservedly, they had some huge hits. You can probably still catch ‘Wooly Bully or ‘Lil Red Riding Hood’ on the oldies stations. But I guarentee you – don’t hold your breath waiting for ‘Ju Ju Hand’ to get played.

Polishing their style as resident house band at the perfectly named Congo Club in Louisiana, the self pressed ‘Wooly Bully’ blew up, selling three million singles in ’65, and was pretty quickly licensed to MGM. Expectations for ‘Ju Ju Hand’, it’s followup, were clearly high. You can always tell when the label would spring for a full color sleeve. Probably a touch too Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, it stalled at #26 and quickly fell back. Oddly, it’s followup, the heavily played ‘Ring Dang Doo’ repeated the process hitting #33.

Then Sam, real name Domingo Samudio, revamped those original Pharoahs, or maybe they quit – whatever – and the remaining releases (still lots of good ones) proceeded with lineups anew.

Syl Johnson

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Come On Sock It To Me / Syl Johnson

Listen: Come On Sock It To Me / Syl Johnson SylJohnsonComeOnSock.mp3

Take Me To The River / Syl Johnson

Listen: Take Me To The River / Syl Johnson SylJohnsonTakeMeRiver.mp3

Sock it to me. A teen catch phrase in the late 60′s that was immortalized via Syl Johnson’s first hit single. Despite only one week at #97 in Billboard, not unlike Screamin’ Jay Hawkins ‘I Put A Spell On You’ (which sold over a million singles but never charted…hmmm), everyone knew this song at the time. Everyone.

A few years later, he joined Hi Records roster and his output was flawless. Often overshadowed by label mate Al Green’s chart success, it’s actually Syl who had the hit with ‘Take Me To The River’. Everything that came out of Hi’s studios, particularly when Willie Mitchell produced, sounded very linear, almost identical but it never mattered. It was an insatiable sound and is as equally signature to Memphis as Stax.

Bo Diddley

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Crawdad / Bo Diddley

Bo Diddley jukebox tab

Listen: Crawdad / Bo Diddley 01 Crawdad.mp3

I starting collecting artist-signed jukebox tabs when I got my 1st Seeburg. It was an aqua/lavender/chrome 1956 model that held 100 singles, with the records housed in a circular carousel that spun around until the desired choice was located, then an arm would reach for the single and put it onto the spinning platter. The tonearm would proceed to lift & set on to the vinyl, and away we’d go. There’s a youtube video of my actual box playing The Rolling Stones ‘Heart Of Stone’ posted by 25 Million, a good friend of mine. Seek it out to see what I mean. So I got this idea back then, around 1986, to carry blank jukebox tabs with me at all times (which I still do) and get artists to fill them out for a record of my choice that they were on, if and when I’d run into them. It was the start of me collecting autographs I guess. So now I have hundreds. So many amazing ones too: Nina Simone, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, The Creation, Ike Turner, The Move, The Cramps, Love, Ellie Greenwich, Sparks, The Ronettes even Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours. Honestly, loads. A few summers ago I went to see Bo Diddley and was lucky enough to have a word with him. He was just a sweetheart, happily answering questions that would turn into amazing stories. It was at a festival so he was just sitting around. Frail in ways even then, I wasn’t confident I should ask him to do the tab, but finally felt comfortable and did. He was so great about it, saying he wanted to do it, but would it be ok to just fill in his name, as he had a tremble when he wrote. Well sure – no problem. Thankfully, I have this to treasure forever.