SCREAMIN JAY HAWKINS REAL LIVE
Original Release Date: 1983
Recorded in Paris France April/May 1983
Screamin' Jay Hawkins was the most outrageous performer extant during rock's dawn. Prone to emerging out of coffins onstage, a flaming skull named Henry his constant companion, Screamin' Jay was an insanely theatrical figure long before it was even remotely acceptable.
Hawkins' life story is almost as bizarre as his onstage shtick. Originally inspired by the booming baritone of Paul Robeson, Hawkins was unable to break through as an opera singer. His boxing prowess was every bit as lethal as his vocal cords; many of his most hilarious tales revolve around Jay beating the hell out of a musical rival!
Hawkins caught his first musical break in 1951 as pianist/valet to veteran jazz guitarist Tiny Grimes. He debuted on wax for Gotham the following year with "Why Did You Waste My Time," backed by Grimes and his Rockin' Highlanders (they donned kilts and tam o' shanters on stage). Singles for Timely ("Baptize Me in Wine") and Mercury's Wing subsidiary (1955's otherworldly "[She Put the] Wamee [On Me]," a harbinger of things to come) preceded Hawkins' immortal 1956 rendering of "I Put a Spell on You" for Columbia's Okeh imprint.
His gross "Constipation Blues" wouldn't garner much airplay, but remained an integral part of his legacy for quite awhile.
The cinema was a beneficiary of Screamin' Jay's larger-than-life persona in later years. His featured roles in Mystery Train and A Rage in Harlem made Hawkins a familiar visage to youngsters who never even heard "I Put a Spell on You." He died February 12, 2000 following surgery to treat an aneurysm; Hawkins was 70.
2. Get Down France
3. Serving Time
4. Feast Of The Mau Mau
5. Poor Folks
6. Constipation Blues
7. Your Kind Of Love
8. All Night
9. Alligator Wine
10. I Feel Alright
11. Mountain Jive