Monday, May 23, 2016

The Heart of Rock & Soul # 965 Screamin' Jay Hawkins

'As raw and wild as any rhythm and blues record ever waxed. I Put a Spell on You might be the greatest record ever made if raucous and weird were all it took. For postmodern cultural nationalists, it might even be better than that, an R&B classic that explicitly defines itself in terms more African than American, dabbling in voodoo imagery straight from the ancient lands. Not only does Hawkins invoke those powerful old griot spirits, he was shut down for doing so: When first issued I Put a Spell on You had to be withdrawn by OKeh because stations all over the country banned it, alleging that its final round of ghoulish screams and moans simulated cannibalism. Hawkins, meantime, had the wit to open up his shows by rising out of a coffin, a move that not only dazzled teens in 1956, but wowed them again twenty years later when George Clinton adopted the gimmick for his post-psychedelic soul extravaganza, the Parliament / Funkadelic review.'

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