Friday, October 13, 2006

Music: Because you're his.

Screamin' Jay Hawkins is one of those singular characters who is either completely nuts or utterly brilliant, depending on who is passing judgment. In this clip from a Canadian television show, the High Voodoo Priest of Rock and Roll Freakery works his way through "I Put a Spell on You." This clip is especially nice in that it features Sreamin' Jay's long-time collaborator: Henry the cigarette smoking skull. Enjoy.


cattleworks said...

I've heard the song before and I've seen pictures of Screaming Jay Hawkins... but I don't know if I've ever seen him actually perform it.
Yeah, as much as I LOVE CCR and John Fogerty, their cover does not touch this!
Man, watching this I was really impressed by his voice, including or especially, his laugh!
Too bad this song is so goofy, for lack of a better word. Not having really heard his other output, I can only assume his songlist comes off like curiosities, amusing but forgettable. Or they really need to be seen performed by this zany madman to really appreciate them. Or am I wrong?
I'm saying this because his persona is so gimmicky (although, that weird... bone? he's wearing is a neat visual reference to witch doctors and Dali!), that I can only assume the songs rarely can stand alone on their own merits, although "I Put a Spell On You," does, I think.
As opposed to, say, the Mummies, where their songs are perhaps strange via subject matter, the musicality in them is still pretty strong. The Mummies' visual and exuberant stage act probably brings the fans in, but their songs seem to stand up as well.

Anyways, Hawkins seems like a hoot!

On a totally unrelated note, but since you seem to frequent YouTube...
A friend of mine has edited some music videos, mostly as exercises, except for one commission. You may want to check them out. Her name is molliecat (search that) and you can see her ouevre...
The "actual" video she edited was for the band STATE called "Crash."
And if you like DS9, her fan film "GARAK" may interest you, too.

CRwM said...

I should just confess up front that I'm a fan of gimmicks. I know they've got a bad rep and all – the term gimmick being used as a near antonym to the term art – but I have a real weakness for a clever gimmick. Somebody tells me that some band rises above the typical macho posturing of rock to deliver powerfully felt tunes about the condition of man in the modern world and I start to fall asleep. Tell me instead that the band dresses like 18th century French aristocrats and sings songs like "Let Them Eat Rock," and suddenly I'm all ears.

That said, most of Hawkins's output isn't this goofy. I suspect that he was doing only one song for this show, so he really packed in all the odd things he would spread around through the course of an entire concert.

Still, like a lot of these fringe folks, his unique approach makes him a love/hate proposition. For those who don't dig on him, a little of Hawkins goes more than a long way.

Just one more thing: the voice. Hawkins's voice is pretty amazing and, at the beginning of his musical career, he was actually hoping to make it as an opera singer. Just a little fun fact to drop into conversation at your next shindig.

Thanks for the leads on your friend's work.

Before I close this absurdly long comment – do you have any other blogs besides the livejournal? You mentioned a comics blog, but I haven't found a link to one.

cattleworks said...

Do I have more blogs... ha ha HA HA HA HAA HAAA!!
Do I maintain them as "well" as my livejournal site?

(Man, lots of crickets 'round here....)

Um, yes. YES! The answer is YES!
Try this, stud:

Of course, if you want to comment, you'll probably have to sign up for a myspace account, which is a pain... but hell, that's how I got in this mess of having THREE damn blogs.
The third blog is a blogger site, and I have no idea what I'm doing with it, so we'll just let that slide for now...