1979 Screamin' Jay Hawkins LP "Screamin' the blues"

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1979 Screamin' Jay Hawkins LP SCREAMIN' THE BLUES (GB: Red Lightnin' RL 0025)

country gb.gif GB: Red Lightnin' RL 0025

A 01 (03:04) Not anymore (Jalacy Hawkins)
A 02 (03:17) Please try to understand (Jalacy Hawkins)
A 03 (02:34) Baptize me in wine (Jalacy Hawkins)
A 04 (02:52) This is all (Jalacy Hawkins)
A 05 (03:01) She put the wammee on me (Jalacy Hawkins)
A 06 (02:33) Well I tried (Jalacy Hawkins)
A 07 (02:34) You're all of my life to me (Jalacy Hawkins)
A 08 (02:38) I hear voices (Jalacy Hawkins)
B 01 (02:32) Talk about me (Jalacy Hawkins)
B 02 (02:27) Just don't care (Jalacy Hawkins)
B 03 (02:34) The Whammy (Jalacy Hawkins)
B 04 (03:02) Poor folks (Jalacy Hawkins)
B 05 (02:20) Your kind of love (Jalacy Hawkins)
B 06 (02:09) All night (Jalacy Hawkins)
B 07 (03:19) Monkberry moon delight (Linda McCartney, Paul McCartney)
B 08 (03:09) Sweet Ginny (Jalacy Hawkins)
  • Recording: [A 01-03] 1953 New York ; [A 04-07, B 01] 1954 New York ; [A 08, B 02] 1962.01 New York ; [B 03] 1963 New York ; [B 04-05] 1965.09 New York ; [B 06] 1967.09 New York ; [B 07-08] probably 1970 Houston
  • Musicians: [A 01-03] Jay Hawkins (vocals, piano), Red Prysock (tenorsax), Tiny Grimes (guitar), plus unknown ; [A 04-07, B 01] Jay Hawkins (vocals), Leroy Kirkland band ; [A 08, B 02] Screamin' Jay Hawkins (vocal), Teddy McRae Orchestra ; [B 03] Screamin' Jay Hawkins (vocals), Sammy Lowe's Orchestra ; [B 04-05] Screamin' Jay Hawkins (vocals), Walter Young Orchestra ; [B 06] Screamin' Jay Hawkins (vocals), Leroy Kirland Orchestra ; [B 07-08] Screamin' Jay Hawkins (vocals, piano), unknown (sax, guitar, bass, drums)
  • Artwork: Villa Graphics
  • Magic cutting: Big M.
  • Mastering and dubbing: Norbert Hess
  • Photos: Bill Greenweedsmith
  • Liner notes: Cliff White
  • Note: "Many thanks to Norbert Hess for inspiring and instigating this album. Published by Deliver Music / BMI. Sub-published in UK by Big Spliff Music. Released by arrangement with Screamin' Jay Hawkins and Glitter Management." - "I hear voices" and "Just don't care" were originally credited to "Screamin' Jay Hawkins and the Chicken Hawks".


Liner notes

DON'T PANIC!!! Two hours to deadline, the sixth deadline for this one album this year. Red Lightnin' chief and Indian Pete Shertser having his nineteenth nervous breakdown, sparked off by yet another burst of ??**!!**?? from New York, where a man of mystic aura awaits the release of his album with increasing impatience. Norbert Hess, compiler and intended sleeve note writer, missing believed whammied. Old age rushing up on all of us. Don't panic? Me?

AAAARRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What we have here is a starting case of flipped wig. And the music isn't the sanest thing you've ever heard in your life either. You play this one like you play Russian Roulette. Nonchalantly; one hand on the trigger, the other on your bowels. Say what? Quick nurse, the screens.

Fear of flying. Is there a psychiatrist in the house to tell us whether this is relevant? That Screamin' Jay Hawkins... ex-Golden Gloves champion boxer (quickly retired before serious injury - sharp cat); ex-Korean based GI (wounded, repatriated, demobbed); ex-Chitlin' Circuit sideman (accompanying / supporting Arnett Cobb, Gene Ammons, James Moody, Illinois Jacquet, Tiny Grimes, Lynn Hope and Fats Domino as his starter for seven); temporarily successful and forever notorious as the First Freak Of The Order Of Rhythm 'n' Rock 'n' Roll 'n' Blues; survivor of a near-disembowelling by a hinge-brain hermaphrodite who was barely exceptional in a case-history of living on the frontline; survivor (just) for twenty-eight years in the less than glamorous basement of the razzmatazzical izzentitunderful wurlitzer world of showbiz; occasional creator of rare but priceless musical objet d'art, hand-crafted specialities with more than a touch of the bizarre in a world of production-line yawnaminute clones... can it be true that this man is not entirely comfortable surging hysterically along a couple of miles of concrete in a metal tube, bouyed up by a wing or two and a prayer, in a desperate attempt to defy the law of gravity? Yes. So what does he do? He enrols at a flying school to train for a pilot's licence. Why may or may not have anything to do with the music at hand but it makes about as much sense as saying: "Born Jalacy Hawkins in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 18th 1919, Jay first gurgled a so on and so on and so on."

Actually, he said in true British fashion, about the earliest facts that are vaguely relevant about Jay are that, somewhere along the line between childhood and demob, he taught himself a knockabout competence on piano and saxophone and tuned into the hip sounds of the era, which I believe are roughly categorized nowadays as big band and swing jazz, a rough touch of the bepops, and some early examples of rhythm 'n' blues. Not including a side order of opera-cum-light operatta. In other words, to click into focus on the formative whatsit you'd have to beam by way of Duke and Count, Louis Jordan and Maynard Ferguson, John Lee Hooker and Dizzy and Mario Lanza. Followed by immediate predecessors that fade into contemporaries, like Joe Turner, Big Maybelle, Esther Philips, Nappy Brown, Chuck Willis and... er, how does Alan Freed grab ya?

Jay once told me that Big Maybelle (the late, great) was one of his biggest influences. It's true, but I just thought I'd throw that in to confuse you. Is anybody out there?

So now you have a skin-thin idea of, as they say, where the man is at and where he is coming from, no doubt you'll be wanting to know what he has done.

Ah well, as evry fule kno, he rote and rekorded the original unsuparsabel vershon of "I Put A Spell On You". At the last count there have been, oh, I'd say offhand, about four well known and a dozen not so well known cover versions of this magnificent anthem, not including Jay's several re-recordings. And none except Nina Simone' and a couple of Jay's reworkings have come close - and then from a totally different angle - to his (in)famous Okeh recording.

Unfortunately we haven't got that one for ya this evening. BUT. What we have got is a Great Glob of his pre 'n' post Spell recordings that were, and have always been, for the most part ignored by the most part. Which is a cryin' shame. Coz Jay never was a one-off. He is, still is, a one-off. Understand the difference? I trust so. Otherwise there's no hope for ya. We're talking about the difference between a one-off record and a one-off character, who, give or take twenty-five years of hard grind, the like of which you and I hope we're not going to experience, is much the same NOW as he was THEN and ever shall be. One of life's natural individuals. Even unto music.

Except for an inexplicable switch twixt last track Side One and first track Side Two (Consult box for tedious session details), the first eight tracks were all recorded before Jay freaked out the mainstream fuse. But you'd hardly realise it.

Jay remembers that it was around the time he recorded "Spell" for Okeh (September 1956, according to the company's session files; Summer 1954 just after his first unissued version according to the man himself) that he was cajoled into dressing and acting weird by Alan Freed. He also remembers, hazily, that it was only by getting exceedingly "tired and emotional" that he managed to make such an exotic recording as "Spell". Which is all very plausible until you hear these earlier recordings and realise he was already the freakiest blues singer in the business before "Spell" amde it obvious to a wider public.

The second eight tracks prove that little changed when the old order was swept aside. While '50s rock stars gave way to '60s beat boys gave way to chemical confusion gave way to the hard of hearing gave away to a right load of young tearways and no mistake, in the alternative reality of Screamin' Jay Hawkins business carried on very much as unusual. Do not adjust your set, normal service will not be resumed as soon as possible. I hope.

OK, Pete? OK, Jay? Jay? Jay? Speak to me Jay? OH NOT THE AAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!!!

Cliff White (1979)

All issues

1979 Screamin' Jay Hawkins LP SCREAMIN' THE BLUES country gb.gif GB: Red Lightnin' RL 0025
1988.10 Screamin' Jay Hawkins CD SCREAMIN' THE BLUES country gb.gif GB: Red Lightnin' RLCD 75
1995.08 Screamin' Jay Hawkins CD SCREAMIN' THE BLUES country us.gif US: Drive Entertainment DRV 3204
1998.03 Screamin' Jay Hawkins CD SCREAMIN' THE BLUES country us.gif US: Culture Press 1002 UPC: 723723243928
1998.09 Screamin' Jay Hawkins CD SHE PUT THE WAMMEE ON ME country us.gif US: MIL Multimedia 6121 UPC: 795676612120
1999.09 Screamin' Jay Hawkins CD SCREAMIN' THE BLUES country nl.gif NL: Blues Factory BFY 47009 / MSI UPC: 8712273470092
2002.08 Screamin' Jay Hawkins CD SCREAMIN' THE BLUES country us.gif US: Blue Boar CDBB 1002 / IHL 18 discid: c60a5b10 ; or 1997 or 1998.03 ; Culture Press
???? Screamin' Jay Hawkins CD SCREAMIN' THE BLUES ??: see cover at bottom
2005.11 Screamin' Jay Hawkins CD THIS IS ALL country gb.gif GB: Pickwick / H'ART Musik-Vertrieb HAM702852 different title, track order