This is the latest from The Bluesmobile’s C.C. Rider, who spends her life venerating the founding fathers of the blues. She’s walked the crooked highways of this singing country to resurrect the voices of the past. With the dirt of the Delta on her hands, she sleeps in the shadow of the giants on whose shoulders popular music now stands.
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
(July 18, 1929 – February 12, 2000)
He dressed in wild capes, crawled out of a smoke filled coffin, wore a bone through his nose.
But the man called Screamin’ Jay Hawkins never wanted to scream. See, he loved big band music.
Born Jalacy Hawkins, he was actually a classically trained musician. He really wanted to be an opera singer. So when the band went to record “I Put a Spell on You,” he heard it as a sweet love song. A ballad.
But that’s not what happened. The story goes that Screamin’ Jay walked into the studio with a ballad in mind…and woke up the next day in a fog. Couldn’t remember a thing. See, the whole band got wasted. A little too much hard drinking. Screamin’ Jay himself was blackout. But somehow he made it to the microphone, and what came out of his body were primal screams, guttural moans, and one of the greatest vocal performances on vinyl.