Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – Cow Fingers and Mosquito Pie [1991; compilation of songs from the 1950s]

Jay Hawkins is oftentimes regarded as the first ‘shock rocker’ and there may be something to the claim. He’s remembered as much for his voodoo-themed stage shows, which opened with Hawkins rising from a coffin and brandishing a staff mounted with a smoking skull named Henry (and when I say smoking, I mean a cigarette), as he is for his musical output. There’s nothing particularly special about the R&B and early rock n’ roll that forms the foundation for each tune on this album, but what has made Hawkins enduring as well as endearing is his outlandish vocal delivery, which ranges from a melodramatic vibrato to howls and guttural grunts. It’s shtick, pure and simple, but the lightheartedness and sense of joy in each song is irresistible. Even though the minor hit, Constipation Blues doesn’t appear on in this collection, the disc is still guaranteed to cure a shitty day.

01 - Little Demon
02 - You Ain't Foolin' Me
03 - I Put A Spell On You
04 - You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want To Do It)
05 - Yellow Coat
06 - Hong Kong
07 - There's Something Wrong With You
08 - I Love Paris
09 - Orange Colored Sky
10 - Alligator Wine
11 - Darling, Please Forgive Me
12 - Take Me Back To My Boots And Saddle
13 - Temptation
14 - Frenzy
15 - Person To Person
16 - Little Demon (Alternate Take)
17 - I Put Spell On You (Alternate Take)
18 - There's Something Wrong With You (Alternate Take)
19 - Alligator Wine (Alternate Take)

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