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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on March 14, 2004
If you are thinking of purchasing your first Screamin'Jay CD,
then let this be it. First of all it has the original, classic and still the best version of "I Put a Spell on You". This song has been covered by The Animals, Nina Simone, Creedence Clearwater Revival and even Marilyn Manson on the "Lost Highway"
soundtrack, not to mention sampled by The Notorious B.I.G on "Kick in the Door". But Screamin' Jay's is the most compelling and demented. This album may take some people repeated listens to get into since Jay is an acquired taste to say the least. He often closes songs in bursts of gibberish, gurgling and fartlike sounds. He was zany,wacky and his strange take on music relegated him to novelty status, but I think he was much better than that. He does "I love Paris", "You Made Me love You" and other standards in the most engagingly bizarre way imaginable. He also rocks out on "Little Demon", "Alligator Wine" and "Frenzy". This album, give or take a track or two,is his debut album "At Home with Screamin'Jay Hawkins" and hasn't aged at all because it didn't sound normal then either. It seems like somehow people keep on discovering Jay all the time, maybe he is finally starting to get his due.
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on February 15, 2000
Now that Mr. Hawkins has departed this plane of existence, we can only rely on recorded evidence that such a being existed. "Cow Fingers & Mosquito Pie" is enough evidence of strangeness to provide Scully and Mulder with hundreds of years' worth of investigation material. From the original and alternate takes of "I Put A Spell On You" to the final screams of "Alligator Wine," this is indeed a stunning trip through the mad mind of Screamin' Jay. Dare to experience the completely politically incorrect version of "I Love Paris"! Thrill to the eye-destroying sight of the "Yellow Coat"! ("what stands on two legs and looks like a goat/It's Screamin' Jay in that Yellow Coat! ") Bang your gong to "Hong Kong"! The only thing this lacks to make it perfect are the immoral, I mean, immortal, "Constipation Blues" and "Feast of the Mau Mau," but those are available on Rhino's excellent "Voodoo Jive" Screamin' Jay compilation. Pick this up and dig Jay's take on country-western music with his thoroughly ill version of Gene Autry's "Take Me Back To My Boots And Saddle." Sounds like his horse probably has six legs and three eyes. Truly essential mind-destroying early rock/R&B, and a fitting tribute to the man without whom Marilyn Manson (and every other shock rocker) would be playing "Lady of Spain" on the accordion.
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VINE VOICEon February 17, 2003
Screamin' Jay Hawkins will never become a household name, but I say he should. In fact, I feel he's entitled to a place in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame alongside hundreds of less deserving bands. Jay is the original shock rocker-the original musical boogeyman. A regular Howlin' Wolf meets Baron Samedi meets Daffy Duck. Aside from his(then)outrageous stage appearance and antics, there's the matter of his music, which is pretty out there even for today. Imagine what people must have thought of this guy in the 50s! If you like your blues screamed with bits of jibberish, snorting, baby talk, and other assorted nonsense, then this is your guy. He's got a tremendous baritone voice and sounds as though he's all jacked up on caffeine and just can't sit still, just like this guy I knew in high school. Rumor has it that Jimi Hendrix was a big fan. I wish that he would have gotten more popular or at least would be given his due. As you can probably tell by my reviews, I'm an Alice Cooper nut, but as much as a pioneer as Alice is, Jay was there first. It's just no one saw him. So, with that all said, I can only say that if you don't want to buy a cd, every man woman and child should at least hear Screamin' Jay at some point in their lives. He'll always have my upmost respect as a musical pioneer.
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on July 25, 2008
Like a lot of younger people, I got into Screamin' Jay through the side door, by way of Marilyn Manson's cover of "I Put A Spell on You" and the original song's later use in a 501 jeans ad.
Jay was a phenomenal blues shouter. That voice of his, which could shriek, gargle, and bottom out in a baritone that is simply astonishing! While the onstage antics and theatricality brought home the bacon, I really think the music stands on it's own. And myself being a jazz fan, I also really dig the chorus-emphasis on the saxophones, which always made for good 50s R&B.
Now this album contains both versions of "I Put A Spell on You" - the crazier one is near the beginning. However, Jay was so much more than his one signature song. You have the equally spooky "There's Something Wrong With You", "Frenzy", and the positively unhinged "Alligator Wine" - a song that is the very definition of "swamp blues". Jay wasn't only about the ooga-booga, though. "Yellow Coat" and "Little Demon" are both funny, rollicking tunes.He moves through the tempo changes of "Orange Colored Sky" with great energy and dare I say it, joy. His version of "I Love Paris" is a vocal showstopper, with an ending that would undeniably bring down the house on Broadway.
If you're looking to get into Screamin' Jay, you have probably noticed there are many different compilations out there. The "Voodoo Jive" set gets mentioned most, but this CD is a much better pick over that, namely because it has a few tracks that aren't on the Rhino set. So I say buy this, and once you're a convert, pick up the import set "Alligator Wine: The Best of Screamin' Jay Hawkins". It will fill in the holes - songs like "Feast of the Mau Mau" and "Constipation Blues". The other plus is there is almost no overlap between that CD and this one.
You owe it to yourself to hear this guy.
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on October 11, 1999
First off...EXCELLENT MASTERING from mostly first generation tapes!!! Turn it up and it sounds like Screamin' Jay is "raising the dead" in your own living room!!!! Plenty of out takes and other goodies ("Darling Please Forgive Me" with the 'rehearsal" screams is WORLD CLASS SCREAMIN' JAY!). There's a ROCKIN' out-take of "Little Demon", the very bizarre "Take Me Back My Boots And Saddle" (wooo-oooooo!), and the DEFINITIVE version of "You Made Me Love You!". And of course,"Hong Kong" still makes me laugh after all these years! SCREAMIN' JAY will "Put A Spell On YOU!!!!!" Hide your daughters.......
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on May 14, 2015
Legendary song writer -performer , contributing to the style of modern Blues . Inspiring many musicians, through their own remakes
Of his classic song writing talent, a musicians musician, the blues would be in a different place today,
If it weren't, for the brilliant song crafter talents, of Screamin' Jay Hawkins
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on January 7, 2014
I love this album. It is so great! This guy was out of his mind and these songs are GREAT! Great band too. His shows are legendary and I couldn't imagine what it would have been like to see this dude getting out of a coffin. That must've been unreal! I was turned on to this guy but Jim Jarmush's Stranger than Paradise where the girl plays "I put a spell on you" over and over. He was also in "Mystery Train" which was an incredible performance. What a guy. I think I paid like $3 for it too. C'mon! This is solid gold!
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on September 22, 2004
Screaming Jay Hawkins is an artist with a soul and passion for rock& roll, soul, blues, and jazzy rythm, you name it. As an introduction to Screaming Jay Hawkins, this album has it all. Little Demon is a grand opener which just put you into it, and never slips it grip, trough the album. It also put the unedited version of I put a spell on you in. You begin beliving in woodoo after listnening through this CD. The voice with all its growling and mumbling,is as scary and joyfull as ever. Forget the rather tame version from Creedence Clearwater Revival and other artists( to be fair John Fogerty sings quite well on it, but the woodoo hoodoo voice missing, and Jay Hawkins groaning is not included on that version). Little Demon and I put a spell on you are repeated with to nearly similiar versions, but its one of my to favourites tracks on the album. To understand classical rock & roll, when it was raw,unpredictable, and full of pasion and soul, few do it better than Screamin`Jay Hawkins. This one is a real screamer !!
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on October 17, 2005
Where did Lux Interior's singing style come from? Screamin' Jay Hawkins. Where did shock rock theatrics come from? Screamin' Jay Hawkins. Where did the stripped down let-it-rip Dionysian production values of Jim Dickinson come from? Screamin Jay Hawkins.

Yet, who was an inconsistent recording artist? Same answer. I prefer "Cow Fingers and Mosquito Pie" over "VooDoo Jive" The best of..." but either album will do if you only own one Sreamin Jay record. Yes, the classic "I put a spell on you" is here, and for a hilarious contrast play it back to back with Brian Ferry's version. But this album also offers "Frenzy" "Little Demon" and "Alligator Wine." Invite over that crazy tang, light the votive candles, get out the MD 20/20, and put this record on for some freaky circus action.
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on December 4, 2006
I echo the sentiments of other reviewers - if you're gonna buy a Screamin Jay CD, this is the one to get. For my money, the best part of this CD is the alternate take of "Alligator Wine" at the very end of the CD - if you listen very closely at the end of the track, while Jay is going absolutely bonkers even by his standards and appears to sound injured, there is a voice that breaks in on the studio monitor and says something like "Are you ok?". THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is art in its highest sense.
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