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Voodoo Jive: Best of
Screamin Jay Hawkins
Voodoo Jive: Best of
Genres: Blues, Pop, R&B, Rock
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #1

Back in the day, Screamin' Jay Hawkins put the show in show business. His voodoo-inspired stage act included fireworks, flash powder, snakes, shrunken heads, and his faithful companion, a skull named Henry. To start his co...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Screamin Jay Hawkins
Title: Voodoo Jive: Best of
Members Wishing: 7
Total Copies: 0
Label: Rhino / Wea
Original Release Date: 2/20/1990
Re-Release Date: 2/2/1990
Genres: Blues, Pop, R&B, Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 081227094720, 081227094744

Back in the day, Screamin' Jay Hawkins put the show in show business. His voodoo-inspired stage act included fireworks, flash powder, snakes, shrunken heads, and his faithful companion, a skull named Henry. To start his concerts, he was carried on in a coffin, from which he leaped, as if risen from the dead, often sending a good portion of his audience scampering for the exits. All of that sounds quaint by current standards, but at the time it was as controversial--perhaps more so--than Marilyn Manson is today. So was Screamin' Jay's music, which was marked with wild, wordless exhortations and orgasmic screams. "Voodoo Jive" contains Hawkins's best cuts, including the essential "I Put a Spell on You" plus "Little Demon," "Frenzy," "Alligator Wine," and "Person to Person," among others. In the grand scheme of things, Hawkins's schtick made him a legend, but in the short run, he was limited by what some saw as a mere novelty act. Still, he recorded some fine, honking R&B and proto-rock & roll that still sounds great (and completely out of control). The closing cut here, "Constipation Blues," is not for the faint of heart, but then neither is anything else Hawkins ever recorded. --Daniel Durchholz

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CD Reviews

Patrick Earley | Edmond, Oklahoma USA | 08/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Screamin' Jay was one interesting and crazy cat. He was so scary when he took the stage, he could make Ozzy Osbourne and Alice Cooper look like Pat Boone choirboys. He was known primarily for his hit song "I Put A Spell On You". And what a song it was! According to Hawkin's, he and his band were stinking drunk on Swiss Colony Muscatel when they recorded this. They never expected this crazy tune to go anywhere. But a couple weeks later, this song, with it's screams, grunts, groans, and all, started getting a lot of radio airplay. Bing Crosby lovin' parents were outraged at this devilish little tune, so naturally it became a big hit. He released the superb rocker "Little Demon" at the same time. I like this one as much as I do "Spell". After releasing these two songs, Hawkin's career took off. Screamin Jay quickly developed a stage act that eventually became downright weird. He entered the stage with thunder and lightning bolts, and enclosed in a coffin. When he started singing in that deep baritone voice inside that box, it sent the screaming teenage kids heading for the doors. When he emerged from the coffin, the lucky people who stuck around were treated to some fantastic rock, r&b, and blues. This man's appearance alone though, was intimidating to say the least, with the shrunken heads he carried around, along with the lifesize skull on a stick he called Henry. I always wondered if that thing was real. He never really enjoyed the chart success again that he had with these early hits. Neverthless, he still continued to put out some great music. Some of my favorites here are "Alligator Wine", a blues tune that sounded like it was recorded in the middle of a jungle. A song taken off an album of all standards "April In Paris" was different from anything he ever did. It's a remarkable song that showed just how great a singer Screamin' Jay could be when he wanted to. At one time he actually studied opera. But since you don't see too much opera songs hitting the charts, Hawkin's pursued a different and a little higher paying career. No Hawkin's anthology would be complete without the wonderfully insane "I Hear Voices". He even does a song about food called "Feast Of The Mau Mau". You don't wanna know what this meal consists of. It's pretty disgusting. He ends the cd with "Constipation Blues". A song he wrote while laid up in a hospital with, you guessed it, constipation. The grunts and groans from this tune also caused a lot of outrage from just about everybody. Hawkin's was always pretty much considered a novely act. A label he didn't particually like. He had talent. A lot of it. But because of disputes with his numerous record companies, he never quite caught the break he deserved. This is a pretty nice anthology of his career. I would like to have seen my favorite tune by him, "Temptation" put on here. Along with "Itty Bitty Pretty One". One week after he released this, the Jackson 5 had a big hit with the song and Jay's record company went bust. That's the kind of luck the old Hawk had. There's enough good scary stuff on here though, to frighten unwanted kids from your doorstep at Halloween. It's Great music, but not for the faint of heart."
It'll put a spell on you
John Cassetta | Near Carmen SanDiego | 02/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The first time I heard Screamin' Jay, I was four years old. My father played "I Hear Voices" off an old LP and it scared me. But as I grew older, I began to appreciate the music of this wild bluesman. Jay Hawkins is the one your mama warned you about. He made it possible for showmen like Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson to exist. From his flaming coffins to the bone through his nose, Jay was all about shocking you visually as much as he wanted to knock you over with his screaming. And to think he wanted to be an opera singer.But Jay is more than just a screamer. His haunting voice gives these songs life. From I Love Paris to Orange Colored Sky, his distinctive voice will captivate you. It is safe to say that you haven't heard anything like him.Jay Hawkins isn't for everybody. But he is for me. It's sad to think that he's no longer with us. I miss him already. But at least we have his music."
Crypt | Arkham | 10/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Ok by now everyone knows how Screamin' Jay was the original horror rocker, and how Alice, Ozzy, Manson and Zombie and the underground punk, goth and even metal scenes owe this guy their carreers. So if you want to experience the genesis of all that is dark and insane in rock & roll, get this cd. It's a perfect introduction to the very first shock rocker. Here you'll get songs dealing with black magic, cannibalism, obsessive love, taking a horribly painful dump, and just weird stuff. He wasn't all bad though. There are some "normal" early blues/rock & roll tunes on this cd as well. Fortunately for us, Screamin' Jay couldn't be "normal" if he tried. Even corny "white" ballads like I Love Paris are given his unique touch of howling and gibberish. So pick this up and discover the madness and genious of the late great Jay Hawkins."