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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Bizarre Records artist: Screamin' Jay Hawkins - Are You One Of Jay's Kids? - New Release review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' work, Are You One Of Jay's Kids, and it's creative, strange and cool. Screamin' Jay was a showman, being carried on stage in a coffin and emerging with a bone in his nose, but he was serious about his music. I first became aware of Hawkins' work through CCR and then later Leslie West but this guy way really hanging it all out there. Disc one opens with Louis Jordan's Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby, with his dramatic vocals but not at all lacking with production quality or musical integrity with tight backing vocals and clever guitar soloing. Jump track, I Feel Alright is played pretty straight with aggressive drums and classic 50's vocal backing and cool guitar work and a hot sax solo. His ultimate money track, I Put A Spell On You, gets an odd dance mix with Matt Guitar Murphy style guitar rhythm and rapping backing. BB King's track, I Hear You Knocking, made famous by Dave Edmunds has a solid bass line reinforcing it's boogie style but with Jay's vocals and female vocals, this track is a cool rocker. Quirky tracks like Ignant and Shit and jungle beat driven Swamp Gas, Voodoo Priestess with it's sultry sax work and Strokin' with it's wild lyrics keep you thinking. Bluesiest track on disc one is Another Pain with outright blues guitar. Strong. Willie Mabon's I Don't Know has a powerful swing and Jay is riding high cool vocal backing and tight rhythm. On Ray Charles' I Believe, Jay digs in and belts out the blues.

A strong rhythm, hot guitar riffs and super sax drive opening track on disc 2, Call The Plumber. Slow blues track, Sherilyn Fenn, is so out there with Jay fanaticizing verbally about Fenn. I know that it's hard to believe, but Jay does an even more blatant fantasy song about Amy Fisher.... yup! When You Walked Out the Door follows the Muddy Waters, Chicago format with another honest to goodness blues track. Laced with cool guitar work and harp, very cool. Fourteen Wives rings a little strong with the rumor that Jay had between 57 and 75 children (hence the name of the cd) and solid horn work is smooth as silk. Make You Mine is a cool shuffle with harp, a vocal duet and slide guitar. Possibly Jay's best attempt to be weird which actually sounds normal. Oh yeah, he gets back to standard on Shut Your Mouth, a quirky track that is all Jay. Wrapping the release is Clam Bake, a rock 'n roller with a great beat. With super piano and guitar, Jay just leads the way having a blast. This is definitely jay at his wildest. Check it out.

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