In a previous music post featuring some of the original Blues artists I had included Screamin' Jay Hawkins but then changed my mind because he was more than a Blues singer.
He was hoping to be an opera singer but instead turned to popular music, presumably to follow his idol Paul Robeson.
It is also possible that Opera was too 'serious' for him. Starting out as a straightforward blues singer and piano player he soon developed his own style which was less than serious: very theatrical shows with great humour and, above all, a wonderful sensational voice. His most famous song is the first one here "I Put A Spell On You" which has been covered by everyone from Nina Simone to Bryan Ferry. But he could be serious when he wanted to as the final video here proves.
So fasten your seat belts and pin back your ears to be 'assaulted' by the most electrifying and outrageous performer I have ever seen. I saw him in the sixties in one of those dingy, sweaty beat/jazz clubs and these videos do not do him justice!
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