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you better stop the things you do / and i ain't lyin

From: John Hill <jphill@HOME.COM>

> "Anne M. Marble" wrote:

> I wish more musicians felt that way. I love Screaming Jay Hawkins, but how many versions of "I Put a Spell on You" can you have? :->

Dear Music Lovers,

Sorry to have been asleep at the switch. Perhaps I had not anticipated a discussion of the oeuvre of Screamin' Jay Hawkins on f_minor. Which was snooty, arrogant and dismissive of me.

The song itself as written and -- uhh -- performed by Screamin' is a startling one-of-a-kind work of art, even genius. Every civilized way we have been raised to conceal and deny our true feelings of jealousy, rage and obsession in love gone sour, Screamin' delivers right in your face without the slightest embarrassment or shame. To find its match in passion and intensity, you have to go back to Pagliacci.

It's also one of the very few keyhole-peeps in pop culture to the forbidden Voodoo / Santaria culture of Louisiana and the Caribbean. Screamin' is not making a romantic metaphor here. He is having serious difficulties with the object of his affections, and rather than seek couples counseling, he put a SPELL on you. He's very serious about this.

If anyone also admires this remarkable song, Nina Simone's slow ballad version is beautiful, haunting, well worth a search through old vinyl (or, who knows -- maybe them teenage mp3 thangs!) -- she turns it into a nightclub torch song, with startling results. Her admiration for this weird, spooky carnival sideshow song radiate in every note.

Though difficult to believe now, I once was a Youth with decidedly goofy tastes and habits, and one of the great moments of those wasted, shameful times was the night I was suddenly pressed into service as a pallbearer to carry Screamin' onstage in his coffin (donated for the evening by a local funeral home for a plug) in Washington DC. Though I so enjoy debating GG's emotional life on f_minor, make no mistake about SJH: This guy was nuts. And the world is a much richer, more colorful, more unpredictable place because of it. Ahem:

I put a SPELL on yoooooooooooooo
Because you're MINE!!!!!!
You better stop the things you do
And I ain't lyin
You know I can't stand it
You're runnin' around
You know better darlin
I can't stand it cause you put me down
I put a spell on you
Because you're MINE!!!!

I love ya! I love you! I love you!
I love you anyhow
And I don't care
If you don't want me
I'm yours right now
I put a spell on you
Because you're mine!!!!!