‘Screamin Jay Hawkins: I Put A Spell On Me’ is a wonderful homage to a man who was a true rock n roll legend. The documentary film, made by Greek director Nicholas Triandafyllidis, was commissioned by Hawkins and centres around his tour of Greece in 1999 – a tour that proved to be his last – and his life in the music industry.
Hawkins died of a heart attack in Paris, at the age of 70, four months after the concert footage was shot and Triandafyllidis completed the film with a little help from Jay’s friends: Jim Jarmusch (director of Mystery Train), Bo Diddley, Eric Burdon (The Animals), Rudi Protrudi, Diamanda Galas, Arthur Brown (The Crazy Word of Arthur Brown), Andre Williams and others.
I actually first saw Hawkins in ‘Mystery Train’ by Jim Jarmusch in which he played the night clerk in a seedy hotel in Memphis. It was an extraordinary performance. Shortly after that I went and bought a Hawkins album and got to listen to his fantastic classic hit single ‘I Put A Spell On You’ for the first time. It was to be a song that sold 18 million records from which he got nada. Either way I was sold on Hawkins and his skulls.
Over the years he came in and out of my periphery vision and it wasn’t until I watched this film that I realised the extent to which this unique individual, this pioneer, this legend had been written out of the rock n roll story. This film goes someway towards correcting that by serving up a remarkable talent who defied convention and ultimately created a unique legend which lies waiting for deeper and wider appreciation.
153 total views, 1 today