Screamin' Jay Hawkins

The Whamee 1953-55

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Shock-rock godfather Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’s Howlin’-Wolf-meets-Dracula brand of horror blues hit the big time in 1956 with “I Put a Spell on You,” but this collection documents the years leading up to that breakthrough. Focusing on his earliest recordings, from 1953-55, THE WHAMEE find Hawkins no less imposing a figure for his lack of celebrity or experience. There are some alternate, early versions of later hits like the abovementioned classic, but the real finds here are the lesser-known tunes, where Hawkins’ zombie-on-the-rampage wail haunts some slamming ‘50s R&B arrangements for a sound that foreshadows things to come. It all amounts to a captivating snapshot of a true American original finding his artistic feet.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:50
2 3:01
3 2:23
4 2:46
5 2:51
6 2:33
7 2:33
8 2:31
9 2:46
10 3:02
11 2:34
12 3:00
13 2:52
14 3:10
15 2:55
16 2:48
17 3:08
18 2:42
19 3:18
20 2:41
21 2:27
22 0:06
23 1:02
24 2:36
25 2:35
26 2:45
27 2:27
blue highlight denotes track pick