Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

In 1956, Jalacy Hawkins entered the studio, planning to record a blues ballad he had been performing live with some success. Producer Arnold Maxon had other ideas, and to fulfill them, he brought plenty of alcohol and food and alcohol (not to mention alcohol) into the studio. Hours later, Hawkins staggered up to the microphone and unleashed one of the rawest, bloodiest, most gut-churning vocal performances ever delivered, one that he couldn’t even remember giving the following day. The ballad-turned-reverse-exorcism was banned in radio stations nationwide (they claimed the blast of demented gibberish at the end simulated cannibalism), and the song never charted. Didn’t matter. Jalacy Hawkins would forever after be Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, and “I Put a Spell On You” would be his raucous calling card. Continue reading »

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