Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Battle 7 ~ My quirky battle for April Fool's Day!

WELCOME TO BATTLE OF THE BANDS!!

 **BOTB ~ where you listen to different recordings of the same song, and vote for the song version you like.  Feel free to leave us a comment, along with your vote. There are two "Battles" per month, on the 1st and 15th.  The results come six days later, (on the 7th and 21st). That's when I return, add all of the votes, including mine, and announce the winner. Feel free to return and see if your choice won!



The blogging event first introduced by our friends; a big thank you to them! 



And, if you would like to join this blog-hop, contact Stephen T. McCarthy; leave him a message, and your blog address. We would love to have you participate.

Other battle participants are listed in the right-hand margin. Feel free to visit, listen, and vote on their battles.

Today's song: "I Put a Spell On You."


Battle background noise:

Lyrics and music:  Screaming Jay Hawkins (1956). Two honors: 1- selected as one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. 2- It was also ranked No. 313 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  Although Hawkins' version did not make any charts, several later cover versions have done so.  Two films featured the song: "Stranger Than Paradise," (1984) and "Hocus Pocus," (1993).

What does Hawkins say about this song? Hawkins had originally intended to record "I Put a Spell on You" as a refined love song, a blues ballad. He reported, however, that the producer "brought in ribs and chicken and got everybody drunk, and we came out with this weird version... I don't even remember making the record. Before, I was just a normal blues singer. I was just Jay Hawkins. It all sort of just fell in place. I found out I could do more destroying a song and screaming it to death."  The theatrical act was one of the first shock rock performances. ((http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Put_a_Spell_on_You ))

Today's Challenger: Soundtrack version from "Hocus Pocus"

Hocus Pocus is a 1993 American horror comedy film directed by Kenny Ortega and starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as a trio of witches, the Sanderson Sisters, who are inadvertently resurrected by a cynical teenager, his younger sister, and his crush in the small town of Salem, Massachusetts. Despite receiving negative reviews from critics during its theatrical release, the film has since received a cult following and has proved to be a popular Halloween-themed film. Halloween 2013 had 2.5 million viewers tune in to watch this movie. The musical score for Hocus Pocus was composed and conducted by John Debney.

Screaming Jay Hawkins versus "Hocus Pocus" soundtrack. Both versions are kind of quirky, but fun for a day like today. 

Lyrics:
I put a spell on you
Because you're mine
Stop the things you do
Watch out, I ain't lying
I can't stand
No running around
I can't stand
No putting me down
I put a spell on you
Because you're mine, oh yeah
Stop the things you do
Watch out, I ain't lying
Oh, oh, I love you, I love you
I love you anyhow
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, mine, mine
Oh, ooh you're mine.

34 comments:

  1. DIXIE POLKA ~
    Hokey-Smokey-Pocus! I get to be the first voter?

    That was a funny story about "The Making of 'I Put A Spell On You'". I didn't know any of that. Screamin' Jay Hawkins was drunk and didn't even remember originally recording the song? Ha! But suddenly... it all makes sense!

    Without a doubt, the first version I ever heard was the cover by Creedence Clearwater Revival. It would be some years afterwards before I finally heard the original by Hawkins.

    I actually like the Screamin' Jay Hawkins version best of all (even better than the CCR cover I experienced first) because it's just so much fun... AND funny! I mean, he really does make me "laugh out loud" with all that nonsense and the meaningless mumbo jumbo.

    Never been much of a Bette Midler fan, and her version from the movie (which I've never seen and never will) just comes across to me as... I dunno, too artificial and over-the-top.

    I can't believe I said that. Like the Hawkins version is NOT "artificial" and "over the top"? Well... but the original is the "ORIGINAL" artificial and over-the-top recording. The Midler "theatrics" just seem kind of "forced" to me and doesn't really play well (in my op).

    So, easy vote for the wild 'n' woolly original and Screamin' Jay.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. ~ D-FensDogG,
      I guess you're about 4-5 hours away from the east coast; I post at midnight. So yes, you is first, if you is up late. And I imagine, based on the understanding you'd have of getting drunk and performing... this might be a battle to tickle your fancy, which we will not talk about. (I'm simply going by things I've read at your DogG House Music Club.)

      Glad we could make you "laugh out loud"... that's why I post things. Ha!

      >>..."Bette Midler version...just comes across to me as... I dunno, too artificial and over-the-top."
      >>..."I can't believe I said that. Like the Hawkins version is NOT "artificial" and "over the top"?"

      Uh-huh, I believe you said it... then typed it... in that order.

      ~ D-FensDogG cast an easy vote for the wild 'n' woolly original and Screamin' Jay.
      Thank you for voting, sir!

      Delete
    2. I want to add to what Lee said. I agree that the way this song is performed, it's definitely a "novelty" song. Therefore, it's not one I would listen to OFTEN. But I like novelty songs (especially if they're fun and funny).

      Agreed, the CCR version is done "straight" and is therefore something one might listen to regularly. However, whereas I once really liked CCR, their sound was so limiting and similar that I eventually got very tired of 'em.

      I would rather hear Screamin' Jay do 'I Put A Spell On You' once a year, than hear CCR do it every other month.

      ~ D-FensDogG

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    3. ~ D-FensDogG,

      >>..."I would rather hear Screamin' Jay do 'I Put A Spell On You' once a year, than hear CCR do it every other month."

      I hear ya'. Novelty, eh? 'Bout like that Dylan link you dropped off on here one day..."Homesick Subterranean Blues."Yes sir, when I feel a little low, I go see Dr. Dylan on Vimeo! (grin-chuckle-chuckle) So thanks be for that, sir!

      I know exactly what you mean with the CCR sound. Once I lived on the Cherokee Reservation (NC), and worked as an elf at Santa-Land. Yep, I admit it. I ran the carousel 8 hours a day, and it played CCR music... 8 hours a day, except Christmas time. End of story.

      Thanks for adding to what Lee said. You know... if you keep this blog link, you can come back once a year to hear Screaming Jay! Maybe I'll put a little box in the side margin for novelties. Hey, there's an idea. Ha! Hope your battle is going well.

      dp~

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    4. dp ~
      Oh, I don't think of 'Subterranean Homesick Blues' as a novelty song. That was perhaps the first song (in order of release, not necessarily in chronological recording order) that changed the way so many Pop songs were written. The influence of that album, 'Bringing It All Back Home', is almost impossible to overstate. It altered songwriting forever. And no one yet has come close to writing a song with as intricate a rhyming pattern as 'It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)'.

      Your carousel story reminded me that I once worked as the train engineer at a Western theme park. I requested and received the "demotion" and pay cut to train engineer, when I told them I didn't want to work in the "Acting" department anymore.

      Prior to being train engineer, I was a "loony Cowboy" with the name Muddy McFly. We did comedy skits, gunfights, and interacted with the audience. I was pretty popular because I really played up the "loony" bit (which I brought to the part myself) with a goofy high-pitched voice and stuffs. The little kids loved me.

      But most of the other actors were racists and I got sick and tired of listening to their racial remarks all night, so I asked for a demotion to train engineer, where I could just drive the train and be by myself between trips.

      ~ D-FensDogG

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    5. I just watched the Bette Midler version again for a second time. I admit to never having seen the movie, but this clip here makes me sense that they were basically just trying to do a newer, slightly different version of 'Rocky Horror Picture Show'.

      It just has that look and outrageousness and manic energy of RHPS, and... I didn't like THAT movie either!

      Maybe all of 'Hocus Pocus' isn't really like this scene. But if it is, then I'm pretty sure the producers/director were really just copying and tweeking that original cult classic and hoping to create a new cult classic.

      ~ D-FensDogG

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    6. ~ D-FensDogG...
      >>..."Oh, I don't think of 'Subterranean Homesick Blues' as a novelty song."

      You see - I lack the history and knowledge of music. I can read about it but to feel it and soak it in? I laughed when you said, someone, somewhere might have possibly said, it was a rap song... I believed you. Why not? You know stuff. I might jump in and say, I might... that Dylan's film could be a cult classic clip. I'm not sure how far of base I'd be, but I can't watch it enough. It's better than a peppermint pattie, and possibly a chunky. (Possibly.) Moving on, I'm developing a better understanding and appreciation of Bob Dylan and Van Morrison - wow!

      You drove the train at a amusement park?! That was my highest hope at Santa-Land. [It was mostly these muscular guys that handled that, and they didn't play music. The train tour was really beautiful.] I bet you were the kindest cowboy. I am sorry there were unkind people that mistreated you. Maybe one day they realized their mistake, and made amends somehow. (smile)

      dp

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    7. ~ D-FensDogG...
      'Rocky Horror Picture Show'... had been out at least ten years the first time I watched it. It was at a midnight theater showing, and I went a couple I know. People were all dressed up, acting nuts. I was concerned for my safety at first. Then once the movie started I got so embarrassed. (Language and darn near nudity!) If I'd had my car I would have left. I had no clue what was going on - I had to keep getting whispered explanantions from my friends... who laughed at me.

      'Hocus Pocus' is not like RHPS... in the above sense. I was never embarassed to watch it. I didn't go for all the witch stuff, but I've read worse fairy tales. The three witches are so ignorant of the time zone they find themselves in - it makes it funny. IMO, it will never have the same drawing power like RHPS, because it was originally geared to junior high aged kids. More than likely it hit the "Christian No-no" list, but today - who knows? 'Harry Potter' makes 'Hocus Pocus' look like a sunday school picnic... you get that don't you? However I wouldn't think this film would be of interest to you. Then again, you did watch Rocky and Bullwinkle... and they were always pulling a rabbit out of somebody's hat! I digree.... and will be silent now. Interesting that you watched the clip once, much less, twice.

      dp ~

      I don't why I didn't put these comment replies together.

      Delete
  2. Oh, you're killing me with this one. I didn't overly care for either version here. In fact, they were both a bit annoying--sorry.

    Now, the version by Creedence Clearwater Revival is the best I can think of. Love the way they do it.

    I've never seen Hocus Pocus but musically it sounds like something out of a Disney film. It's well performed, but just not my thing.

    Screaming Jay on the other hand kind of puts the song in the right spirit but the crazy theatrics and noise-making makes it so weird that I would listen to this version often like I have the one by CCR.

    That being said, I have to go with the classic take of Screamin' Jay. It's his schtick I guess and probably pretty cool live. The instrumentation to me is more interesting in his version though maybe not as diverse and showy as the Midler version.

    Yeah, definitely Screamin' Jay Hawkins gets my vote for this round.

    This was, uh, interesting I guess I could say. And unlike my Battle this time, your versions were very distinctly different so kudos for that.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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    1. oh and correction: I should have said about Screamin' Jay that I would not listen to this as often as I have CCR---Jay's is a odd novelty to my ears, but not repeated listening material.

      Done

      Arlee Bird
      A to Z Challenge Co-host
      Tossing It Out

      Delete
    2. Lee,

      There were many versions I could have pitted against each other. Then I looked to see who wrote it and lo, and behold... Screaming Jay put a spell on me. I had to put this into action! Halloween is long gone, so why not "April Fool's Day"? I guess I could have faked you out and thrown out a three way with Jay as the joke, but it was so funny and unique... and the original! (There's that word.)

      I've already listened to it some 16 times, I know it's not a song you'd play while you vacuum. (Well, maybe.) I do like the CCR and others' take on this.

      Sorry you were annoyed. I thought at first those chattering teeth might be an issue for some, (smile). Thanks for being a good sport toward my quirky battle. I plan to behave for a while.

      Lee has spoken: "Yeah, definitely Screamin' Jay Hawkins gets my vote for this round."
      Thank you for voting, sir.

      Delete
  3. I'd have to go with Screaming Jay. The vintage look really sells it.

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    1. Thank you, Alex. Sold it for Jay Hawkins too!

      Three for Screaming Jay!

      Delete
  4. Well, I'm glad Jay was drunk when he recorded/performed this song. I doubt it would have worked as well as a ballad. Guess I'll have to find that CCR version.

    I love how much fun both performers had with this song; it is one of my favorite Halloween songs b/c of that. Each version has their merits - Jay's bwahahahah is just so hilariously creepy and just kept me smiling and laughing. Alas, I can rarely vote against the lovely Miss Bette. I adore her, and this movie was so much fun all around.

    Score one for Bette Midler.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yippee, Miss Donna!

      There goes the shutout... I loved this quirky little movie. Disney didn't do this movie, but they used the same song as an exit song in two of their movies. Bette Midler said she'd gladly do a sequel. No word yet, and it may never happen...but it had been proposed.

      Donna says: "Score one for Bette Midler."

      I'm delighted you could stop in, listen and vote today. You're in my thoughts, (smile).

      Delete
  5. IMO, these two versions fall into the 'novelty song' category. I actually like this song as done by Nina Simone https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ua2k52n_Bvw these two versions; not so much.

    As far as the 'novelty' worthiness In would have to go with Screaming Jay Hawkins. He certainly went all out on this one. Give that Witch doctor my vote.

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    1. Hi Fae,

      One quirky battle doth not a woman make... or something like that. I loved Nina Simone, and about ten others. Only when I went to see who wrote it... oh my! Screaming Jay, ribs, chicken, drunken recording... I don't know... it spoke volumes. Ha!

      I agree, definitely a "novelty category." A category 5!!! Probably the only I one I'll attempt this year. (I think).

      Indeed, we shall give that Witch Doctor your vote.
      Thank you for voting, Fae.

      Delete
  6. I have to go with Bette Midler because I LOVE Hocus Pocus. :D

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    1. Back in the day, Chrys when I didn't know who Sarah Jessica Parker was?!! It was a very funny movie, and anytime I get the chance, I'll watch it, (smile).

      I'm so very glad you came by, and participated!!! Such a great surprise, (smile). Thank you.

      Chrys votes for Bette Midler

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  7. MY vote is for Bette Midler..fun song!

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    1. Hiya Mike, that sound great!

      Mike for Midler!!

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  8. This is a great BoTB, Dixie! I covered this cover November of last year, if you recall. Both Hawkins and Midler are theatrical, but that's part of the fun with these versions of the song. I love CCR the BEST, but that's not one of the choices today. I think I prefer Bette over all. So, give Midler my vote, Dixie!

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    1. Well gee, Cathy... I didn't start doing BOTB until January... I hate I missed your battle! I think everyone has mentioned CCR, and I like them too (smile). Just had to goof off on this one. I might be the biggest April fool yet, for doing so. Ha!

      So Bette Midler is your theatrical choice for today! I thank you for the comment, and vote, Lady!

      Sidenote: Loving your A - Z posts, (smile). ~ Dixie

      Delete
  9. I once wrote an entire novel drunk and didn't even remember it. That novel then went on to win a national award.

    (No I didn't and no it didn't)

    So first off, I love quirky, and Screamin' Jay is definitely that. Second, we are not gay men, so sufficed to say we hate Bette Middler. We gave her about a minute before we x'd out of that video and then went to do manly things like bench presses and beer chugs to redeem our masculinity.

    Two very, very easy votes for Screamin' Jay over here.

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    1. Bryan and Brandon ~ you two know of course that I believe everything you tell me. Everything!

      Loving quirky is good... not gay, hating Bette? Okay... I'm not sure I follow, but I believe you. (smile). (Oh wait! Like a Joan Rivers or Cher thing? Got 'cha.) Thank you for your comments, and votes. Oh, btw, congrats on that national award!

      Press and chug on, Gentleman! I have you both for Screaming Jay... over easy.

      Delete
  10. First off, I love your new header up top! ^^^

    So I didn't put a battle up at my site this time around since other obligations have kept me busy and the time just got away from me, but if I still get to vote, you know I vote for Screamin' Jay!

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    1. Thanks for noticing the header, Kim. Off the wall music deserves a quirky header?!! As long as you're not sick... I'm good! Glad you could vote!!

      This Belle Rocks for Screaming Jay!!

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  11. I also LOVE your new header! It goes perfectly with your BOTB choices, as it has a very magical feel to it!

    Nobody does it better than Bette! I really don't know how she was able to pull off that song with those giant teeth in the way! This was fun, Dixie!

    Julie

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    1. Yes, Julie, I thought that header spoke volumes!

      Bette came off looking like a cross between a squirrel and a beaver. Ha! I'm glad to hear you had fun with this. I keep watching and laughing. Thank you for commenting and voting (smile.)

      Bette Midler has cast a spell for another vote!

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  12. First, I also love your new header.

    Second, this isn't my favorite song (not that I'd heard it before), but you know what I mean.

    Third, I didn't like the Screaming Jay Hawkins version at all. I think it was the screaming. Anyway, I didn't really care for Bette's version either, but I liked it better than the first one. So, put down one for Ms. Midler.

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    1. Hi Robin. I glad you like the header too. It might be the best thing I posted for this battle, including the songs, (smile). Not to worry, I found another Screaming Jay version, where he pops out of a coffin... so my version appears sedate. (ha!) Yeah, I think we'll "can" Jay and Bette. Until then...

      Robin requests we put one down for Ms. Midler. Done!

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  13. If it's not too late, I'll go with the original, although my favorite version (the one I'm most familiar with) is Creedence's.

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    1. Thank you, John. In this case the original is performed by Screaming Jay Hawkins. He wrote the song, as well. I'm grateful you could vote!

      Screaming Jay Hawkins takes another vote!

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