Happy National Pumpkin Day! If you remember, we celebrated National Pumpkin Seed Day back on October 3rd... So apparently it takes 23-days to grow a pumpkin from seed! Pumpkins have a long history that stretches back through centuries into South American civilizations, including the Aztecs.
Here in the United States, the pumpkin has a creepy performance-role for the next few days as Jack-O-Lantern's. The carving and lighting of gourds and other vegetables is a tradition brought to America originally by immigrants from Ireland. Once Halloween has passed, our attention shifts to Thanksgiving, which means pumpkin breads and pies.
I have a recipe for "Downeast Pumpkin Bread," which I found online about five years ago. It's wonderful, but I'm ready to make it my own, by switching-out some ingredients and making muffins instead of a pumpkin-bread. Stay-tuned for the results... Sometimes you just never know... A recipe that started-out with one-intent sometimes has the potential to become something nobody ever imagined.
That brings me to today's musical selection from Jalacy Hawkins. Born in 1929 in Cleveland, Ohio, Jalacy studied piano, learned guitar, and dreamed of becoming an opera-singer. As often happens in life, things didn't work-out according to plan and he became a blues singer and musician instead. One night in the recording-studio in 1956, Jalacy and his band went to work on a new song he had been working-on. It was intended to be a blues-ballad, but everyone in the band, including Jalacy had become intoxicated following dinner. What ensued was a wild out-of-control recording session. When the dust had settled in the morning Jalacy had no memory of what had happened, but what they had recorded was stunningly unique, dark, and downright catchy. It was called "I Put a Spell on You," and it would set a new career path for Jalacy Hawkins as Screamin' Jay Hawkins.
Hawkins would add costumes and theatrics (including rising out of a coffin on-stage) to live performances of what became his signature song. It now stands as one of the earlier examples of "shock-rock," and has influenced many who have followed in his footsteps. It's waiting for your Friday festivities now (please try to remember what you did on Saturday morning) on the 31-Days of Halloween playlist. Happy Listening! - Kristen