Third Man Records is excited to announce reissues of two essential Screamin' Jay Hawkins' records "What That Is!" (1969) & "Because Is In Your Mind" (1970) limited edition colored vinyl available on Record Store Day 2020. This will mark the first-ever North American vinyl pressings of either album since the original pressings in 1969 and 1970. Look out for the reissues available in Third Man Records storefronts and indie record stores near you on September 26th. View the full Record Store Day 2020 list HERE.

Jalacy J. Hawkins, better known as Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, was born on July 18, 1929 in Cleveland, Ohio. As a young man, he played piano, boxed in local championships and learned opera at the Ohio Conservatory of Music. Although initially pursuing opera after returning from serving in World War II, Hawkins eventually sharpened his focus on the darker side of R&B and jazz, using macabre stage props, absolute wildman persona and expert voice imitating the blare and squeal of saxophones. His most notable chart-topper was the boozy, raucous 1956 hit “I Put A Spell On You,” which was banned by many radio stations for its suggestive groans and grunts. All things considered, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins is considered one of the earliest pioneers of what would become shock rock. 

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What That Is!

Recorded in 1969, years following his big hits, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ third album What That Is! showcases Hawkins in one of his most rowdy and compelling stages of his artistic career. With a killer backing band featuring the great Earl Palmer on drums for most of the cuts and Herb Ellis guesting on a few. We find Jay singing about life, love and loss as well as feasting Mau Maus and pain, REAL PAIN. 

From the album notes- “Producer’s Note: This album was recorded live at the Club Amigo in North Hollywood on June 23rd and 24th, Nineteen Hundred and Yesteryear, and is dedicated to President Nixon, whose efforts to recapture the era of the early 50’s do not pass unnoticed.” We debated swapping out Presidents’ names. Jay would have liked that.

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Because Is In Your Mind

Recorded  in  1970,  Hawkins’  fourth  album  finds  the  artist  at  a  point  of  transition.  Although  Jay had found commercial success and his sales surpassed one million units, he had grown somewhat weary of his shock/voodoo/bogeyman persona and wanted to be taken more seriously  as  a  singer.  Luckily  for  us,  Jay  only  tones  down  the  yelling  and  the  crooning  and the grunting and the groaning marginally. The tracks here are every bit as wild as you would hope and a bit more mature (note: a very little bit). 

Because Is In Your Mind, also known as Armpitrubber, is packaged in a wonderfully psychedelic painting by Karl Wirsum of the hugely influential Chicago art collective The Hairy Who.