Screamin' Jay Vs. Esquerita
Legend has it that Screamin' Jay Hawkins got into a bloody-knuckled beef with high-haired wailer Esquerita in New York City and the epic battle spilled out onto Eighth Avenue, where both ended up face down in a construction hole. The two hollering brawlers have since gone on to rock 'n' roll heaven, but the Norton label has thoughtfully reunited them on a vinyl single with a song apiece originally recorded for Teddy McRae's Enrica label. On the A-side you get an early take on Screamin' Jay's possessed I Hear Voices, while the flip is graced with Esquerita's demonic piano-punching behind the Clovertones ' fired-up run at the old gospel standard Didn't It Rain. And just in time for the holidays, Norton has also put out a Nathaniel Mayer single with a revved-up tear through Ride In My 225 from 2003 with a sweet live rendition of Mr. Santa Claus, both accompanied by the Shanks. Aces.
It's that time of year, when even record dealers like Jazzman Gerald are starting to get into the spirit of the season. This year's Jazzman super-limited yuletide 7-inch comes with two deep funk thrillers by the Soul Saints Orchestra , widely rumoured to be the Poets of Rhythm. One spin through Santa's Got A Bag Of Soul and it seems like the Poets-in-disguise theory is a safe bet, while the flipside instro burner Bag of Soul seems to confirm it. Sure to keep your house rockin' for months to come.
While collections of Ennio Morricone 's film music tend to focus on his grand themes, bossa/lounge tracks or western scores, the two-disc Crime And Dissonance (Ipecac) set goes where most compilers fear to dig. Assembled by obsessive Morricone fan Alan Bishop (of Sun City Girls notoriety), who put together the excellent Morricone 2000 and 2001 comps, Crime And Dissonance gathers the dark, creepy and downright bizarre pieces from lesser-known erotic thrillers, horror and sci-fi flicks from Morricone's late-60s and early 70s creative peak years that rarely turn up on conventional retrospectives. A job well done, only it would've been better to have Bishop discuss his choices in the liner notes instead of John Zorn congratulating associate producer Mike Patton.