Song Of The Day 10/28/2015: Lou Rawls – “Season of the Witch”

Halloween Week – You know who I always feel great for around this time of year? The estate of Screamin' Jay Hawkins. I was lucky enough to see him twice while he was still alive, and even then he came out of a coffin. Well, that's how I remember it. Portions of those recollections may be enriched. But anyway, I feel happy for his many descendants around this time of year because the royalty checks are being generated thanks to more people playing his signature hit, "I Put a Spell On You." And when I say "signature hit," I mean "only hit," although the great man had many other riveting moments on vinyl that one hit overshadowed. It always makes me think of other songs that get increased coverage this time of year, and I wonder how those royalties get cranked up as well. You know: "Bad Moon Rising," "Werewolves of London," that insufferable "Monster Mash." Do Bobby "Boris" Pickett's survivors feel the lilt in their hearts and their ledgers around this time of year? Or whoever wound up with the publishing rights? I wonder, because I have more space in my head than I like to admit.

Over the years I've noticed a slight uptick in seasonal playings of Donovan's "Season of the Witch," to the point where it might be his third-most recognizable song behind "Sunshine Superman" and "Mellow Yellow." Donovan's version was never released as a single, which makes sense. It doesn't really sound like a single. It's got that third-track-on-side-two feel to it. [Close: It was the first song on side two of the Sunshine Superman album. -- Ed.] Lots of folks have had a go at "Season of the Witch," including Vanilla Fudge, Joan Jett, Richard Thompson and Hole. My favorite take is that of Lou Rawls. He has this subhuman growl. You can barely detect but you'd miss it if it was gone. Rawls' slow burn and metrically applied release had no peers. It's a great cover. And it will haunt your loved ones more than "Monster Mash" ever could.

Popular Recent Posts