It’s the end (or beginning) of another week, as summer loses its grip and the leaves swim in caramel and fire. Shorts turns into sweaters and apples into pumpkins and the sky goes thick with slumber.
Music is different inside the fall; tethered to its annual rites rather than a fresh new bundle served up weekly. This time of year is the domain to which the standards rule, and membership is exclusive. We own the music and the music owns us. As it should be.
Music should never behave, as far as I’m concerned. It should thrill and provoke and surprise you into places you’ve never been, while at the same time casting a spell that makes you feel as if the moments have your name on them. It should be a place where we can fall in and out of love. Where we can sublime the ordinary, provoke our wicked moods and tease the nickel and dime concerns into million dollar dreams.
I love when a tune has its way with me, as if it has been eyeing me up from the get. And then it feeds me its best line and then I’m falling and then it has me, right where it wants me. Because the right song, it makes you want it that way.
Personally, this is my favorite month of the fall when it comes to music. Nothing against Bing Crosby and Perry Como, but those fellers is gonna own the deed from November through January while the spooky nooks and crannies of October are left to their thirty one days and nights.
So here’s one from the inimitable Screamin’ Jay Hawkins who tuned it up and shook it loose inside the year of nineteen hundred and fifty six. And in so doing, he delivered up one of my all time favorite Halloween songs. This naughty little thing was originally intended to be a ballad, but it quickly turned into something else entirely on account of Jay and his boys liking their drink rather artfully. And so while he didn’t spill this into vinyl with any spooky ideas, it’s got October written all over it from where I’m sitting.
Lucky thing for me old Jay wasn’t much for good behavior.