Holy Shit: Screamin' Jay Hawkins and Serge Gainsbourg "Constipation Blues"!



First off, a shout-out to rocker-turned-one-helluva-writer Dan Epstein for hipping me to this clip (and the fact that its Screamin' Jay's birthday today).  His latest book, Stars & Strikes: Baseball and America in the Bicentennial Summer of '76, covers the last golden age of baseball and is a great read.  If you enjoy great stories told by a master storyteller, you owe it to yourself to crack the spine on this gem.  

Here's the thing about the internet.

We're all on it and, instead of doing something, you know, UNIQUE, we're all just fucking parking our asses on some social network or another, blind to our own ticking clock, and convinced that all those endless hours spent here don't somehow get counted against us.

But when this mortal coil slips its icy cold fingers around your neck and chokes the last bit of life out of your bones, you'll think of this exact moment.  The one where you could have gotten up from your chair and actually DONE something, phyically touched someone, or even just run your fingers along a brick wall and felt the stories those walls have lived to tell...but didn't.

I say this as much as a warning to myself as to you, why bother?  It's all been done, right?  All the great art is in the museums already.

Heck, even just an hour spent on Facebook can hip you to so many wonderful one-of-a-kind musical events that YOU MISSED, but are now able to enjoy as if you were there.  And it's literally gotten to the point where we ask ourselves, "Should I buy tickets to the show and actually get out for once, or just wait a day or so and watch it on YouTube?
  
Even with all this technology at our disposal, and Generation Y-Bother has elected someone who cannot even sing (**COUGH** Kanye **COUCH**) as the voice of their generation.  Who, in turn, marries a Kardashian.

There's nobody doing anything quite like what Screamin' Jay Hawkins and Serge Gainsbourg were doing whenever and wherever this clip was shot.  To some, this is a pairing even odder than Bing Crosby and David Bowie run into each other at the country club and have a go at a Christmas song, but to those few souls on this side of the pond who know the depth of Gainsbourg's...coolness...this clip is endlessly life affirming.

See, we know all the best musicians and singers have already come along and all the best songs have been written and re-written time and time again.  When I hear someone's "new song", all I hear are the influences, the song(s) they were trying to emulate for whatever reason.  It wasn't that way when Elvis Costello came out, or The Clash.  Both wore their influences on their sleeve, but it didn't take up the whole sleeve.
Beatles?  Same way.

They didn't invent rock & roll, they imitated it and, for a few albums, that was enough to rule the world.  But then they started building onto it, going places musically that, quite frankly, had been there all along had anybody dared to look.  And, as a result, they re-wrote the rule book and we've been imitating them - instead of what came before them - ever since.

Sure, we've always found little ways to twist it and pull it into something that is "ours", but none of it is too far removed from those crafty little musical innovators from Liverpool, England.

Even these guys...



Are we listening because they're doing something original?  Or because they're that young and we're that bored?

I ask only because when you see something like Screamin Jay Hawkins and Beamin' Serge Gainsbourg create something for which there is no category, it just makes everything else seem, well, a little constipated.


Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

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