Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I Put a Spell on You

Previously cast as a manic, hyper-frenzied voodoo-blues incantation, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’s well-regarded ‘I Put a Spell on You’ was radically transformed into a simmering, edgily ominous dungeon crawl by Bryan Ferry in 1993, effectively exchanging the original’s swampy depravity for a more measured, ironically stately but no less foreboding aura that also highlights Ferry’s infamous lounge-lizard mannerisms. This highlight from 1993’s underrated ‘Taxi’, constituting one of Ferry’s more resonant ‘readymade’ covers, is complemented by a stylish, live performance on the now-defunct ‘Top of the Pops’, featuring the Roxy Music frontman in familiar onstage surroundings: prettified but vacant-faced back-up dancers, functionally competent sidemen (or in this case, sidewomen), and lots of dramatic smoke effects.


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