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The Salem Witch Trial

TRACK #186:

The Salem Witch Trial by Kiriae Crucible

Since Christopher Lee’s over here talking about The Salem Witch Trial, let’s follow that up with a song about The Salem Witch Trial, aptly titled The Salem Witch Trial.

This rockin’ piece of obscure psychedelia comes from none other than Kiriae Crucible, a band (or hell, even just a lone dude) that I can seem to find absolutely no information about at all.

Any web search for Kiriae Crucible will undoubtedly return this song, an seemingly only this song, the various compilations that contain this song, or places in which you can hear…this song.

Well, Halloween Shindig now proudly joins the ranks of places at which you can also hear this song but find no other information regarding Kiriae Crucible. If you were led here looking for such information (though I sincerely doubt it) then I apologize for being just another repository with absolutely nothing new to offer.

I will say this, though. The 45 above is curiously adorned with the name “Erickson,” which might lead you (as it did me) to wonder if it was not penned (and perhaps even performed) by Halloween hero, Shindigger and all around way-out-cat Roky Erickson.

Beats me though, as a cross-reference of the 2 also returned no results for me.

Bummer.

Anyway, if you do happen to be reading this and actually have information regarding Kiriae Crucible or this song, please leave a comment below or forward said info to ed@halloweenshindig.com. Thanking you in advance, your assistance is greatly appreciated.

For everyone else, just sit back and enjoy this random-ass song about The Salem Witch Trial by a random-ass band (or dude) known simply as Kiriae Crucible, a name which I’m still not even sure how to pronounce exactly.

 

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I Put a Spell On You

TRACK: #184

I Put a Spell On You by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

Here’s a Halloween staple the blog has managed to avoid for, oh I don’t know, 5 years or so. Which is odd, considering it’s an original member of the very first Shindig CD from 2002.

Perhaps Rock ‘N Roll’s first Shock Rocker, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins used to be just plain, old fashioned Blues singer Jay Hawkins. In fact, I Put a Spell On You was originally written and recorded as a love song. It was producer Arnold Maxin at Colombia Records who can take the initial credit for creeping things up, deciding the song needed a darker tone. He proceeded to get everyone shit hammered drunk during the session and Hawkins has stated he has no memory of even recording that 1956 version. Man, that’s a little bizarre. Is some more music industry warlocking afoot?

Famous Cleveland DJ Alan Freed can probably be blamed for the rest, offering Jay $300 dollars to emerge from a coffin on stage. Jay didn’t like the idea, reportedly saying “No black dude gets in a coffin alive…they don’t expect to get out!” But alive he went, and out he came just fine, with all the voodoo accoutre ma that came to define his on-stage persona. Jay Hawkins was now officially Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and the rest was history.

Or was it?

Despite being edited by Colombia Records, many stations banned I Put a Spell On You for what was perceived at the time as overt sexuality. This was 1956 after all. And despite ultimately selling over a million copies, the record failed to break onto the billboard charts. The song itself would be a bigger hit for just about every other singer that covered it than it was for Hawkins himself, with white artists making the charts on it’s back only 10 years later. This was 1956 after all.

When coupled with friction Jay found with the NAACP regarding his “racially stereotypical” appearance,  one can understand and appreciate Hawkins satirical album “Black Music for White People,” which should probably be in the running for one of the greatest album titles of all time. Though many found it to be the opposite, it could be argued that Jay’s reticence to conform to an acceptably “white” appearance was itself in fact transgressive and confrontational to the white audiences that reveled in his performances. Stereotyping and the NAACP be damned, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins wasn’t gonna whitewash his act for anyone.

Still, Jay harbored bitterness toward the fact that these schlocky gimmicks were what ultimately brought him notoriety, and often blamed them for why people wouldn’t take him seriously as a vocalist. He would re-record this track on several occasions over his long career, each time shifting the tempo and either dialing back or amping up his vocals. But, it is the 1956 version (honestly, not even the most outrageous and oft-heard version) that we include here on the playlist.

However Hawkins felt about his fame, or whether or not he received it for the right reasons, he remains a massive influence on not only Shock Rock, but on hundreds of artists, not the least of which being Shindiggers like Alice Cooper, The Cramps, Nick Cave, The Misfits and Screaming Lord Sutch. And not simply for his outlandish stage persona or appearance, but for his unique talent and that wholly original and genre-defining (and defying) style.

Jay Hawkins died following an aneurysm on Feb. 12th, 2000, exactly 44 years,…to the day…that he recorded this version of I Put a Spell On You. Ya know, that strange drunken session he couldn’t remember…

A spell indeed.

 

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Spooks

TRACK #181

Spooks by Louis Armstrong

Welcome back Weeners! It’s been a while. Well, that is unless you happen to be reading this in 2021 or something and just moved on to the very next post. Chances are you’re not reading this at all though, so that really doesn’t matter that much.

Anyway, the Season of the Witch is upon us once again!

And here to kick off the march to Halloween is Louis Armstrong with some words of warning to all of us this holiday season.

He’s serving up one swinging haunted boogie that just gets my foot tapping. Seriously, I love this song. It’s got a great spooky vibe and some really fun word play, all delivered with Louis’ famous throaty growl.

Now, if you’re finding it a bit difficult to enjoy a song from 1954 where a black man repeatedly belts out a popular racial epithet, I’m not exactly sure how to assuage your feelings of unease.

All I will say, is that apparently Louis didn’t have a problem with it, and I’ll wager that slur was actually used toward him directly, perhaps even many times, during his life in early 20th century America. That’s good enough for me.

It’s perhaps a bit easier to understand in context. Back then, the word “spook” found much more association with ghosts and horror than it does now, no doubt because of it’s offensive application.

This was in part because of The Midnight Spook Show, a precursor to the Midnight Movies and Horror Hosts of the 60’s and 70’s. But we’ll talk about that more a little further down the road.

For now…

Beware a dem spooks…spooks…spooks!

 

Audio

The Monster Mash

TRACK #171:

The Monster Mash by The Krypt-Keeper 5

Born from the same scuzzy streets, Foodland chipped ham and shitty, 3-story apartment building in “downtown” Monessen, Pennsylvania that also gave birth to Halloween Shindig, The Krypt-Keeper 5 and this playlist go together like apples and caramel.

A band of bored FX students joined forces in the winter of 2005  to cut a Christmas album. Deck My Balls: Seasons Beatings from The Krypt-Keeper 5 was a substantial, 28-track package of punk covers, originals, re-workings and Christmas classics.

Featuring the vocal stylings and ivory work of a man you may be familiar with; sculptor, mask-dork, punch-technician and friend of The Shindig, Mikey Rotella.

Rhythming it up behind him were bassist and 4th Keeper Chuck Hendershot (aka Klaus Satan Von Chudberg), Timmy “Tiny Timminy Grinch” Estes slinging a six-string, and Todd Russell Parker McCulloch filling in with drum fills, guitar licks and just about anything else required.

They even played a couple of shows which, for any of the poor souls trapped in the Monongahela Valley, was probably the freshest air they’d ever breathed. Unfortunately, The Shindig never got to see them perform live, as it had moved on to the good life out in California’s beautiful San Fernando Valley by 2005. However, we can all pretend like we were there thanks to the miracle of modern video.

Yeah, that’s great an all, but the last time I checked this was Halloween Shindig. Why the fuck are we sitting here, 3 days before Halloween, talking about a goddamn Christmas album?

Well, that’s because buried deep within this seasonal offering is another kind of festive shanty, and it’s the 5’s take on a Halloween Classic, The Monster Mash.

And when Monessen’s own sons, The Krypt-Keeper 5, take on All-Star Boris Pickett’s seminal Halloween hit, there’s nothing but room for them on Halloween Shindig.

So, c’mon Weeners! Join Dracula, his son….and the wolfmaaan…for this take on the timeless graveyard smash.

 

Audio

Hauntedween

TRACK #150:

Hauntedween by Ernest Raymer

What better place to bring our Haunted House Rockin’ block to an end than here, at the Berber House with Hauntedween, a Haunted House Halloween Title Track?

While not a real haunted house, The Berber House is just a festive Haunted House, or rather a Haunt, which has hitherto but unrepresented in our block.

A staple of the season since well before I was brought to this plane of existence, The Haunted House is as much a part of Halloween as Trick-or-Treating, Jack-O-Lanterns and slutty costumes.

High school kids in rubber masks weave through a thick mist of dangling limbs and fake fog, looking for their next mark.

Disorienting lights strobe to the beat of pneumatic pistons firing foam jump scares.

A chainsaw is perpetually chugging somewhere, sometimes roaring to life, but from where, you couldn’t say.

Grown adults tip-toe around dark corners, weary of things they know aren’t really out to get them.

The nervous shriek, the tough guys almost instinctively punch and the weirdos laugh uneasily.

Some are good and some are terrible, but they all have that same smell, that same vibe, the same excitement, and you should always treat yourself to at least one visit a season.

If you live around Southern California, I highly recommend Reign of Terror in Thousand Oaks. Skip Universal, Knotts and The Griffith Park Hayride, and check that place out.

Hauntedween is a low budget affair filled with that same sort of passionate home-town charm and love for the holiday you find in local Haunted Houses, and it features a killer lying in wait at just such a local Haunt. You can read The Shindig’s write-up here!

This Title Track (which it is gracious enough to give us) plays over a montage of the Sigma Phi frat boys rebuilding the old local Haunt in preparation for a holiday fundraiser to save their fraternity!

It may be awkward to say, and it may not make one bit of sense, but here it is all the same…it’s Hauntedween!

Someone’s dying to start the show.

 

Audio

Haunted Cathouse

TRACK #147

Haunted Cathouse by The Nekromantix


What Haunted House tour would be complete without a stop at a haunted whorehouse?

Here’s a psychobilly banger from The Nekromantix which has the guys reminiscing about the good old days, ya know when they got free blowjobs from weird creatures at this spooky brothel.

I lead the song in with a clip from Blood Sisters, Roberta Findlay’s late-era slasher where some sorority sisters are challenged to spend the night in…a haunted whorehouse!

With Roberta’s name and the plot outlined above, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were getting into some top-notch 80’s slash-sleazery. Unfortunately, you’d be mistaken, and probably fairly disappointed by this scavenger hunt, genre mash-up which delivers little in either haunted house chills or hack-n-slash thrills.

It’s not even terribly sleazy either, which is a pretty hefty sin for a movie about a haunted whorehouse where a bunch of sorority girls are having a sleep-over.

Oh, well. At any rate, here’s The Nekromantix describing a house which would have been much cooler than the one we get to see in Blood Sisters.

 

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Terror (In the Haunted House)

TRACK #146:

Terror (in the Haunted House) by Blitzkid

Though they share titles, I’m not entirely convinced Blitzkid was inspired by the film Terror in the Haunted House to write this upbeat spookster.

See, Terror in the Haunted House doesn’t really take place in a Haunted House. I suppose House on Haunted Hill doesn’t really either, but it at least it pretends to. Terror in the Haunted House doesn’t even do that.

What it does do however, is attempt to bug you out with a bunch of subliminal messages and images cut into the movie. They called this gimmick “Psycho-Rama!” which sounds way cooler than it actually is.

The look of these messages is pretty goofy. They’re actually kind of distracting and not at all effective. Take a look. I’ve slowed them down for optimum perception!

Not so spooky. Hell, the later ones seem pretty aftermarket. Particularly this red snake one, instructing you to “Rent Rhino Videos Everyday.”

Yeah, pretty sure prints didn’t ship with that message in 1958.

No, Terror in the Haunted House is more like a psychological thriller than a horror, and not an entirely ineffective one at that. A bit silly sure and no doubt more than just a little Castle-esque, but it is occasionally somewhat sinister and intriguing.

Mostly though, it’s just a snoozer. And with the absence of any fun ghosts or phantasmic goings-ons, 100% missable.

So, let’s just enjoy this spooky spin from Shindig All-Stars Blitzkid. It’s shorter and a lot more fun.

 

Audio

Haunted House

TRACK #145:

Haunted House by Chris Kevin and The Comics

Well, here’s another Haunted House song inspiredly titled Haunted House. I suppose you can’t fault anyone for directness, or at least maybe you shouldn’t, especially not Chris Kevin or his Comics.

So, who are Chris Kevin and The Comics, you ask? Oh, you didn’t ask that just now, reading the above lead-in? Hmm, well indulge me for a moment as I pretend as though you give a shit.

Turns out I have no idea. None. And I couldn’t find much in the way of information regarding these guys on the old Internet either. Maybe one day some other goofball will be searching for information on Chris Kevin and The Comcis and stumble across this hole and shriek out in hope. Not bloody likely, and then not exactly helpful to him, as I have no damn information for that guy either. Sorry guy.

Curiously though, despite the frivolity suggested by Chris’ band’s name, their Haunted House is perhaps the least silly novelty song the Shindig’s ever run across. I mean, they’re not even trying to make this shit funny.

Quite the contrary in fact, as this song actually leans more toward religious cautionary tale about the dangers of a Haunted House. Well, the dangers of not living “right,” anyway (read: probably heterosexually.)

Your soul will be all caught up and burning and so on and so forth, you know the drill. What this has to do with a Haunted House, I haven’t the slightest idea, but if you enter this one, I guess you’ll be damning yourself for whatever reason.

Seems a little arbitrary though, no? Suppose you’re planning on battling the evil forces on behalf of Christ while you’re in there? Suppose you were selling Bibles door-to-door? Suppose you just happened to breakdown in front of this particular house and needed some assistance? That doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that should damn your eternal soul. But you’re ok, cause you got that whole “living right” caveat working for you.

So, don’t blow any dudes inside the Haunted House, have any premarital sex, light any joints or read any communist propaganda, or shit I don’t know, touch yourself or something – whatever the hell passed for not living right in 1959. I’ll bet it didn’t include gender reassignment surgery, or locking up an 8 year old in a basement for 9 years, I can tell you that much.

But hey, let’s keep this light, huh? This is a novelty song from a band claiming to be The Comics,  whoever the hell they may actually be.

 

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Haunted House

TRACK #144:

Haunted House by Jumpin’ Gene Simmons

Here’s a dusty old ditty that proves folks have been fascinated with Haunted Houses for well over 50 years.

From Jumpin’ Gene Simmons comes this lighthearted tale of terror with an upbeat tempo from 1964. However, this song was originally recorded by Johnny Fuller in 1959. If we’re being honest, we prefer Johnny’s version quite a bit more than Gene’s. It’s faster, more bluesy and Johnny sings the thing with a lot more character. It’s just more fun in Johnny’s hands. Have a listen – you be the judge.

 

However, we’ve “officially” opted to include Gene’s version on the Shindig for 3 reason:

1. It appears on Elvira’s Haunted Hits (and Vinyl Macabre for that matter)
2. It’s a little more polished and user friendly.
3. KISS’s very own Gene Simmons took his stage name in tribute to Jumpin’ Gene, and that’s pretty great.

Despite starting his career with legendary Sun Records and opening for Elvis Presley, this was Jumpin’ Gene’s only Top 40 hit, and it made it all the way to #11! Not bad for a silly novelty song about a haunted house. I guess people were into that sort of thing back in 1964.
What a world. I can’t picture anything even mildly resembling this song performing as well in 2017.

In fact, check it out at your next Shindig. See how a modern audience reacts to this little rockabilly spookster. My guess? It won’t make it to #11 with any of your guest. 
But it definitely makes it to at least #144 here on Halloween Shindig.

 

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Amityville

TRACK #143:

Amityville by Lovebug Starski

In 1985, this guy named Lovebug Starski (best known for, well this song) decided it’d be a good idea if he just recorded some random track about Amityville. Not for any Amityville movie mind you, but rather during a 5 year lull in the franchise (3D having been released in ‘83, and Curse not for another 4 years.)

Hell, he didn’t even make it in reference to the movies really, but just cause he thought it’d be fun I guess and maybe even a hit.

And he was right!  This sucker broke the Billboard Top 20 in ‘86, which means that, for a period of time in America, people were legitimately rocking out to this song. Which is totally understandable. This song is awesome and weird as shit.

Starski uses the real Amityville legend (I guess?) as a sort of jumping off point for some crazy-ass song about a vaguely Haunted House where nothing much happens, but everybody visits.

A Karloff-esque butler greets Starski upon his arrival, then later Dracula shows up for no good reason and raps. Now, that alone is plenty of reason alone for Amityville to make the cut for every Halloween party playlist ever created.

And as if that wasn’t bizarre enough though, just for the hell of it, Captain Kirk, Scotty and Spock arrive at one point to talk about Starski over the spooky beat. I’m sorry, what? Why? This song is fucking nuts.

Apparently, looking at the 45 sleeve above, you’ll note the record came complete with a “Free Black Hole,” ya know, for all the “time-shift special appearances.” I guess at least they tried to justify this nonsense with some kind of acknowledgement. Not sure if that makes it more or less weird, though.

So take a drive out to Amityville. You know, the house on the hill. You just make a left, then you make a right and……Amityville!