Monday, October 31, 2005

Johnny Fuller - Haunted House

Happy Halloween everyone! I'm back from my vacation in the Tennessee Smokies. I had a great time relaxing in and running around the mountains. Being a tourist area, there were quite a number of flea markets and antique shops around. I did a bit of record digging and while I wouldn't call my take massive, I did manage to corral a few nice things. More on that later.

As Brian has already rightly mentioned, rock 'n roll and Halloween are practically a match made in heaven. Unfortunately, my own stash of spooky rockers seems sadly limited. I do have a few things though, including one that I think deserves special mention, namely Johnny Fuller's original version of "Haunted House" from late 1958.

Most people will no doubt be familiar with "Haunted House" from the hit version by Gene Simmons from the summer of 1964. The song is also closely associated with Sam the Sham, who made it one of his early singles on the small Dingo label in 1964. An excellent rendition also appeared on his Wooly Bully LP a year later.

Johnny Fuller began recording in 1954 and released many singles for various labels through about 1962. "Haunted House" is the first of two 45's he made for the Specialty label. While Gene Simmons' version is fairly slick, Fuller's take was on the gritty side. It's fast, has some wild guitar plucking and a more frantic vocal. Though I really like the Simmons record, I'll be reaching for the original more often.

1 comment:

Jim Colegrove said...

Bob Geddins, the author of the song, made some interesting records himself. He made "Blues In Italy" under the alias "Mystery Man" and delivered spoken lyrics in an Italian accent. He produced numerous sessions in Oakland and wrote some good tunes including "Tin Pan Alley" that Jimmy Wilson recorded. He operated Big Town Records.