The Cramps – Longjohn Reviews

Magnificent – 62 Classics from The Cramps Insane Collection


This compilation is another installment of oddball novelty records taken from The Cramps personal record collection. Those of you who are familiar with The Cramps trashy amped up rock n roll will adore this mad mish mash of music spread across two discs that include sleazy rock n roll, hillbilly head bangers, spoken word nonsense, howling RnB scorchers, surf and exotica.

The late Lux Interior and Poison Ivy were avid collectors of obscure kitsch 1950’s music and it was their respective record collections that provided the template for their own raw primal style, and the result was a brilliantly deranged take on 1950s and early 1960s rock n roll.

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Cherry Red Records subsidiary Righteous Records have recently released a series of these albums, and it is difficult to think of a single band apart from The Cramps who could have inspired compilers to release albums full of unorthodox madness. If it was not for the crate digging of Lux Interior and Poison Ivy then most of these artists and songs may have just disappeared into obscurity.

The latest volume is a double disc with sixty-two (yes 62) sonic slabs of some of the rawest and wildest rock n roll ever committed to tape. These records are magical items if you happen to have them on 7’’ chunky vinyl, and if you don’t then this compilation is the next best thing.

Righteous Records have done a splendid job in getting this music out to a wider audience, however, if there is one small gripe to be made then this compilation is simply too long with musical tropes often repeated, and even the most rabid fan of leg shimmying rock n roll will be worn out after the first disc.

This is a minor quibble in what is otherwise an enormously fun compilation full of songs littered with sledge hammer riffs, hooks galore, odd ball charm and all sorts of other near craziness in between. If the listener can stay the distance then they will be duly rewarded with left field rock n roll that will make you wonder how some of these artists made this stuff up in the first place.

Rock n roll as Lux Interior beautifully explained in an MTV interview from 1984 is simply about sex and the celebration of earthly desires. However, earthly desires is not the only concern on this album as it launches into the stratosphere with a number of space oddities, including Jimmie Haskall’s Blast Off, followed by the wonderfully galactic instrumental Ghost Satellite by Bob and Jerry.

There are a few movie soundtracks on this compilation and the theme tune to the schlock horror film The Blob was scored by Burt Bacharach, and the film tells the story of a small American town that is terrorized by an outer space gelatinous monster, which slides and creeps across the floor and ‘will eat you ‘ if you are not careful teenyboppers.

There is even room on this compilation for actor Robert Mitchum who starred in the 1958 film Thunder Road. Not only did he play the lead in the film, he even wrote the script and composed and sang the theme tune ‘Ballad of Thunder Road’, which tells the story of a man who bootlegs moonshine that would even ‘quench the devils thirst’, and the story of this liquor runner is an unexpected and welcome inclusion on this album.

Prison life has been a long source of fascination for singers and songwriters in this period, and no compilation of this type would ever be complete without the inclusion of Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller’s prison lament, ‘’Riot in Cell Block No#9. Even better still is that Wanda Jackson covers this particular version and her unmistakable kittenish growl coupled with a rough edged rockabilly track is enough to make you wish you were in a calaboose with her.

Bo Diddley was never afraid to refer to himself or include his own name in his songs, and this infectious trick is repeated on ‘Bo Diddley is a Lover’. The irresistible rhythmic shuffle, humorous bravado, and the raw production that defined his records in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s is all present and correct on this particular tune culled from Bo’s sixth studio album.

The Clovers ‘Your cash ain’t nothing but trash’ released in 1954 on Atlantic Records is a scorching slice of horn and piano driven Doo Wop, and it is easy to see why this combo were snapped up by Ahmet Ertegun, who presided over these harmony kings as they notched up over 20 hit singles on the RnB charts in the early 1950s.

Paul Peek (who?) and Johnny Burnette and his Trio both grace this compilation with a couple of rockabilly strollers. Little information exists on Paul Peek but he did release over a dozen singles, including ‘Olds-Mo-William, which is a rockabilly floor filler.

Johnny Burnette can lay claim to being a rock n roll pioneer and released a handful of great singles, including ‘The Train Kept a Rollin’ (later reprised by The Yardbirds). However, the B-side ‘Honey Hush’ is no slouch either, and the same vaguely distorted guitar riff from side A is recycled and played by the sadly over looked rockabilly guitarist Paul Burlison.

It would be an understatement to say that having to listen and absorb 62 tracks spread across 2-CDs is an endurance test. However, we are never going to get the opportunity to hang out in The Cramps record lair so for a pair of fivers you get this crack-pot collection of wild, untamed rock n roll in it’s most primitive form. BUY HERE!

Long John

Charming Chap and a new sharp force for Eyeplug, being a toppermost writer with a keen appreciation for things of quality and distinction. A well known face on the London ‘Mod’ Scene but with an open mind and heart. Got a strange interest in Pirates? One to watch out for!

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