Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Top 102 Albums. No 48. Psychedelic Jungle

Top 102 Albums. No 48. 
Psychedelic Jungle - The Cramps

What do The Cramps do? They take the corpulent CORPSE of rock music and brought it down to Dr. Frankenstein's lab. He flicked the switch and they became ELECTRIC flies and their songs the high VOLTage maggots who ate away the rotted FLESH! right down to the ROCKIN' BONES.

They take the initial UNKNOWINGNESS of electricated noise and make it FRESH! They shake the dandruff off the BLUE suede shoulders with a FURIOUS shrug of SINCERE! irony.
I am having a lot of trouble picking a single Cramps album. I was going for Gravest Hits because, although short, it is the first and includes everything that would make them great. AND! it's produced by Alex Chilton on the HOLY ground that is Ardent Studios. But it wasn't on Spotify so I couldn't share it easily. The first album I owned was Off The Bone but that is a compilation so it came down to choosing between Songs the Lord Taught Us and Psychedelic Jungle, although their great live album Smell of Female was also in the running. Jungle won because of added vibrato and the because the line Monkeys with Guns came into my head and seemed to explain some of the primal excitement The Cramps bring to their revival of early rockabilly, a sense that electricity is brand NEW, a sense that THEY, and not just their instruments, are plugged in.

I saw them once, and it was everything you could have wished for, and more, and then some stuff you may not have wished for at all but were going to get anyway. Lux in frilly knickers and six inch heels sweating astride the speaker stack is one of those images that stays burnt into your retinas.

I want to play this LOUD and DANCE.

Here is a song from The Knocking Shop which I guess was inspired partly by The Cramps. Don't blame them for that though! I take full responsibility. (Those are the terms of my parole.)


  1. Blimey Seamus, I'm glad that you don't live in the flat upstairs... this is NOT hangover music.
    Now, where's that Norah Jones CD...?

    1. You reminded me of my first flat. At the time, I was given to late nights and when i got home would often play music at volume - a particular favourite at the time was The Birthday Party. The occupant of the neighbouring flat went to work at around 6.30 and would revenge himself upon me by leaving his radio on at full volume on some awful pop station. However I was often too comatose to notice.

  2. Was fortunate/am old enough to have seen the Cramps live several times over three decades and can say that they almost always delivered the goods--one of my favorite live bands ever, in fact. I would have voted for the Smell of Female live EP myself, but you can't knock the songs that are on Psychedelic Jungle either. Are you familiar with the early '80s band the Gun Club, Séamus? Their Fire of Love debut LP is another all-time fave of mine--sort of like a punk blues version of what the Cramps were doing for rockabilly. Anyway, keep these "hits" comin'! P.S. Look forward to hearing the Knocking Shop's partly-Cramps-inspired tuneage.

    1. Hi Richard - I love Fire of Love. Kid Congo Powers played with both The Gun Club and The Cramps (as well as the Bad Seeds). Smell of Female is great. As Lux would say You've Got Good Taste.