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Friday, January 13, 2017

The Cramps - Gravest Hits (Drastic Plastic Records) Vinyl 12", 45 RPM Red Vinyl

The Cramps are perfect.   Perfect as a concept, and perfect sound.  This five-song E.P. is a fabulous introduction to one of the great American bands.  So American, I often think they came from France or another foreign country.  I write that because it seems to me that they came from the outside to comment on their culture.  Which are a world of horror and obscure rockabilly recordings.  The Cramps are very much about curating and collecting as well as making music.  At the time of this album's original release, 1979, I only knew "Surfin' Bird."  Although the other songs are now well-known, for instance, Jack Scott's "The Way I Walk" and Ricky Nelson's "Lonesome Town." At that time I wasn't familiar with the 1950s rock world.  Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman" of course, but his Sun Records version of "Domino," no.  So this particular E.P. not only introduced me to this band but also a whole music culture that I wasn't aware of.  I suspect that many of their fans and listeners were in the same boat as me.  Ignorant! 

Alex Chilton's crazed production that was both a tribute to the original recordings, as well as a new sound - at least for me, was a huge 'oh wow.'    The genius real life couple of Lux Interior and Poison Ivy, plus the additional guitar (no bass!) of the goth-like Bryan Gregory, with the minimal drumming by Nick Knox, was a force that hit me in the stomach hard - but in a somewhat healthy way.  As I mentioned, total perfection.