THE CRAMPS – File Under Sacred Music: Early Singles 1978-1981

by admin  12th Jul 2012 Comments [250]

(Munster, Spain) 7” single boxset/CD

The Cramps may have swept to attention in the wake of the ‘70s punk rock wave, but they were of a different species entirely. This otherness is what makes the Cramps so special. By accident, design or mutated genetic disposition they were able to tap directly into the deep India-ink-black essence that lies at the core of all primal rock’n’roll. What they created with their best music and their live performances—that otherness—was something that existed out-of-time with the rest of the world—and certainly the rest of the music scene. The Cramps’ unique vision spawned hundreds of imitators, hopping blindly, stupidly like so many fleas on the back of a big hairy dog. The wanna-fleas may have grokked the mad rockabilly pulse or the voodoo mystique, but the vital essence of it was beyond their understanding. Only the Cramps themselves fully grokked that secret, sacred magic.

If you’d forgotten or, god forbid, never knew just how great the Cramps were, this 10-single vinyl boxset (also available in the more boring CD format) will set you straight in a hurry. Some of the very best of their earliest primal goo-goo muck is here: “The Way I Walk,” “Human Fly,” “Mystery Plane,” “Garbage Man,” “TV Set,” “Goo Goo Muck,” “New Kind of Kick”—the list goes on. Six of these 10 discs are splendid repros of the original 1978-81 singles; four are new pairings with specially-designed cover art in keeping with the all-important original aesthetic. The vinyl box also includes a nifty envelope stuffed with picture postcards.

Liner notes by original Legion of the Cramped fanclub prez Lindsay Hutton seal the deal for this box of Uranium-infused rock’n’roll juice that’ll provide thrills and chills for a million years to come. Sacred. (Mike Stax)

Review originally published in Ugly Things #33.


Davy Jones 1945-2012

by admin  4th Jul 2012 Comments [340]

David Thomas “The Manchester Cowboy” Jones’ first love was jockeying, a fitting choice for the height-challenged heartthrob, until the stage called him. A later American promo tour for Oliver! fated him with the divinity to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show the monumental date of February 9, 1964. From side-stage a teenaged Jones was bewitched by the Beatles making their American debut and found truly what pie he was a piece of.

Of the Monkees remarked Davy they were a “good garage band,” and perhaps that’s what endears them to UT readers, even those not hip to poppin’ bubblegum. While some of the Prefab Four later divorced themselves from the entity due to its synthetic, machine-made product value, Jones trudged along living and singing the hell out of those hits until he tragically left us. Those inescapable jams of childhood made me a believer, and I shall be to until the day I expire. Godspeed, King of the Wild Tambourine.

Below Michael Lynch pours his Monkee-lovin’ heart out, and a playlist to partake in compiled from Michael’s references and a few of my own.  (jeremy nobody, esq.)

 

The short Monkee. The English Monkee. The cute Monkee. The one who got the girls. The one who played tambourine. The one who later called on Marcia Brady. However people remember Davy Jones, the point is, everybody will remember him.

An all-around entertainer, Davy already had racked up some success as an actor before Screen Gems made a Monkee out of him, most notably his Tony-nominated portrayal of the Artful Dodger in the Broadway production of Oliver! The success of Oliver! led him to try milking his teen appeal through American television guest spots (Ben Casey and Farmer’s Daughter) and, of course, records. 1965 yielded an album, David Jones, and three singles for Colpix, only one of which (“What Are We Going to Do”) charted, and at only #93. His luck changed that autumn when he was chosen as one of the stars of an impending sitcom about “four insane boys.”

(more…)


HOWLIN’ WOLF – This Is Howlin’ Wolf’s New Album

by admin  26th Jun 2012 Comments [623]

(Get On Down) LP/CD

The Wolf said, “These electric guitars, they got them queer sounds,” and the full name of this funky, fuzz-filled fantastic footlong is This is Howlin’ Wolf’s new album. He doesn’t like it. He didn’t like his electric guitar at first either. This LP’s the famous financial folly (along with Muddy’s Electric Mud) by Marshall Chess on his Cadet imprint, trying the youth turn-on via throwin’ the roots in the sketch, with fruits like Hendrix in the foreground. The blues purists slagged it, but like much of producer Charles Stepney’s work, was later embraced by hip-hop producers and diggers of all stripes.

BUT, when speakin’ on this mess-terpiece the cast of cats adept in jazz, blues and soul that form the group is generally left outta the equation. This psychedelic solid-sender carries no less than four guitarists (Phil Upchurch, Pete Cosey, Roland Faulkner), including long-time sideman and geetar goliath Hubert Sumlin. The funky, frisky and free rhythm section, Louis Satterfield (bass) and Morris Jennings (drums), along with Upchurch carried backup duties for many Chess, Cadet and outside artists including Terry Callier, Jimmy Reed, Donny Hathaway’s debut, Shel Silverstein, Curtis Mayfield and the Rotary Connection; while Cosey did time in the wild mid-‘70s with Miles Davis amongst others. The fevered flights are handled with finesse by this fab group and never descend into overwrought jamminess, while not kid-glovin’ the Wolf classics but bringin’ a new light to ’em. The “Back Door Man” hisself also shines migh-tee brightly on the insistent-grooved, reverb-drenched track this sentence began with; the plaintive, slinky “Little Red Rooster” and the wah-wah’ed stutter funk of “Down in the Bottom.”

The fave-rave of the platter is the haunting, backwoods electric burn take of “Moanin’ at Midnight,” where you could hear crickets off in the distance if the amps were turned down a notch or two, but this whole disc begs repeated listens. So, if you’ve got an appetite for the wild, untamed and raucous, pick up this platter that matters! (jeremy nobody, esq)

 

(Originally published in Ugly Things #33, Spring/Summer 2012)