Without them, there would be no Misfits (Danzig's got nothing on Lux), no Damned, no Tiger Army and Nekromantix, no Rancid...the list of the influenced is endless. This group of wonderfully weird dudes and a dudette invented the whole fuckin' rockabilly genre. They are the Cramps, baby, an entity unto themselves!
Formed in '76, and fueled by late night campy horror flicks, the Cramps dug deep into the senses of rock'n'roll, incorprating elements of sixties punk, surf, psychedelia, and instrumental rock into their music to create something truly unique. Their music was not pretty by any means, but it sure was beautifully ugly. And this, a collection of their best, dubbed Songs the Lord Taught Us, is a true masterpiece in every sense of the word.
KIcking things off is "TV Set," complete with an infectious riff and superb lyricism by Lux Interior, who sounds like a hybrid of Elvis Presley and Frankenstein's monster. Other highlights for me include "Garbageman," the very surfy "Rock on the Moon," "I'm Cramped" (a wonderful instrumental with the words of the title repeated throughout), and my personal favourite "I Was a Teenage Werewolf," but you'll find your own. And if you're lucky, you might just find the special edition version, which features a bunch of remixes and a brand new song, "Twist and Shout."
Bottom line: The Cramps are just as vital today as they were in their prime. And while there have been many imitators, nothing can compare to the raw power of this tantalizing travesty. So just buy this damn record and let the music crawl and slither into your ears.
The Cramps don't pummel and you won't Pogo. They Ooze, You Throb-- Dr J.H Sasfy, Professor of Rockology, American Rock'n'Roll Institute.
Please excuse me, my friends, as I kiss the sky.