Tuesday, February 10, 2009

THE CRAMPS: "A DATE WITH ELVIS"

I've been going back and re-listening to a lot of Cramps lately after the shocking news of Lux Interior's passing last week. I have all of their albums, but I've been going back and trying to figure out which one would be the best, pure and definitive Cramps album throughout their long, fruitful career. It's a tough choice because I am partial to their live material, such as "Smell of Female" and "Rockin & Reelin' in Auckland, New Zealand". There is just a certain energy there that cannot be translated and carried over into the studio. Their live material is raw and frenetic, and their studio material is highly polished and classy sounding.

After some deliberation, I've come to the conclusion that their studio album "A Date with Elvis"(1986) is their best all-around release. The guitar playing of Ivy Rorshach is excellent, twangy, fuzzed out and polished. She actually laid down the bass guitar tracks for this album as well. Lux interiors vocals are at their peak here. Maniacal yet subdued, bluesy, lusty, and full of life. "A Date With Elvis" was sort of a break away from their horror fixation of the past. The lyrics are sexually charged and full of double meanings in songs such as "Can Your Pussy Do the Dog" and "What's Inside a Girl?" Their fascination with 1950's and '60's B-culture and vintage off the wall rockabilly and obscure rock'n'roll from that time period is in full force here. This album truly sounds like it came from that time, very authentic and vintage sounding. My favorite part of the album is towards the end. The Cramps truly show off the knowledge of their roots by covering four classic country and blues tear-jerkers, long lost and distant musical mournings of a love gone awry. Their faithful renditions of "Give Me a Woman", "Georgia Lee Brown", "It's Just That Song", and "Blue Moon Baby" are enough to give you goose bumps. They brilliantly end the album with "Get Off the Road", a well-done cover of the sleazy theme song from Herschell Gordon Lewis's classic female biker film "She Devils on Wheels".

All in all, "A Date With Elvis", with the first part of the album being top notch original material with a classy sleaze, and the last five songs being well done, vintage cover tunes, is an excellent work . If you have never heard The Cramps before, start with this one. Some may prefer the rawness of their earlier material but to me "A Date With Elvis" is easily the best and most consistent album The Cramps have ever made.

Here's "Can Your Pussy Do the Dog" and the tear-jerker "It's Just That Song".







Can Your Pussy Do The Dog - The Cramps








Its Just That Song - The Cramps

2 comments:

T. L. Bugg said...

Great post and great album, I think I went into my story about this one a few days back so I wont bore you with that again, However I will say that,,,

You were nominated for The Dardos Award by t.l. bugg

http://www.thelightningbugslair.com/2009/02/dardos-award.html

Steve Smith said...

Thank you for the award and the kind blurb on your blog. I appreciate it, and thanls for being a loyal reader.