... like this! - oh baby I see you in my frigidaire - yeah baby I see you in my frigidaire - behind the mayonnaise, way in the back - I'm gonna see you tonight for a midnight snack - but though it's cold you won't get old - 'cause you're well preserved in my frigidaire - yahhhhhhh.... ("TV Set")
In the spring of 1976, The Cramps began to fester in a NYC apartment. Without fresh air or natural light, the group developed its uniquely mutant strain of rock’n’roll aided only by the sickly blue rays of late night TV. While the jackhammer rhythms of punk were proliferating in NYC, The Cramps dove into the deepest recesses of the rock’n’roll psyche for the most primal of all rhythmic impulses -- rockabilly -- the sound of southern culture falling apart in a blaze of shudders and hiccups. As late night sci-fi reruns colored the room, The Cramps also picked and chose amongst the psychotic debris of previous rock eras - instrumental rock, surf, psychedelia, and sixties punk. And then they added the junkiest element of all -- themselves.
1979 saw The Cramps opening for The Clash in New York and undertaking a second tour of the West Coast. Their gig at Keystone, Palo Alto, CA, being broadcast live by KFAT. Around this time the band came to the attention of Miles Copeland III who signed them to his IRS/Illegal label. He set The Cramps up with a British tour with The Police and in June gave their Vengeance singles a release as the Gravest Hits EP (UK Indie Chart #41, 2 wks). In July they went back to Sam Phillips' studio in Memphis with Alex Chilton to begin work on their first album, Songs The Lord Taught Us, which was not released in March 1980 (UK Indie Chart #18, 18 wks), much to the band's displeasure, and included covers of Jimmy Stewart & His Nighthawks' Rock On The Moon, The Sonics' Strychnine and Little Willie John's signature number,Fever, which was released as a single in June 1980 (UK Indie Chart #12, 9 wks).
This 1980 debut long player by the crystallized Lux Interior-Poison Ivy-Bryan Gregory-Nick Knox lineup was again recorded by Alex Chilton, this time at the Sam C. Philips Recording Studio in Memphis, in what has long since become legend material, in no small amount due to the historical/astrological coordinates at work, the Chilton/Cramps team up itself, inept studio hands being kicked out of the recording booth, Bryan Gregory´s "abrupt departure" before touring this album, take your pick.
A wonderfully rough edged studio noise trickery/fuzz/echo sprinkled affair that is a primordial part of what the eminent status this band holds is based on.
With this band it would be pretty minute to try and single out one album before any other for the new listener, except maybe the comps., so if you come across this in any form this should come as no disappointment for the discerning ghoul out there.
1. "T.V. Set" - 3:12
2. "Rock On The Moon" - 1:53
3. "Garbageman" - 3:37
4. "I Was a Teenage Werewolf" - 3:03
5. "Sunglasses After Dark" - 3:47
6. "The Mad Daddy" - 3:48
7. "Mystery Plane" - 2:43
8. "Zombie Dance" - 1:55
9. "What's Behind the Mask?" - 2:05
10. "Strychnine" - 2:24
11. "I'm Cramped" - 2:37
12. "Tear It Up" - 2:32
13. "Fever" - 4:17
14. "I Was a Teenage Werewolf (With False Start)" [Original Mix] - 4:48
15. "Mystery Plane" [Original Mix] - 2:39
16. "Twist and Shout" - 2:32
17. "I'm Cramped" [Original Mix] - 2:37
18. "The Mad Daddy" [Original Mix] - 3:15