The Cramps : Songs The Lord Taught Us

According to the clear influences this album has, the “Lord” can’t be anyone else than Elvis. But not quite the Elvis we know, or maybe…

The Cramps represent though this album the trashiest and messiest music America could produce at the time ; they are the definition of punk.

And naturally, with powerful guitar pieces almost everywhere ;  in “T.V. Set”, “Sunglasses After Dark”, “Mystery Plane”, “Zombie Dance”, “What’s Behind the Mask?”, “Strychnine” especially.

Some other pieces also feature a nice combination of guitars and drums to offer more energetic sounds ; notably in “Zombie Dance” and “Strychnine” as a good representation of the effects of this fatal substance, with the following track “I’m Cramped” being a natural and great succession to this.

As said early, Elvis is the main inspiration for this album like can be heard in “Rock On The Moon”, “I Was a Teenage Werewolf”  , “Tear It Up” and “Fever” ; it thus wasn’t surprising for me to read afterwards that this album was recorded at the Sam C. Philips Studios, Memphis, the studios where Elvis himself recorded his greatest songs.

The strength of this album resides in its great ability to adapt sounds dating back to the main  golden age of the “Lord” (1960’s) to the 1980’s and make them sound fresh.

However, the musical works and gifts don’t seem to have been the only legacy from Elvis for this album which quite a few tracks, through the lyrics and the screaming voices, suggest a messy lifestyle the “punk generation” is famous for and this including massive use of drugs that basically (and very surprisingly) deemed the band to a limited success especially with events like during the 1980’s US tour, when Bryan Gregory, the guitarist drove off with a van full of the the band’s  equipment, sold to fund his growing drug addiction…



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