CRAMPS, THE – Songs The Lord Taught Us

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"After releasing two singles in 1978 (later compiled on the band's Gravest Hits EP), The Cramps headed to Memphis to record its debut album with Alex Chilton at ground zero of many of the band's own favorite recordings: Sam C. Phillips Recording Studio, better known as Phillips Recording. Released in 1980 on IRS Records, Songs the Lord Taught Us contained a mix of originals and covers chosen from the band's live set — though since The Cramps often paid homage to classics with a riff here or a lyric there, the lines between them were often blurred. Boiling over with swagger and sweat, "TV Set" and "Garbageman" were instant punk classics; covers of the Sonics' "Strychnine" and '50s standard "Fever" (written by Eddie Cooley and Otis Blackwell) were both true to the originals' spirits, but the album's stark production and Lux's impassioned, unhinged vocal delivery gave them a more maniacal edge.

Although Ivy later stated she didn't feel the production on Songs the Lord Taught Us completely reflected the band's "toughness," it's hard to come up any record that packs more '50s / '60s flavor with an overarching sense of madness 35-plus years later. By the time the album was released, rockabilly revival was in full swing, with the emergence of artists such as Robert Gordon and The Stray Cats (even Queen got into the action with "Crazy Little Thing Called Love"), but The Cramps were no revivalists. While the band's sense of humor and irreverence is everywhere on Songs the Lord Taught Us, including "I Was a Teenage Werewolf" and "Zombie Dance," The Cramps were totally serious when it came to its craft."

Jamie Ludwig, NPR

TV Set
Rock On The Moon
Garbage Man
I Was A Teenage Werewolf
Sunglasses After Dark
The Mad Daddy
Mystery Plane
Zombie Dance
What's Behind The Mask
I'm Cramped
Tear It Up