Various - Smell of the Cramps: More Songs From the Vault of Lux and Ivy

Husband-and-wife team Lux Interior and Poison Ivy of The Cramps were among the earliest musical archeologists, rescuing the misunderstood, the neglected and the frankly bizarre from flea markets and thrift stores at a time when the nascent re-issue market was still to properly find its feet. Their tastes were generally centred on early rockabilly, rock 'n' roll and the garage rock of the mid-1960s and much of their own band's reputation was built on their re-imaginings of these oddball discoveries. When they weren't covering these songs they would often spend interviews raving about their latest finds, many of which were collected on the Born Bad bootleg series, inspiring a few more legitimate titles along the way - of which Smell of the Cramps ... is just the latest.

Only four of the recordings on this 29 track disc dates later than 1960, showcasing the fact that weird, off-the-wall music is not a modern phenomenon by any means. The orgasmic yelps of John and Jackie's 'Little Girl' would still likely provoke a raised eyebrow even today, while Bo Diddley's 'Pills' and Little Sylvia's 'Drive, Daddy, Drive' add drugs and fast cars to heady cocktail of transgressional subject matter. Gary 'Spider' Web's 'The Cave (Part 1) is a three-minute B-movie by itself while the simple hillbilly swing of Werly Fairburn is just a fun toe-tapper.

Occasionally, tracks like Harry Coons' 'Masai Rumble' prove to be little more than a variation on one of the hundreds - if not thousands - of novelty instrumentals that the period threw up, but fans of this stuff tend to enjoy even the minor efforts. While the better known Cramps-related numbers have long since been mined, and while not everything here is a classic by any means, Smell ... should still prove to be something of a voyage of discovery for all but the seasoned traveller on the seas of vintage exotica.

Overall

7

out of 10

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