Various Artists - Destination Crampsville [Righteous - 2018]Destination Crampsville is a two-CD journey back to the 1950’s & 1960’s for a hearty- yet- often rough ‘n’ ready selection of lo-fi rock ‘n’ roll, crude rockabilly, raucous surf, and quirky/ cheesy guitar pop.
The fifty-two track compilation was compiled from the basement grates found in the home of Lux Interior & Poison Ivy of legendary rockabilly/ garage punk/ Gothabilly band The Cramps. And the set highlights the pairs ear for jiving groove, rough-shod musical honesty, and camp-ness- with the two-disc nicely sequenced for both variation, shifting mood, and fun.
Each disc offers up twenty-six a piece, and for the most part, each track lasts around that sweet-spot between one & a half, and two and a half minutes. On disc one a few of stand my stand out moments come in the form of the opener 1959’s "Chicken Rock" by Scott Wood And His Band- this sees a meaty & rough galloping bass line, wondering manic horn, and deep smoky croak of Mr. Wood. Or the wonky big band-meets wild surf swing of Jon Ortis "Headhunter". With Leo Diamond’s Orchestra’s track "Strange Enchantment"- we get a messy, but kind of charming blend of mock American Indian percussion, spooky electronics, Hawaiian guitar, and Arabic strings. Or there’s Gene & Wendell( with The Sweethearts) "The Roach"- which is a decidedly noisy & ramshackle blend of crude honky-tonk piano, lots of cymbal action, swirling soulful male & female vocals- all dedicated to the dance of the same name, where apparent you 'stomp, step, skip'.
Moving onto the second disc, and once again the selection is varied & quirky. And here a few of my favorite moments come in the form of The Six Teens( feat Trudy Williams) "Arrow Of Love", and it’s pumping ‘n’ jiving horn work, sassy lead female vocals, and sailing ‘n’ wailing teen girl backing vocals. The crude & fairly manic darting organ-led rock & roll of The Empalas- "Smooch’ in Sewer With Louie"( what a track title!). The wonky reverb guitar twang & echoed vocals rockabilly of Rod Williams "The Cat". Really pretty much where ever you land down on this two-disc set, your guaranteed of both wild grooves & often lopsided/ wonky charm.
This comp appears on Righteous which is one of the familiy of Cherry Red labels, and I must say I was somewhat underwhelmed by the packaging/ presentation here- especially when you take into account the normal high level of thought, information, and flare put into Cherry Red titles. The two CD’s come in a slim-line & clear jewel case, which features just a folded inlay- this just takes in very basic track listings, with the just the artist name, track title, original year of release, and copyright holding. You get no details of how/ why the comp came about, any single cover artwork, or really any information at all- it just feels/ looks like a very low-budget release. Surely Poison Ivy(Lux Interior sadly passed in 2009) could have written a few words, or we could have got a reproduction of a least a few of the original releases covers or band shots?...instead of getting the blurred black & white stock footage pics from 50’s suburban & signage we get.
So in conclusion sonically Destination Crampsville is a great, worthy, and often surprising comp of the 50’s/ 60’s music. I just wish more effort could have been put into the presentation of thing…but on the plus side this comes in price wise just over a tenner, so you do get a lot of sonic bang-for-your-buck!Roger Batty