Various Artists - Lux And Ivy Dig The Beatniks: A Collection of Fing [Rigtheous/ Cherry Red - 2019]Lux and Ivy Dig The Beatniks.. is the next in the series of compilations culled from the basement grates of Lux Interior & Poison Ivy of rockabilly/ garage punk/ Gothabilly band The Cramps. This time as the release's title suggests the focus is on Beatniks- that most coolly swinging ‘n’ groovy of the late 50’s/early 60’s youth movement. The tracks on this double CD forty five-track compilation both parody and celebrate the Beatniks- and I guess it’s fair to say that compared with the other two comps in this series 2018’s Destination Crampsville, and this year The Wild, The Weird and The Wang Dang Doodlin’- there a lot more focus on spoken word, playful skits, and relatively talky song craft.
The double-disc CD is presented in a clear jewel case- this features a seven-page linear booklet, which features four-page write –up to about the compilations MOJO Magazine’s Dave Henderson. Also included are writing & release credits for all forty-five tracks- though oddly there are no release dates, which of course would have been interesting to know. We also get a few singles label pictures too. I’d say there’s certainly more info/ depth in this booklet compared with the other two releases in the series- but it’s still somewhat lacking.Roger Batty
Anyway let's move into the disc themselves- the first discs features twenty-two tracks- and here we move from the amusing, quirky, to slightly annoying. Sadly the disc opening track falls into the latter bracket- it’s called “Kookie Kookie( Lend Me A comb) by Edd ‘Kookie’ (!) Byrnes which features jiving horns, bouncing bass, and finger clicks- it’s all topped by a women repeating the phase ‘Kookie Kookie lend me your car’ with Edd cool-talking underneath…very trying!. Thankful after this things improve, as we move onto the swinging big band-meets-amusing jive talk take on the Rumpelstiltskin story with Don Morrow’s "Like Rumpelstilskins". Or the bounding, jiving and twanging garage band vibe of Glenn and Christy’s "Wombat Twist". The wonderful cool cat vibe of Russ Haddock Trios Bohemian Girl- with its blend of jocular jazz piano and grooving organ- all topped with moments male and female boop-baps. Or the blend of descriptive male wordy-ness and cool talk of The Joker’s “What is A Fisterris”- that finishing with a puzzling and frankly bonkers backward text moment. Or the deliriously campy ‘n’ creepy “Spooky Doo” by Cacique & His Tribe (feat Enos Feenos) with its blend clip-clop tribal drums, flutes, and guitars- all topped off with a wonderful Peter Lore like vocals.
Moving onto the second disc, and there is certainly more of a grooved ‘n’ swinging jazz feel to a lot of the tracks here. We go from the cool, slightly political spoken word of "Dog" by Bob Dorough, which features an undercarriage horn and scuttling drums. Through to bounding piano, bongos and jazz flute of Aggie Dukes “Swing Long Sweet Cadillac (part1)”. Onto the classic and smooth-spoken word with minimal music backing of Rod McKuen's "No Pictures, Please"- with its wonderful emotive 'n' descriptive episodic flow. Through to the male scatting Yiddish vocals, jaunting keys skitter drums and sassy horn work of "Yip Roc" by Slim Gallard and His Middle Europeans. Or nearing the end of the disc off-key jiving horn and guitar vibe of Sidney and The Crimps "Blah".
On the whole Lux And Ivy Dig The Beatniks: A Collection of Finger Lickin’ Grooves, Deep Thinkin’ Diatribes and Exploitation 45s is keeping up the quality, variation and scope of the other comps in this series. It’s neat to see the focus here been on one particular facet of the 50’s- 60’s youth culture- and I can really see this working well for future compilations, in this I hope, ongoing series.