THE CRAMPS – ” The Ohio Demo’s 1979

Posted: April 26, 2021 in MUSIC
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Before The Cramps descended on Memphis with Alex Chilton to record debut album “Songs The Lord Taught Us“, they produced five sets of demos, all of which have been heavily bootlegged. The best – and most mysterious – are “The Ohio Demos 1979″. Best, because these febrile, intense dozen tracks – epitomised by Lux Interior’s stuttering vocals and dense reverb of “All Tore Up” (later recorded as “I Can’t Hardly Stand It”) – encapsulate the band’s chaotic rockabilly.

Mysterious, because nobody – fans, biographers or former band members – seems entirely sure whether they were even recorded in Ohio in 1979.

Thist Song is supposed to be based on “Please give me something” by Bill Allen 1958. The Cramps did it first as “Baby Blue Rock” (you can hear that on the DO-CD “How to make a Monster”), then they changed the Lyrics to “Twist and Shout” and finally it became “Drug Train”

One clue is an interview with Lux in August 1978, in which he says the band are about to head to Akron to “record some tracks in my little brother’s basement studio”. That environment appears to suit the band down to the ground, and many prefer the urgent authenticity of the bootleg to Chilton’s finished album. It’s also been bootlegged as “All Tore Up” and “Wild Psychotic Teen Sounds“, although the definitive version is the Ohio Demos 1979 package of three coloured vinyl seven-inches.

Lux once mentioned in an interview that he was never really happy with the sound of the first two Studio Albums (Songs The Lord Taught Us – 1980 March & Psychedelic Jungle – 1981 May) and I agree! The Ohio Demos do document the Sound, that they had, much better!

Lux Interior (Erick Purkhiser) — vocals Poison Ivy (Kristy Wallace) — lead guitar Bryan Gregory (Greg Beckerleg) — guitar Nick Knox (Nicholas George Stephanoff) — drums

Sound quality: Decent, if tinny
See also: Memphis Poseurs, 1977 demos recorded by Chilton at Ardent Studio in Memphis

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