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BIG BEAT

The Cramps

Blue Fix

    The Cramps’ “Blues Fix” first came out in 1992 as a side project to “Look Mom No Head!” – sort of the single from the album, plus three. It came out then on newfangled CD, so here’s your chance to get a vinyl fix of the “Blues Fix”, all big 10 inches of it.

    ‘So what you got here big boy? Well, first up is ‘Hard Workin’ Man’, originally released on MCA Records in 1978 as part of Jack Nitzsche’s soundtrack to Blue Collar, which had Harvey Keitel playing alongside Richard Pryor. The record featured Ry Cooder on slide guitar and Captain Beefheart growled a mean vocal. Jack was a good friend of Ivy and Lux, with a shared passion for records. This has to be the latest original they covered on record.

    It was the Cramps who introduced me to the delights of Lightning Slim’s ‘It’s Mighty Crazy’, originally issued on Excello 2131 in November 1957, if you must know. Of course you must, as like the rest of us record freaks you just keep on rubbing at that same old stuff: catalogue numbers, matrix numbers, dates, the colour of the label, the thickness of the wax, even what’s inside the groove. A svelte take here from our band.

    Walter Brown got his Jelly Roll rocks off on Zip 4686 in 1958 and is definitely not to be confused with the blues shouter of the same name who fronted the Jay McShann Orchestra. Our Walter made this singular outing in his search for fame and poverty and put a lot of energy into both sides of his 45. This tune is the more insistent, and the Cramps do that restless-breathless-energetic thing so well on their take.

    The EP closes with ‘Shombalor’, originally issued by Sheriff & the Ravels on Vee-Jay 306 in December 1958, just in time for Christmas. Sheesh, who buys their loved one this to play under the mistletoe? (You’ve guessed.) The record was produced by Aki Aleong, who might have also owned up to writing “Of all the animals in the world, I’d rather be a bear”. But then again, as Sheriff sings it with such panache and conviction, maybe they are his finely tuned lyrics. Whatever, Lux eats the song like only Lux could eat a song.’ – Roger Armstrong

    The Cramps

    Look Mom No Head!

      Wooooooooaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh THE CRAMPS ARE BACK! After a brief stay in the corporate clutches of EMI, they return to the warm, if slightly sticky, embrace of Big Beat, Their concern for the soft white bit of the under-belly of that thing lying over there on the ground, remains as touching and glamourous as it always was. Dames, booze, chains, boots, two heads, sex change, and that's just the first two little numbers. Slip outa something clinging, and let Lux Interior and lggy Pop tell you all about their mini skirt blues.... but who's wearin' it? Later that same evening there was little doubt left about the dress sense- "but Mister Interior what do you mean you wanna get in my pants???" - she panted!!! Hardworkin' woman Poison Ivy wiggles, wobbles and shouts out, screamin' with the sound of female rockin' & rollin' guitar, plastering great swathes of reverberation all over the place. The strangeness in the Cramps. No head???? - hey don't get funny with me punk!!!

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      LP Info: Red vinyl!

      Various Artists

      Good Vibrations

        The film Good Vibrations was released late last year to great acclaim, with luminaries such as Roger Daltrey and Bono raving about its excellence. The story follows the turbulent life of record collector, DJ, record shop owner, record label founder and dance promoter Terri Hooley from his childhood to the present day. A true rollercoaster ride with rarely a dull minute, portrayed brilliantly in this cult film. The soundtrack has been woven together by film score composer David Holmes, who grew up listening to our releases, and Terri Hooley himself, whose love of vintage music is the cornerstone of the story.

        With musical tastes formed in the 60s and 70s, Terri has chosen some wonderful music to portray his early years. The beauty of ‘Angie’, Bert Jansch’s folk guitar masterpiece, the haunting, sexually charged vocals of the Shangri-Las and the primitive clarity of Hank Williams’ ‘I Saw The Light’ show what an eclectic fellow Terri always was. ‘Outcast’ by the Animals gives a hint of the tougher side of the music eventually leading to Terri’s success and (coincidentally, or possibly not) was also the name of one of his label’s punk bands a dozen years later.

        The story of how a scruffy bunch of Londonderry teenagers got their demo to Terri and virtually forced him to record it is one of the film’s highlights. The established record business and a hierarchical society fought against them but boundless energy, belief and desperate measures got a copy of the Undertones ‘Teenage Kicks’ to London-based DJ John Peel who made sure it did not remain an undiscovered gem.

        Exciting music of the time from the Saints, Stiff Little Fingers, Niney The Observer and Suicide sit well with the earlier influences of psychedelia from Ramases & Seleka and the rocksteady sound of the Upsetters. Thrown into the imaginative mix are some unclassifiable musical creations from Michael Yonkers, Jason Falkner and the Langley Schools Music Project and of course the label’s top bands Rudi and those Outcasts are well represented. Stand-alone pieces from the film’s soundtrack are included on this musical celebration of a heady era.

        Terri provided his own idiosyncratic notes for the booklet and needless to say he was tickled pink to have the great David Bowie singing for him on his CD: ever the fan.

        Masaaki Hirao And His All Stars Wagon

        Nippon Rock'n'Roll - The Birth Of Japanese Rokabirii

        “Nippon Rock’n’Roll” documents the rise of Masaaki Hirao. Dubbed “The Japanese Elvis”, Hirao was one of the famed Rokabirii Sannin Otoko (Three Rockabillies), alongside singers Mickey Curtis and “Kei-chan”, Keijiro Yamashita. In early 1958, the rokabirii buumu (rockabilly boom) was born, the first youth music tribe in the Land Of The Rising Sun.

        Rokabirii may resemble US rockabilly, but this Nipponese version is a more varied dish. Hirao and his band’s covers of Eddie Cochran, Elvis Presley and Little Richard are not kitsch renditions, but raw, desperate rockers. Hear a Paul Anka makeover, but put through a rocking mangle; a smattering of jazz; a twist of New Orleans; and some Japanese folk songs with a greased-down quiff. American occupation a distant memory, these boys wanted to party.

        Country and hillbilly music was a mainstay of young Japanese musicians working the GI base and jazz café circuit of the 1950s. Following the runaway success of a Japanese cover of ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ (Hirao’s version here has dynamite in its teeth), demand grew for more of this strange, new music. The need was met with a huge gala, the Nichigeki Western Carnival, which showcased the new rokabirii groups to thousands of screaming Japanese teenagers. Wild footage of the concerts, alongside that of burgeoning radical student movements, put fear of a wave of delinquency into the heart of the establishment.

        The studio numbers here are hardboiled, with unkempt live recordings that really rock. Tough drums back up honking sax, in a pedal steel pandemonium with slap bass. In the words of Elvis: these guys “get real gone”.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        10" LP Info: Limited 'rising sun' red vinyl pressing.

        Bert Jansch

        Young Man Blues - Live In Glasgow 1962-1964

        The earliest live recordings yet discovered of the blues / folk roots of this extraordinary performer. Recorded on reel to reel by a teenage fan between 1962 and 1964 during gigs in Paisley and Glasgow. The speed he whips through "Angie" has to be heard to be believed and there are a number of rarities that never made it to record that makes up for the 'archival' quality of the sound source.


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