The Cramps

Bad Music for Bad People

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    8
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An extremely skimpy compilation, Bad Music is only 31 minutes long. Still, this dog's breakfast of material, assembled upon the Cramps' departure from IRS, was the only place for a variety of B-sides and rarities, at least for a long while. The most well-known is "New Kind of Kick," covered later by the the Jesus and Mary Chain. It isn't as out there sonically as that band, but it has plenty of attitude to burn, with Interior getting lyrically rude more than once and Ivy turning in some fierce, screeching guitar. Another winner is the sassy "Drug Train," originally the B-side to "Garbageman," which celebrates debauchery with the expected gusto. Knox gets to show his command for steady but right drumming on this one, while Interior and Ivy go crazy with the usual vim. The usual selection of covers of rockabilly and garage rarities surfaces, most memorably with a ripping redo of rock & roll wildman Hasil Adkins' "She Said." The rave-up qualities are brought out in a full-bodied performance, while Interior sounds like he's been either dug up from a grave or a swamp. More semi-hits like "Human Fly" and "Goo Goo Muck" surface as well, making the whole release a fine if overly short overview of the Cramps' vision of the universe. Production at points ventures into the totally primitive -- all the more appropriate for the band in question, admittedly -- giving everything the necessarily rough-and-ready atmosphere for the group's own brand of scummy sleaze. The artwork is notable in its own right, with the fleshless big-haired ghoul on the cover having turned into an icon for the Cramps and goth/rockabilly music worldwide.

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