Various Artists

The Beat from Badsville, Vol. 1: Trash Classics from Lux & Ivy's Vinyl Mountain

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The Cramps were a great, one-of-a-kind rock & roll band, but founders Lux Interior and Ivy Rorschach were never afraid to acknowledge their influences; they were world-class record collectors, and more than a few compilations have surfaced over the years of rare sides they cited as personal favorites, spun on radio shows, or used as inspiration for their own twisted tunes. The Beat from Badsville, Vol. 1: Trash Classics from Lux & Ivy's Vinyl Mountain is a collection assembled by rock writer Dave Henderson, who pulled 24 songs from Lux and Ivy's archives to create a thumbnail sketch of their passions and influences. For the most part, this set leans toward the eccentric rather than the raw and twisted, though that's not to say there isn't plenty of revved-up rock & roll on deck. (Though the lead-off track, "Bongo Beatin' Beatnik," finds Joe Hall & the Corvettes informing us "I just don't dig rock & roll" -- perish the thought!) "From the Top of Your Guggle (To the Bottom of Your Zooch)" by the Five Blobs is just as confounding as the title would suggest, and "Jibba Jab" by Tic & Toc and "Boo Be Ah Be" by Kimball Coburn are every bit as strange but rock noticeably harder, while on the other end of the scale, you don't have to wonder for a moment what doo woppers the Versatones are going on about in "Tight Skirt Tight Sweater" (featuring some truly bizarre bass vocal work). Lux and Ivy also had a weakness for oddball novelty items, from the playful ("Beep Beep" by the Playmates) to the hilarious ("Nightmare" by Scottie Stuart) to the mildly creepy ("The Cave, Pt. 1" by Gary "Spider" Webb), but there's a good serving of potent rock & roll and rhythm & blues in the mix, too, such as the atonal but rollicking "Unitar Rock" by Willie Joe & His Unitar and the honkin' sax workout "Mashed Potatoes" by Noble Watts. If you were a fan of the Cramps, you'll have a leg up on appreciating The Beat from Badsville, Vol. 1, but anyone who digs vintage rock & roll that's not afraid to let its freak flag fly will find plenty to love here.

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