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Songs The Lord Taught Us

4.7 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 8, 1989
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Media Type: CD
Artist: CRAMPS
Title: SONGS THE LORD TAUGHT US
Street Release Date: 08/15/1989
Domestic
Genre: ROCK/POP

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The Cramps got away with their Z-movie, zombie-rock schtick because they were so intense in their conviction that it had more value than middlebrow humanist pop. Descending on Memphis to cut their debut album with Big Star legend Alex Chilton, the band served up a thirteen-song punkabilly testament to drive-in anti-culture, replete with garage-band guitars and booming voodoo drums. Versions of "Fever" "Strychnine," and the Johnny Burnette Trio's "Tear It Up" competed with Lux Interior-Poison Ivy originals like "T.V. Set" and "I Was a Teenage Werewolf." Songs the Lord Taught Us was also the first and last Cramps album to feature scary-looking guitarist Bryan Gregory. --Barney Hoskyns
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 8, 1989)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: INgrooves Fontana/A&M
  • ASIN: B000001I09
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,603 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
...and I heard the song "Sunglasses After Dark" being played from behind the door. Before that I had never heard The Cramps, yet I ran in and bought the CD right out of the stereo for $4. This rocks from start to finish, and is the best straight-through listen album I own.
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Format: Audio CD
I suppose it's old news about Lux Interior dying 50-years-and-a-day after Buddy Holly, but I'd be mistaken to not put in a word about what the guy's influence meant to me.
The Cramps are, without a doubt, one of the big influences on my life, a fact that becomes clearer as I get older. I'm not just talking about music, though about 90 percent of my records are due to their bad guidance. Their ability to take the best elements of early Rock 'n' Roll and make it completely their own freed me and a lot of others from what C.S. Lewis once called "chronological snobbery": the mindset that "new" is better, and that contemporary culture trumps all other considerations. That point really began to be made when I started hearing the originals of the songs The Cramps covered: that bloodcurdling scream The Phantom lets out at the beginning of "Love Me"? Sorry, college boy, but REM ain't gonna cut it after that.
It was Lux and Ivy that showed that the truly great stuff stands outside human constructs like "eras" and "decades", that you don't have to have your tastes dictated by whatever year you were born or graduated high school. That's why their influence spreads far beyond just music, and it also explains why rock critics, whose rock-music-as-art-form partyline The Cramps made so much confetti of, never understood them.
Well, I got it. So did plenty of others with no use for the ossified iconography of garbage like The Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. We all are in his debt, even if we live another 100 years.
Here's to you, Lux. When you're ready to get that stake out of your heart and go on another rampage, gimmie a buzz.
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Format: Audio CD
We are all indebted to this band still. One of the single greatest testaments of punk, rockabilly, horror rock, and rock 'n' roll ever recorded. Greasy, primal, sleazy, primative, raw - just a few adjectives well suited at describing this album. And unlike many albums, the cover songs are just as good as the originals. I can honestly not see how anybody could hate this album, unless of course if you are an art snob who thinks "The Wall" is the greatest album ever. Hard rocking and catchy as hell.
2 Comments 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
...I'm gonna tell ya 'bout _cool_/in one easy lesson! GO!" Yep...had to quote that, the beginning of this album's "Sunglasses After Dark", as that song really sums up the mad, crazed, dark-as-a-Memphis-alley-at-midnite badness of this amazing slab of rockabilly psychosis. There is nothing like the sound that is the Cramps, and for me, this album distills that cross of swampwater, moonshine, and nitro down to a dangerous and unstable musical substance, captured live like a crazed animal in these tracks cut at the legendary Sun Studio. Echo machines go mad, drums thud like someone pounding the furniture into matchsticks, and guitars slice through the speakers like some meat-saw-wielding mad butcher as Lux Interior howls, wails, spits like fury, and...yeah, tells you 'bout _cool_. Truly the sound of the South going horrifically wrong with total J.D. madness, rockabilly is supposed to be 'bad music'...but this is the baddest of the badness! It'll make you put a voodoo 8-ball gearshifter in your _life_! BUY!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Cramps are very polarizing. Most people hate the very concept of them and loathe their existence. But if the idea of rockin' monsters, a big rockabilly beat, and the rantings of a wildman sound like something you'd be interested in, then this record is the place to start. Songs the Lord Taught Us was the debut album by the Cramps, following their EP Gravest Hits released the previous year in 1979. In this first full length, the Cramps unleashed a sickness that the country wasn't ready for - and, frankly, still isn't. The album sounded fantastic, despite the weird lyrics (full of werewolves, psycho killers, and other assorted unsavory members of society) and the extreme guitar work. Imagine Sonic Youth, perhaps, in a rockabilly context; that begins to scrape the top layer of the solos of Bryan Gregory. Alterniatively, it has been described as a five car pileup i on the Jersey Turnpike. That vision gives a sense of the evident dementia at work in this lovely record.

Recommended for anyone who loves the idea that Elvis Presley might have been replaced by Frankenstien's monster, and what that might have been like.
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Format: Audio CD
So now I just sound like an old crank, but I have to say it -- They just don't make 'em like this any more.
This band is seminal to a certain sensibility that seems sadly lacking in much of today's music. These folks were about having fun, but more than that there was a will to revel in junk culture and general freakishness that today just doesn't seem to exist.
Lux Interior screams and howls like a cross between Elvis Presley and Vincent Price, Ivy Rorschach plays guitar cheaply but serviceably, in keeping with rockablilly - cum - garage / psychedelic spirit, Bryan Gregory was a fuzz & feedback monster and Nick Knox found the primitive beat Mo Tucker left behind when she escaped from New York. There was a lot of griping about this band in their pre-halcyon days; people said they couldn't play even at a punk rock level of proficiency, but Songs The Lord Taught Us shows quite well that they not only had their instruments well in hand, but were actually quite innovative. There were literally thousands of bands through the next decade (the eighties, baby) who owed this band their very lives.
This record contains many skewed classics. For instance, there's T. V. Set, which is truly sick and repulsive, Garbage Man, which is the Cramps Manifesto no doubt, What's Behind the Mask? which shows the band's knack for twisted novelty, I Was A Teeenage Werewolf, which really, really draws out Lux Interior's sympathies, and a whole mess of others equally as disturbed and amusing.
If you're looking for truth & beauty, you'll find neither here. If you hope to find a really great party record for your next Hallowe'en bash, you won't find anything better, I guarantee it. Or, if you just plain like throbbing, primitive roots rock, this here is your oyster. But then you already knew that.
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