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on 29 June 2009
After exciting audiences and critics alike after the release of their debut LP in 1980, The Cramps had a couple of changes to make in time for their second release in 1981. Firstly the band lost guitarist Bryan Gregory, and secondly the band left the East Coast and joined the California set in Los Angeles. In December 1980, the band recruited the services of guitarist Kid "Congo" Powers, or Brian Tristan as he was known to his parents, just in time for the recording of their second LP to take place in January 1981 at AGM Studios, California.

Released in May 1981, Psychedelic Jungle by The Cramps released on Illegal/IRS was The Cramps second studio release and for the first time was produced by the band themselves with quite surprising results. As a piece of work it is a lot more controlled than Gravest Hits and Songs The Lord Taught Us, overall creating a more rounded and sinister feel than heard previously. There is still no bass to be found, the album remains a mix of covers and originals, the vocals remain glorious and the fledgling dual guitar partnership of Ivy and Powers does not show any signs of faltering in its infancy, but there is most definitely an air of maturity creeping ever so slightly into The Cramps style here.

The album begins with a cover of a little garage gem known in collector circles; the original version of Greenfuz is a crackly primitive sounding marvel recorded in the middle of the night in a roadside café in Texas back in 67 by Randy Alvey. Chosen on Psychedelic Jungle as the opener, its use is quite the statement by The Cramps, there is not much difference between the two versions other than the fact it is properly recorded, once again it demonstrates one of my favourite things about The Cramps, their obvious love and passion for resurrecting those lost treasures from America's recent history and encouraging the listener to find out more.

The next song on this album is just fabulous, like Human Fly on Gravest Hits and Rock on The Moon on Songs The Lord Taught Us; Goo Goo Muck on Psychedelic Jungle is a song where all the elements of The Cramps come together to create something quite glorious, hats off to all involved seriously. Although this song is a cover, the whole vibe of the song is truly Cramps, especially Lux Interior's noise rampage at the end of the song. The Rockabilly vibe certainly continues with Rockin' Bones and Voodoo Idol, and you can hear where the term "Psychobilly" comes from when describing the sound of The Cramps especially with this album.

But that Psychobilly sound on this second studio album is a lot more dark and sinister than on any Cramps release earlier, no more so than on Don't Eat Stuff Off The Sidewalk and Can't Find My Mind, track numbers 8 and 9 respectively, and on Track 12, Under The Wire. For me though the highlight of the whole album comes at the end with The Cramps version of Green Door, which is the first time The Cramps sound almost sweet, well almost.

With this second studio album, The Cramps took control of the sound and produced something a lot more controlled and mature, maybe this album could have been a lot more loose and chaotic, but I think ultimately that would have resulted in the album losing its sinister appeal, an appeal which is clearly something quite special with Psychedelic Jungle.
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The album which opened the door to other perceptions about the Cramps. Whilst Strychnine pounded away to Sonic stimulant rock, psychedelic jungle was a sound trip into the Cramps minds. Whilst most mulit hued journeys remain a blur for many after the event, the Cramps articulated their holiday from reality, beginning to end. Concept album? Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds this ain't, like most hallucinogenic experiences fragments rise and subside with no seeming coherence at the time, but making a sense in retrospect. That's what happens when you let the broom cupboard doors open, out it all tumbles.

Green Door is the key to the album located at the end, Whilst Shaky warbled his kitsch, Lux paid homage to Huxley. In between Green Fuzz and Green Door the mind and the fingers go a walking. Don't Eat Stuff of the Sidewalk is not the plea to the homeless but a tap on the shoulder to think again before buying that hot dog and onions. Can't find my mind is self explanatory for the initiated, Under the Wires is that jump into the lysergic currents. Goo goo muck is where the world melts into a twister. You can go up and down with the woman of your dreams as you morph into Mr.Hyde

Rockin Bones brings the 50's Blond Bomber out to play as he let's you know the score, the rhythm is in his bones voodoo child. The Crusher, another resurrection, brings the new craze of the Turkey Neck Stretch to the teenage dance floor; squeeze until you are blue in the face, a pounding jackhammer beat with the crazed mutterings of Lux, a plea bargain for asphyxiated love. Lux moved from necro fantasies to emobodying lust with his ode to Elvis.

The trip to magic lands where the Natives are restless and the jungle hop harks back to exotika, the wistful longing to b somewhere else before the arrival of cheap flights smoothed away the day dreams. In the cartoon worlds of Avery, Lux resides as a potentate before it all begins to fade resulting in the final exit through the Green Door.

What lies behind the Green Door depends whether you wish to enter or leave.
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on 29 November 2003
Terrific, atmospheric Cramps. I am not going to come out with a long Cramps-loving monologue (although I can be persuaded) but in brief, if you are already a Cramps fan then you already have this CD or LP, if you are not a fan and want to be - then start with Off The Bone to get a quick grip on the mood... if you fall in love then add this to your collection and start to see more attitude come out in your view of the world....
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on 28 March 2001
Slow grinding garage punk fuzz, pounding frieght train drums,a walk into a lush jungle of strange, haunting Rock'n Roll. Hot rockin' sounds with a smoldering flamejobbed twist of their own special juice. Essential.
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on 23 September 2015
Love this record. If you like the cramps you'll like this one. Bit more psychedelic like the name says but still that great dark rock n rolly fuzzy feel
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on 20 January 2015
Got this on vinyl from my punk days, so glad got it here on Amazon as now it is in my car. Stomping good tunes!!
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on 10 October 2013
What a great noise this band made. Like no other artists. Listen and go crazy. Dance like no one can seeyou.
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on 18 March 2015
BUY IT OR DIE NORMAL, AVERAGE, LACKING. . .
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on 9 March 2010
I have loved the cramps since the late 70's. their sound has not dated much it still as raw as ever and gets the head nodding. A laid back, grungie rock-a-billy as only the cramps could do it. This L.P is a little better produced then before but I don't know which I prefer this or the more garage recorded "songs the lord taught us" either way once you love one you will want the other. Buy it, play it the car and try hard not to tap your foot on the accelerator pedal when stuck at the traffic lights.
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on 10 September 2014
good
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