The Cramps – Fever. A gentle little cover from the Cramps tonight. Gentle, but infectious. I light up when I hear it calling.
Though I like it when The Cramps go crazy with something like The Crusher or Goo Goo Muck, there’s something delightfully decadent about this soft-voiced cover of the Peggy Lee classic. The steady guitar riff and clipped drum beat throughout the song gives it an insistent intensity while the lead guitar is the loose cannon on board – off making random noises in the background, only vaguely and occasionally connecting with the other instruments – until it whites out in feedback at the end. And then there’s an occasional organ flourish from Alex Chilton.
Lux Interior’s voice may be soft, but it lingers in the ear, with sudden loud “FeVER!”s accompanied by a thump on the drums and then giving the song a bit of Elvis sneer in the second half, slowly building to a climax before petering out. It’s those “FeVER!”s that makes the song for me – the metronomic rhythm pattering along monotonously lulls the listener into semi -consciousness, but Lux startles that away – quiet, quiet, bang!
Mind you the more I listen to it, the more I like the drum fills and the lead guitar interludes,sometimes chiming, sometimes screeching, sometimes feedbacking.
Rockabilly – a very stylish music, exuding cool. I never saw The Cramps live, but I can imagine their fans artfully clothed and made up, lots of leather, greased hair or punked and spiked, slamming on the dancefloor. I was 17 when I got a copy of Off The Bone and Smell of Female on cassette – great theatrical overwrought performances – went very well in my mind with the Rocky Horror Picture Show, sitting on the louche side of goth. A timid teenager, I’d have loved to join what I’d imagine were the wild antics in the Cramps scene, though I might have found them overwhelming.
These days, the chance of throwing myself around to great music are rare, although I do like to throw my weary limbs around in a bit of dad dancing with my young kids. They are not yet at an age to find this embarrassing, so I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts. Maybe with a bit of Cramps – this is probably one I could get away with, though other songs of theirs might be more lively, there’s heat in this one.
What a lovely way to burn.