Halloween, being my all-time favorite holiday, solely means two things; Evil Dead movie night, and listening to Psychedelic Jungle by The Cramps for the entire month of October. This rockabilly gem with a ghoulish twist is not only innovative, but it also created the subgenre “Psychobilly.” If Elvis Presley was a zombie, paired with a skeleton playing bass, maybe even a howlin’ werewolf drummer and ghosts in the background, I’d imagine that they would be similar to The Cramps.
In 1981 The Cramps led by husband and wife duo Lux Interior and Poison Ivy Rorschach released their masterpiece Psychedelic Jungle. Their second, and later to be considered their greatest album starts off with a real killer Green Fuzz. This song is a rockabilly declaration that the band is green, slimy and coming your way. With thick bass lines and a sprinkling of 12 bar blues, Goo Goo Muck also incorporates Zappa-esque howls and caws to concoct a horrific mixture with ghostly overtones. The song Voodoo Idol uses a raw and edgy sound as Lux’s spine-chilling vocals compliment the overall macabre theme. One of the more catchy songs on the album, The Crusher is a morbid dance song where Lux encourages everyone to do such dances as “The Eye Gouge” and “The Hammerlock.” Lux shows his twisted sense of humor through one of the albums better tracks, Don’t Eat Stuff Off the Sidewalk. Through voodoo-like drum rhythms and eerie guitar riffs, Lux croons, “You don’t need it/ So don’t eat it/ No, don’t eat stuff off the sidewalk.”
Overall, I can’t help but smile at this entire album and think that it is pure genius. With Poison Ivy’s rhythm guitar and Lux Interior’s nonsense lyrics Psychedelic Jungle is sort of a satirical ode to old school horror b-movies. With their characteristic groove, classic sound, innovative psychobilly rock, and perfect delivery, The Cramps are undeniably a must-have addition to any Halloween playlist.