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Baker's Dozen

By Design: Jim Jones Of The Righteous Mind's Favourite Albums
Julian Marszalek , September 15th, 2015 13:23

Before they headline Walthamstow's Stow Festival this weekend, The Righteous Mind's leader gives Julian Marszalek an insight into "where my head is at right now" with a tour through his current top 13 albums

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The Cramps - Psychedelic Jungle
I've done quite a few acid trips listening to this record and it's perfect. It seems like they made it for us - me and my little teenage friends - and it's like they've done it for this purpose: for us to have a really good trip.

The sound about it is incredible. They've got that snare drum that sounds like someone dropping a leather cricket ball into a metal bucket. But the other thing is that most of the songs are covers which is even more mind-boggling. You hear the originals, and the originals are great, but The Cramps brought them all together with a thread that goes through the whole thing.

Like all the albums that I've chosen here, it's not just for the music or the production but the person who's singing is a fucking brilliant singer. People don't really mention what a great vocalist Lux Interior was; they just go, "Oh, he's mad. He's a real wild child." He's an incredible singer and you can hear that with his control and his emotion, and whether it was off-the-cuff or by design, I'm not really 100% sure, but I would think the latter. He knew what he wanted to achieve and he did a really good job of it.

Every word that comes of out of Lux's mouth, even though it's rock & roll, is so perfectly nuanced. Maybe I feel like that because I've been hearing these songs since I was kid and they got absorbed during a very formative time along with a load of mind-altering substances but it seems like they're all very well judged. This isn't some blah-blah punk rock delivery. On some of the songs his voice goes down to a whisper and when he needs to he really does shout. There really are some parallels with James Brown there. You listen to some of his songs and it's almost like with every other word he changes the tone of his voice.

And Poison Ivy gets overlooked as a guitarist. There's a perception that they're a bit inept or dumbed down, but again, it's by design. They're one of the tightest bands that I ever saw. They weren't sloppy by any stretch of the imagination. What you heard on record was exactly what you'd hear on stage. They played those notes because they wanted them to be there; it wasn't like they were just thrashing away. The Cramps were a very finely tuned machine: this was their craft and their art and this is what they did and they were the best at it because they worked so damn hard. The Cramps weren't rock & roll tourists; they were pioneers.


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