Stay Sick! – The Cramps

1990 – Enigma

Garage Rock/ Punk/ Psychobilly

stay sick

A whole ten years after their explosive debut full length record The Cramps have come back with yet another twisted rockabilly revival album. Kicking off with the double whammy of Bop Pills and God Damn Rock & Roll the listener can instantly hear that they band really have removed themselves from their earlier academically experimental mode of rock music in favour of a much more straightforward back beat approach, and, while this is not bad in any way, it doesn’t really capture the imagination very much either.

I mean, there’s really no point to playing rockabilly music in the nineties if you’re not going to do anything new with it, and there’s really no point being The Cramps in the nineties if you are just slowly and painfully obviously becoming a parody of what you once were. From the sleeve, to the album title, right through to almost every single track this record just tries so hard to be in your face and dangerously sleazy, but all it really succeeds in doing in becoming a little bit of a joke. Journey To The Centre Of A Girl? Daisys Up Your Butterfly? I mean, really? Could you get any more nonsense than that?

If you ignore the band’s obnoxious attempts at provocation, however, this album does have a lot of highly honed rockabilly fun on it (even if it does tend to get a bit repetitive towards the end), and the production is immaculate. But once again, if you end up in the nineties playing pretty much the same music that was being played by Stray Cats in the eighties and just plain old ignoring everything that The Meteors and King Kurt did to turn rockabilly on its quiffed head then you don’t really have much to work with anymore.

I guess it’s just sad that a band that started out so exciting and with so much promise devolved so quickly into band that almost completely lacks impact. I had such high hopes and they were all tragically dashed. But, perhaps this is being too harsh. I mean I’d give Stay Sick! a nine out of ten for danceability, because every cut on the record really is incredibly rocking, but if you’re looking for anything more interesting than a whole load of fun beats and hopping twelve-bar blues riffs than this probably isn’t the album for you, and if that is what you are looking for then I’d probably have to recommend some other albums that do it better.

All in all, however, I’d have to conclude that Stay Sick! is a tight but average record. There’s a lot of fun to be had with it if you’re in the right mood, but if that mood hasn’t taken you then it all gets pretty silly.

RATING: ***/5


There have been a couple of CD reissues of Stay Sick! which feature some bonus tracks tacked on at the end of the album. Really, I wouldn’t recommend going the extra mile for these tracks unless you’re a hardcore Cramps collector. They pretty much run in the same vein as the rest of this record and don’t really add a great deal apart from making the whole experience slightly longer.

And here is the clip for Bikini Girls With Machine Guns, one of the more interesting tracks from Stay Sick!


4 thoughts on “Stay Sick! – The Cramps

  1. Pingback: Stop Nine On The Rockabilly Roadtrip | Lachlan J. Faces The Music

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  4. Pingback: Big Beat from Badsville – The Cramps | Lachlan J. Faces The Music

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