Anybody remember the Dukes Of Stratosphear, XTC’s nom du rawk tribute to psychedelia? Against all odds, the high-concept project worked because the originals tapped the same sonic mainline as the actual ’60s tunes that inspired them. Similarly, in 1984 when the Damned mounted their garage/psych set of covers, plus two right-on originals, it felt and sounded sincere: this was no tongue-in-cheek, Rutles-on-acid trip. Vocalist “Naz Nomad” (Dave Vanian), guitarist “Sphinx Svenson” (Captain Sensible), drummer “Nick Detroit” (Rat Scabies), organ player “Ulla” (Roman Jugg) and bassist “Buddy Lee Junior” (Bryn Merrick) pulled out all the Nuggets and Pebbles stops. Highlights include “Nobody But Me” in which Vanian reclaims the Isley Brothers-by-way-of-Human Beinz’ boogaloo classic from George Thorogood, a note-perfect reprise of Paul Revere & the Raiders’ stomping “Kicks” and the utterly other-dimensional “Cold Turkey,” by obscuro weirdo Big Boy Pete (not the John Lennon tune). Also in the mix: the Litter, Electric Prunes, Seeds, Kim Fowley and others. Finally restored to print after a lengthy stint in eBay purgatory, Cindy sounds just as retro-fresh now as it did then. It’s even available on purple wax – just like the original LP – if you prefer vinyl over CD.
Fred Mills writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.