Southern Culture On the Skids
Yep Roc Records YEP2124
Reaching its zenith in the late 1960s and early 1970s, countrypolitan was the smoothed-over, more pop leaning mainstream country successor to the Nashville Sound. Whereas RCA record exec Steve Sholes gets credit for founding the Nashville Sound in the 1950s, it was heavyweight Music City producers like Chet Atkins and Owen Bradley who took Sholes’ creation and turned it into mega-selling success. From Ween to the Supersuckers to all the way back to The Byrds, rock bands getting their country jones’ off has been fairly common in popular music. It was megastar traditionalist Alan Jackson who put such maneuvers to song with his smash “Gone Country”. Long time purveyors of the white trash lifestyle in song and shtick, “going country” for a band like Southern Culture on the Skids, or SCOTS as diehards call ’em, doesn’t seem like all that much of a stretch. Frankly speaking, given the big doses of twang and chicken pickin’ that have worked their way in and out of albums over the last dozen years or so, the thinking here is that a country record from SCOTS has been long overdue. The trio puts all that waiting to rest on the newly hatched Countrypolitan Favorites. Channeling everything from country stalwarts like Don Gibson (“Oh Lonesome Me”), Wanda Jackson (“Funnel of Love”), Roger Miller (“Engine Engine #9”), Lynn Anderson (“(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden”), bluegrass greats Reno & Smiley (“No Longer a Sweetheart of Mine”) and Claude Gray (“Wolverton Mountain”) to hillbilly obscurities like Onie Wheeler (“Let’s Invite Them Over”) to not-so-country giants like T.Rex (“Life’s a Gas”), pre-Sweetheart Byrds (“Have You Seen Her Face”), Kinks (“Muswell Hillbilly”) and Who (“Happy Jack”), SCOTS offers its own unique, and very countrypolitan spin on the 15 tracks comprising this covers-only release. Much like past releases, Countrypolitan Favorites is nothing but a grits and gravy rock-steady good time from the tight-as-a-tourniquette trio of guitar slinger Rick Miller, bassist Mary Huff, and drummer Dave Hartman. Put simply, SCOTS score a winner with Countrypolitan Favorites and sound like their having the time of their life in the process. (Yep Roc Records, PO Box 4821, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-4821, or www.yeproc.com.)
Southern Culture On the Skids play at the Middle East in Cambridge, MA on May 15.
(Dan Ferguson is a free-lance music writer and host of The Boudin Barndance, broadcast Thursday nights from 6 – 9 pm on WRIU-FM 90.3. He lives in Peace Dale and can be reached at [email protected].)<...