Southern Culture on the Skids,
Doublewide & Live
(Yep Roc, 2006)

I confess that in my later adult life, not a whole lot of rock and pop passes through my sound system. When I hear a name like Southern Culture on the Skids, though, I start to laugh, and I am immediately predisposed to judge with favor whatever comes next. Fortunately, with SCOTS (its official acronym), what comes next is so instantly, deliriously likable that you can only congratulate yourself on your splendid instincts. An ear, a pulse and a heartbeat are pretty much all you need -- that, and hips to shake and feet to dance -- and the party's on.

I haven't heard the band's previous albums, and I'm sure they're good ones, but Doublewide & Live -- recorded over three nights in a club in SCOTS' native North Carolina -- sounds so perfect that one can't imagine how anything could be improved in a studio setting. Bands like this were born to play live in sweaty beer joints with crowded dance floors, with alarming numbers of tattoos in evidence all around.

SCOTS is a trio consisting of Rick Miller (guitar), Mary Huff (bass) and Dave Hartman (drums). The three share vocal duties, which consist of trying to be heard above full-tilt electricity and percussion, to deliver lyrics attesting to the pleasures of getting liquored up, leering at sexy barroom girls with big hair, screwing in cheap motels, eating greasy food in greasy spoons and driving fast, trashy cars -- in one order or another, or maybe as close to all at once as is physiologically possible. Southern culture on the skids, indeed. All the way down, be assured, it's good, dirty fun and very, very funny.

The music picks up on everything I ever loved about the rock 'n' roll I grew up with -- strains or whole crescendos of rockin' billy, sultry swamp, crashin' surf, plus blues chords and country touches. It's gloriously IQ-destructive, and so much fun is to be had that before we know it, we'll be boogieing in the streets oblivious to the collapse of all civilization around us. What a way to go.

by Jerome Clark
5 August 2006

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