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Southern Culture on the Skids


My preschooler’s homework assignment for today was to “bring a favorite music CD to share.” When I dropped him off this morning, we found 24 children, aged 2 to 4, and their teachers all pogo’ing to some little one’s fave music: The B52’s “Private Idaho.” This is just a roundabout way of getting to the reason I think Southern Culture on the Skids are so great: Some music is so dated, it’s timeless. SCOTS formed in the early ’80s in their hometown of Chapel Hill, N.C., and they’ve been making loosely roots-based music on the fringe ever since—influences include rockabilly, surf and old-school country. Their latest is a collection of 15 covers all treated with tongue firmly in cheek, and with great affection. Their version of Joe South’s “Rose Garden,” for example, features Dick Dale–style guitar work. The distorted rockabilly guitar on Roger Miller’s “Engine #9” contrasts with Owen Bradley–-type piano stylings and rolling rhythms, a la the Tennessee Two. On the CD only, there’s also a rollicking bluegrass rendition of The Who’s “Happy Jack.” Listen to SCOTS and have some bent, unpretentious indie fun.

LISTEN: Must Play
Oh Lonesome Me.mp3

Producer: Rick Miller. Engineers: Rick Miller, Mark Williams and Mary Huff. Studio: Kudzu Ranch (Mebane, N.C.). Mastering: Dave Harris/Studio B (Charlotte, N.C.).