Southern Culture on the Skids
First Appeared in The Music Box, February 2007, Volume 14, #2
Written by John Metzger
There’s something to be said for consistency. For more than two decades, Southern Culture on the Skids has remained true to its vision, refusing to contribute to the act of reshaping modern day pop culture. Instead, the trio from North Carolina has found its groove simply by settling into the sounds of the past. Not surprisingly, its latest effort Countrypolitan Favorites achieves the same goal, though it also follows a slightly different route. Over the course of the set, Southern Culture on the Skids downplays its usual blend of surf-tinged country and rockabilly fare; instead, it unearths and embraces its inner garage rock child.
Tackling 15 vintage cover songs that range from Don Gibson’s Oh, Lonesome Me to Joe South’s Rose Garden to T-Rex’s Life’s a Gas, Southern Culture on the Skids transforms what could have been a perfunctory tribute outing into a fun-filled jaunt that occasionally assumes a life of its own. The Kinks’ Muswell Hillbilly, for example, is delivered in a playfully boozy fashion that manages to reach across the span of time separating The Byrds from Wilco. Likewise, Slim Harpo’s Te Ni Nee Ni Nu brings together the Rolling Stones and the San Francisco ballroom acts of the 1960s for a simmering slice of R&B, while The Golliwogs’ Fight Fire simply is snarling and raucous. Elsewhere, The Who’s Happy Jack inventively is adorned with a banjo and an accordion; The Byrds’ Have You Seen Her Face is whipped into a feverish frenzy; and J.D. Loudermilk’s Tobacco Road is recast as a swampy, CCR-style rocker. Listening to the entirety of Southern Culture on the Skids’ canon is apt to leave one with the impression that the ensemble makes albums primarily to provide fodder for its concerts. Countrypolitan Favorites, however, makes a strong case for why the group is considered to be such an excellent host. ½
Of Further Interest...
Countrypolitan Favorites is available from
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2007 The Music Box