Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Album Review: Dig This by Southern Culture On The Skids

Southern Culture on the Skids defies easy classification. More rural than Country, more raucous than Rock, Southern Culture on the Skids (SCoTS for all you texters and tweeters) are quite simply one of a kind. Imagine Roger Miller singing lead for the B52s at a Surf Rock Festival and you might come close to describing the band. But why describe them, when you can just pick up a copy of Dig This and check out the real thing?

The album starts off with the band's trademark love of food and double entendres on full display in "Too Much Pork" ("I've got too much pork for just one fork, too much ham for just one jam...) Lead singer/guitarist, Rick Miller, lays down some great psycho-billy riffs, while rhythm section Mary Huff (bass) and Dave Hartman (drums) keep the song chooglin' along. Like most SCoTS songs, this one has lyrics that will put a smile on your face and music that will put a tap in your toe.

The next two numbers, "The Little Things" and "Ditch Diggin'" show off the band's "swampy" bluesy sound. "The Little Things" tells the sad tale of a jilted lover who drove away his love, not with boozing and running around, but with his fondness for raw onions and smoked oysters. "Ditch Diggin'" is an open invitation to get out your tool and work up a sweat (I warned you they like double entrendres!) Both songs simmer and cook with a deep Louisiana bayou flavor.

"My House Has Wheels" and "Chicken S**t Farmer" celebrate the side of Southern Culture that most folks in Nashville work so hard to avoid. Singing loud and proud, they boast, "My house has wheels, it rolls with me, from the lakes down to the sea.. It's got a fridge, it's got a stove. It cooks my eggs, keeps my beer cold (wherever I go my beer is cold.") Both songs as well as the "side two" cuts, "Put Your Teeth Up On The Windowsill" and "The Fly That Rode From Buffalo" showcase the band's ability to find the humor in simple living without mocking or condescending.

True to their name, Southern Culture On The Skids celebrates the side of the American South that doesn't make it to the pages of Southern Living magazine. And that's part of their charm. After all, who would you rather party with, Martha Stuart or a guy that makes his own moonshine and roasts a pig in his back yard? So if you're looking for some authentic deep fried, southern flavor, you'll definitely "Dig This!"

(For the record, Dig This is actually a 20th anniversary remake of their classic Ditch Diggin' (1993) album. Not just remastered, but re-recorded from scratch and updated to reflect the band's musical growth over years of touring and recording.)

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