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Band treats fans to Southern ruckus


© St. Petersburg Times, published March 11, 2001

ST. PETERSBURG -- Though the band may sing White Trash (Don't Call Me That), Southern Culture On The Skids at the State Theater on Friday celebrated all things redneck. Nearly 540 fans of the rockabilly quartet from Chapel Hill, N.C., packed the venue.

SCOTS -- as the act is known to enthusiasts -- raised a ruckus with songs about trailer parks, cheap women, crazy families and strong moonshine.

Singer/guitarist Rick Miller showed fans a thing or two about redneck chic. Miller wore his striped bowling shirt over a grandaddy-style tank top, red pants, and blue suede shoes.

SCOTS treated fans to ditties such as Greenback Fly, King Of the Mountain and Daddy Was A Preacher But Mama Was a Go-Go Girl. Miller dashed off tasty guitar licks that echoed those of rock 'n' roll's glory days. SCOTS' music is rich in Americana; the band sounds as if any second it may venture into loud, fast Eddie Cochran terrain, or Wipe Out.

Bassist Mary Huff sported a sky high bouffant hairdo. Huff may look like she's kin to the waitress Flo on television's Alice, but she isn't some novelty babe. Huff plays with fiery pluck and sings like a hellbent Loretta Lynn -- even if she does chomp wildly on gum the whole time.

Banana Puddin', an ode to every Southerner's favorite dessert, was a real hootenanny with zippy harmonica, tambourine and audience singalong. As Miller sang that song, he began to lasciviously swivel his hips. It was then that Miller most resembled a grotesque character in a Flannery O'Connor story.

The band invited "Eduardo" the trumpet player onstage for the Tex-Mex-inspired title track to its recent album, Liquored Up And Lacquered Down, an ode to the woman with "the biggest hair in town." Eduardo, in his poncho and sombrero, gave the song delicious mariachi zest -- if not a fair amount of cultural insensitivity.

But that's what Southern Culture On The Skids is all about: a good time, raucous music, and to heck with right and wrong, folks, this here's rock 'n' roll.

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