Monday, 22 August 2011

Mel Smith & The Nite Riders - Pretty Plaid Skirt (& Long Black Socks) b/w I'll Never Change (Sue Records - circa 1958?)

                                              (Pic Above - Doc Starkes with the Nite-Riders)

I picked up this 45 a few years ago, after being briefly in a band who used to cover it, I don't think we ever played it outside of the rehearsal room, however the song holds a few cool memories for me. Whilst I played the frantic guitar part it always used to blow my mind at how cool the track I was playing was and that inspired me to go out and track the 45 down, because it is quite possibly the most frantic and wildly erratic R&B 45 to ever exist.

Mel Smith joined forces with The Nite-Riders led by Doc Starkes and to my opinion created one of the most jaw-dropping Rhythm and Blues records to ever be released.

The highlight track in question is the earth shattering Flip Side, 'Pretty Plaid Skirt (And Long Black Socks) what a hip title for a song hey?, the music is primitive and absolutely wild, it sounds like a Bo-Diddley beat taken to  it's fullest amphetamine high and stuck in fifth gear; possessed by the devil himself - Mel Smith gives a ferocious vocal workout on the song and hits the mark with a paint-peeling scream after each verse for the song then to only re-begin rolling like a freight train in the direction of the Sun.

When I used to DJ on the very rare occasions until I got sick of it and the pretence which that idealism holds, I used to play this record and it used to really confuse people, it has a beat that people could dance to but it also isn't quite right, meaning that people on the dance-floor looked like they had just received lobotomies from the local nut house.

The plug side to this records is a simple boozy bar blues type number called 'I'll Never Change', it is a cool mid-tempo guitar and piano driven song, about a deep yearning for some floozy dame who obviously caused young Mel Smith some mighty fine distress (as most women do), he confirms to the listener and himself a multitude of times that "He'll Never Change" and he sure as hell means it, especially when the sloppy guitar work and crazy piano playing duel against one another to be the more 'prominent' instrument on the record and ending up sounding like a crazy plague infected ship sinking in the sea, however like all great records it's not perfect and that is what is cool about it.

Due to its imperfections this 45 is a double-sided killer and I would suggest that you find an buy yourself a copy.

Originals of this 45 have been known to go for $300 and more.... I must of been super lucky cos I got an original one myself for around the $30 mark... I think that is the lowest you'd ever be able to find it??

A bunch of Bootleggers in London have made reissues of this 45 (alongside a bunch of other rare and hard to find 45s) which are available to buy for under a tenner. I personally don't condone anyone purchasing anything from these pirates... cos these clowns are the one's making the money! and for what? ruining a record's integrity as a collectable and sought after item?

Enjoy the sound clip of 'Pretty Plaid Skirt' below...

Take Good Care


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