Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Night Riders with Mel Smith "Pretty Plaid Skirt (And Long Black Sox)" (Sue, 1959) - NYNT Daily Party Platter

This is the continuing series I will post every other day while i'm out of town, thanks to Jonathan Toubin DJ of New York Night Train

Today we have another all-time classic by Mel Smith and the fabulous Night Riders - who you may remember from “Chicken Backs” a few months ago. In the early 1950s Atlanta’s Melvin Smith had a huge teenage r&b hit with ”Looped" and by 1954 wound up in Philadelphia fronting bassist James "Doc" Starkes hard rockin' Nite Riders. This overlooked territory band stuck together for nearly a decade - settlng in Hartford and made a living tearing up the east coast.

“Pretty Plaid Skirt (And Long Black Socks)” is one of those rare tracks with a killer name and even better music. I don’t exaggerate when I say this is a perfect platter and one of the most exciting rock’n’roll recordings ever made! Check out the way the band swallows up the wild Bo Diddley guitar and tightens the frantic energy into a symphony of rhythm and heart-stopping dynamics! And that unreal musicianship! And after the verses check out the guitarist machine gunning into "Black Angel's Death Song" slashes before sliding the octave chords way up the neck way beyond where they typically go! Up and down and way out! He was executing a 1980s/1990s post-hardcore punk guitar cliché decades before its time! We used to call that "the Fugazi chord" when i was a kid! And the rhythm section's kinetic syncopation holding the machine together in this high speed chase! And Melvin Smith's throaty growl! And recorded so clear and raw and present at the same time! And mastered loud! Lay down the needle and get ready to jump back because it’s gonna pop out and grab ya! You’re not gonna hear anything quite like this anywhere out there. As with “Chicken Backs,” if you don’t wanna go through the trouble to find one of these killer-sounding original 45s, somebody made a recent reproduction that can be found in a number of internet stores…

Here’s more about Melvin Smith, Doc Starkes, and the amazing Nite Riders…

graphics by AVI SPIVAK (!

You're listening to my daily addition to the New York Night Train Party Platter playlist. Each track here is recorded directly from my original 45s (no bootlegs, reproductions, etc) to give you an idea of what the real deal authentic vinyl sounds like. COME BACK EVERY DAY FOR A NEW FIX! Because the records pass so quickly at my dance parties, this channel is an attempt to stop and focus on one record at a time in hopes to personally learn more about each one and at the same time turn you on to the artists, tracks, labels, etc. I'm just hipping myself to a lot of these records for the first time as well - so you can view this as our journey to learning more about cool old records together! But mostly I hope this music moves you as much as it moves me.

Get your enjoys,
Jonathan Toubin
Soul Proprietor, New York Night Train

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