After spending the first half of the 1990s as one of America's hardest-working independent bands, Southern Culture on the Skids took the bait and signed with a major label in 1995, releasing its fifth album, Dirt Track Date, on Geffen/DGC that year. Dirt Track Date proved to be something of a disappointment for the group's hardcore fans; nearly half the album's songs had appeared on previous SCOTS releases ("Eight Piece Box" hit plastic for the third time on this set), and while producer Mark Williams was sympathetic to the band's approach, the slightly grittier, more homemade sound of For Lovers Only and Ditch Diggin' better suited the band's Dixie-fried guitar textures than Williams' tidier approach. But while Williams cleaned up the band's sound a bit, he didn't rob Rick Miller's hot-rodded guitar of its power to shake the house, and if the set list is familiar to old fans, it makes for an excellent "Greatest Hits" set, with the chicken-scratch R&B of "Soul City," the faux-exotica of "Galley Slave," and the slow-turning dance groove of "Camel Walk" offering rockin' proof that there was a lot more to this band than hillbilly jokes. For Lovers Only is probably Southern Culture on the Skids' best album, but Dirt Track Date may well be the best place for first-time listeners to investigate the band's enchantingly warped take on American roots rock.
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming