On April 7th, Ramseur Records will release Melancholy Angel, the new album from North Carolina’s David Childers and the Serpents. Along with the announcement, the label has also dropped the first single, a cover of Prince’s 1987 Top Ten hit “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man”.
“I would watch videos back in the ’80s and I’d hear Prince on the radio,” says Childers during an afternoon catch-up from his home in Mt. Holly. “I wasn’t much drawn to his music, but I realized that his songs were really cool. They went beyond pop music. I heard The Derailers do “Raspberry Beret”– I heard that probably in 1998– and it opened my mind like, “Wow!”
The Serpents’ version eschews the era’s heavy synth for a single alto sax and growling undercurrent of electric guitar that transforms the Purple One’s pop declaration into an alt-ish country ballad driven by Childers’ earnestness and J-45.
“Korey Dudley plays bass with me, he likes Prince a lot too,” says Childers. “Ridin’ from somewhere to somewhere one night, we had discussed doin’ some of Prince’s songs. That was one I knew– and I’d like to do some more!”
Melancholy Angel follows 2020’s introspective and poetry-laced Interstate Lullabye, and while David himself is an accomplished painter, the album’s cover comes courtesy of his son and longtime drummer Robert Childers.
“I trust his judgment,” Childers says of Robert. “I wasted time goin’ to college and bein’ a lawyer for 35 years, and he just went straight from high school into rock n’ roll. He has a very developed sense of how music oughta work– though he’s got kind of a nasty attitude from time to time,” David laughs. “That’s ’cause he cares about it and he’s willin’ to fight for it!”