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Album Review

If the 1990s' swing revival drew heavily from older styles of jazz, it also drew from the jug bands that re-emerged during the mid-'60s. In fact, listening to Wammo and Christina Marrs exchange lines on "Monkey Rag" reminds one of the male/female combo that worked so well for the Even Dozen Jug Band. There's a particularly spooky, soulful take of Willie Dixon's "Insane Asylum" with Marrs and Guy Forsyth sharing the lead, and the duo also delivers a bouncy take on the title track. Other songs written and sung by Marrs, like "Breathin'" and "No Song Sad Enough," capture a similar feel. Asylum Street Spankers, however, also draw from the blues, folk, and neo-traditionalism, creating a multi-layered music that never sticks to one genre for long. Forsyth's "Whatever" is a particularly bizarre piece that starts out like a bad protest song, only to evolve into the tale of a man who's willing to adopt a politically correct philosophy in order to bed a love interest. Stanley Smith's "Mountain Town" and Wammo's "Wingless Angels" move closer to alternative country, with banjo, harmonica, and dobro accompaniment. While most of these forays work well, the overall impact of My Favorite Record is somewhat disjointed. Asylum Street Spankers sound less like a band than a loose association that fragments into several bands. While this fragmentation lessens the impact of My Favorite Record, fans of retro-swing will nonetheless find a number of things to like about the album. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi


Formed: 1995 in Austin, TX

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The Asylum Street Spankers, from Austin, TX, are a unique band led by vocalist/washboard player/poet Wammo and vocalist Christina Marrs. They're finding a growing cult following for their unique brand of acoustic blues and early jazz. While much of their material is blues from the 1920s and '30s, the Asylum Street Spankers also perform original songs in their live shows and on their debut album for Watermelon Records, Spanks for the Memories. The band's live shows are performed without amplifiers...
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My Favorite Record, Asylum Street Spankers
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