The Asylum Street Spankers
Present a Christmas Spanking
Geez, this is cute. The Spankers have been known for years for creating nifty swingish music, and it was only a matter of time before they released a Christmas record. Not that we need another collection of holiday chestnuts, but its here anyway. Of course, hearing The Spankers warble “Baby It’s Cold Outside” beats hearing Kenny Rogers or someone like that plod through it.
But the problem with this entire “wooden swing” genre (The Spankers, Hot Club of Cowtown, et al) is that most of them — Andrew Bird and The Squirrel Nut Zippers being the notable exceptions — think that they should get graded for just showing up, and not on the music they create. Take “Blue Christmas” off this CD. A more over-recorded Christmas song can hardly be imagined. So having a version played on a uke and sung inexpertly by Christina Marrs doesn’t really add anything to the season, does it? This entire record feels smug. To put another way, imagine if NPR created a band. It would sound like this. You know, one of those things that all the intelligent, hip people like. Probably quite fun if you’re drinking in a club and they are playing, but on record, it misses the mark. However, I will say this. If your Christmas parties generally end up with copious amounts of broken furniture and someone urinating in the tree stand, then this just might be the perfect soundtrack. If you want a really good Christmas record, check out any of John Fahey’s collections, and leave the spanking to high school principals and parents.