Saturday, January 12, 2008


Austin's awesome Asylum Street Spankers brings cheeky attitude and crackerjack musicianship to the Barrow Street Theatre today through Sunday, January 20, 2008. Seen earlier this week, the seven men and one woman in the troupe's current lineup delivered a very entertaining evening of selections ranging from oldies such as "Everybody Loves My Baby" to an arrangement of "Think About Your Troubles" (increasing my appreciate of songwriter Harry Nilsson at least tenfold) to group member Charlie King's edgy-in-NYC political ditty "My Baby in the CIA" to a medley of the group's naughtier numbers.

Vocalizing and performing on guitars, ukulele, mandolin, banjo, bass, violin, harmonica, clarinet, and percussion as well as rubber chicken, the group came across as a kind of fusion of many of the funner things in life, including the Boswell Sisters, Firesign Theater, the Holy Modal Rounders, Spike Jones, Mae Questel, They Might Be Giants, and, of course, the throat singers of Tuva and some kids singing in the back of the school bus. And they really know the value of tight cut-offs—and I'm not talkin' about hot pants, smartass!

It would be cool to see the Asylum Street Spankers as part of a festival of 1930s-ish pop music performers. I guess this used to be called New Vaudeville. The lineup could include Al Duvall, Maude Maggart, Nellie McKay, the Pontani Sisters, the Raymond Scott Orchestrette, Vince Giordano and His Nighthawks, and the Australian sensation Singing Sadie. Hm. Maybe I'll get something going here at Blog About Town....

For starters, here's a glimpse of the highly recommended Asylum Street Spankers, featuring Christina Marrs on the singing saw (a.k.a. the acoustic theremin).

Source (3:22)

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