Asylum Street Spankers

A Christmas Spanking

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Occasionally, a group will make a promise and deliver on it. The Asylum Street Spankers wanted to make a holiday album that strayed from the normal fare, and they proceeded to do just that. The cover, featuring a bald Santa passed out in an easy chair, captures the fun-loving, irreverent spirit of A Christmas Spanking. Things get started with a bizarre take of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" that shifts from old jazz to country to ska, just for the fun of it. Most of the material, however, sticks close to a bluesy jazz straight out of the '30s, colored by Django Porter's guitar and Stanley Smith's clarinet. Vocalist Wammo turns "Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer" into a bit of dirty blues, much as it might have sounded on a Muddy Waters Christmas album, while the saucy singer of "Trim Your Tree" kindly offers to trim his girl's beautiful Christmas tree. Korey Simeone's dobro work livens up "Mele Kalikimaka," while a number of good solos grace "Linus and Lucy." Christina Marrs brings her soulful vocals to bear on "Merry Christmas, Baby" and "The Christmas Song," and performs "Silent Night" on the musical saw. The strength of the group rests with their large pool of talented musicians who don't mind sharing the spotlight. Also noteworthy is the group's left-field approach. This means that an occasional song may strike one as odd or raunchy, but never boring. A Christmas Spanking will put both believers and non-believers in the mood for the solstice season.

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