Wake Up in the Morning and Find a Butt-Load of Wonderful New Recordings. Do Any of You Have Any Idea Where These Came From?
If you know the story of the Asylum Street Spankers, you probably know that the group was founded in 1994 at a booze-filled party at the Dabbs Hotel along the river in Llano, Texas, and for the next seventeen years left a swath of astounded audiences in its wake. Well, it appears that America’s favorite old-time hellraisers have once again musically triumphed over overindulgence and memory loss. Or have they?
Christina Marrs, Nevada Newman, Charlie King and the other Spankers do recall getting together to play their final shows ever in April of 2011. They all remember setting up the three-day “The Last Laugh” finale in their hometown of Austin, Texas at the Cactus Café, Ruta Maya and Spider House Ballroom. But, honestly, that’s the last thing any of them remember.
Look: it’s embarrassing for such an acclaimed band as this to have to admit that they honestly don’t remember where their final album came from. What becomes clear upon listening to these recordings is that none of these songs has ever been recorded by the Asylum Street Spankers before. What’s even clearer is this: the band is in their finest form ever here, living up to their firmly cemented reputation as an acoustic powerhouse. Who else can blend string-band virtuosity, multi-instrumental skills, tight vocal harmonies and counterculture wit like this?
Clearly, these were unforgettable nights for all those who packed the clubs and cheered on their internationally beloved hometown heroes. Hazily, the Spankers figure these must have been some of the most treasured personal moments of their 17-year career. Imagine the satisfaction of taking their fans through one last journey together, from the Tin Pan Alley and vaudeville echoes of their sound, to the country, blues, jazz and swing songs they’ve borrowed and created, all filtered through the punk-rock ethos at their core. “It must have really been something,” Christina muses.