The White Ghost Shivers

Record review

Texas Platters

The White Ghost Shivers

Hokum if You Got 'Em (Chicken Ranch)

Merging bluegrass, vaudeville, ragtime, hot jazz, and blues, Austin's White Ghost Shivers may be the only local band that boasts bookings at the epicenter of genteel family life, Central Market and the strip club Crazy Lady. The burlesque angle is easy, as Hokum if You Got 'Em, the sextet's 2002 debut plus two additional tracks, covers drug use ("Tell It to Me"), pooping ("Outhouse Blues"), and burdensomely-large male genitalia ("Big Horn Blues"). Visualize Tool as a 1925 acoustic sextet. The family appeal? WGS now has a broader set list to go with their lively show, propelled by nose flute, tenor banjo, baritone ukulele, and the mysterious Stroh violin, a no-body violin powered by trumpet horn. Hokum comes across like a concert date: Some tunes are too free, with lyrics shouted more than sung ("Ignacio"). Given the ratio of fine originals to covers, however, it's clear these kids have ingested a pallet of 78s to good effect. The bonus cuts, including "Shopping Mall" by famed comics man R. Crumb and the Cheap Suit Serenaders, offer more of the same. Hokum isn't lacking studio slickness, but more performance spit 'n' polish wouldn't hurt. (White Ghost Shivers score Buster Keaton silents Sherlock Jr. and Cops at the Alamo Drafthouse downtown, Thursday, July 7.)


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