Asylum Street Spankers
God's Favorite Band (Spanks-a-Lot / Yellow Dog)
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Nov. 20, 2009
Asylum Street SpankersGod's Favorite Band (Spanks-a-Lot/ Yellow Dog)
Whether or not you'll take to the Asylum Street Spankers' ninth album depends on whether or not you still buy into their vaudevillian schtick. The album title refers to one of the local institution's original names, when it refrained from using "demon electricity." God's Favorite Band is an apt title for a collection of spirituals. Recorded at the Saxon Pub in 2006, it sadly lacks the spark of some of the group's previous live recordings. The musicianship is as crisp as ever, which leaves the material they've chosen. Christina Marrs can still belt or croon with the best and does on "Each Day" and "Last Mile of the Way." But "Down by the Riverside" and "Wade in the Water" sound halfhearted. Wammo's country weeper "Volkswagen Thing" might be a metaphor or a joke, but either way it falls flat. Here's proof even God makes mistakes.