Kids’ Music Review #4: Asylum Street Spankers (Really!)

Have you become a carpool hostage to your children’s musical selections?

No offense to Raffi, but… do you NEVER want to hear another Raffi song for as long as you live?  Or Barney the Purple Dinosaur?  Or {{{shudder}}} one of those recorded children’s choruses singing childhood favorites like “The Farmer in the Dell?”

Whose “favorite” *is* that, anyway?!?

I’ve also heard about this song called “Let It Go.”  Have you heard it?  😉

(No, at this point, still NO SONG has surpassed “Let It Go” in preschool pop fandom.  This is the fourth month I’ve posted it as an example, and I was late to the bandwagon!)

I’ve decided to share some of my favorite children’s musicians here at Ms. Kats Music.  Some are clever songwriters, some put on an engaging, interactive live show, some infuse their catchy music with a fantastic sense of humor (in some cases aimed at their adult audience)… all traits that allow their children’s music to cross the barrier from “tolerable” to “enjoyable.”  And best of all: many are local!

This month’s recommendation is sadly defunct.  Is it wrong of me to review them ahead of currently-performing artists?  Nah….

Austin’s own Asylum Street Spankers!

Now, hold on, just a moment.  Don’t go running a Google search and plopping your preschooler down in front of the first video you hit upon.

The Spankers were *not* predominantly a children’s act.  Their masterful and sorely-missed 30’s-inspired  jazz and ragtime rhythms were usually bawdy, and completely inappropriate for little ears.  Except for my favorite children’s album of all time (to date): “Mommy Says No!”

Here’s their bicycle song, Training Wheel Rag:

This album runs the gamut from sweet (Be Like You will *probably* make an appearance at one of my boys’ weddings down the road), to raucous (Mommy Says No!) to icky (goes without saying — Boogers) to unexpected (Sliver is a Nirvana cover) to, well, more of what you’d expect from the Spankers.  

A few lines from the middle of You Only Love Me for My Lunchbox: “I’m a pleasant pheasant plucker, I pluck mother pheasants.  I’m the most pleasant pheasant plucker to ever pluck a mother pheasant.”  
I can say it.  My then-three-year-old was not as talented!

mommy says no

Can you pick out the band? All the cuties they’re pictured with are probably in high school now. IF they haven’t graduated, that is.

Want to learn more?  Their web address goes right to their rarely-updated Facebook page these days (although veteran members do still post about their current happenings from time to time).  But you can click here if you want to learn a little Spankers history.

And finally, an audio-only link to  the lovely Christina Marrs playing the saw (yes, s-a-w, saw!) and covering Harry Nilsson’s “Think About Your Troubles.”  With an image of the album art, so you know what to look for in your local library or music store!

Or, you can find a digital copy for sale HERE.  For real.  My favoritest.  🙂

Meow, meow!