The more I listen to this duo, the more I'm minded of a certain amount of kindredness to the Asylum Street Spankers, as the levels of cleverness, acumen, lightheartedness, and sophisticated ways with melodies and lyrics never fail to delight and intrigue. Hell, all ya need do is glom the song titles to get an idea of what you're in for: Daddy Needs a New Tractor, Lollygagging, That Love Thing, etc. My Sweet Patootie is having an ongoing love affair with the glamors and mindset of earlier times—say, the 20s to the 50s—and, like the Spankers, wrap themselves around the era like a mink stole…in this case, with wheatstraw and hayseed.
The Patootie duo, however, is oft a good deal more serious than the Asylum gang, more prosaic, as This Old Quilt well demonstrates. The song could accompany a Norman Rockwell exhibition in Greenwich Village, and I mean that complimentarily, as ol' Normie, despite his Boy Scout / propaganda bent, was a master artist. Sandra Swannell takes on the lion's (er, lionesses'!) share of lead vocals while rasping a lively violin, with Terrence Young oft harmonizing and fingerpicking his guitar with élan and dexterity. The guy is a master of his craft, so catch the complicated patterns in lively tempo in Joyful Noise and other tracks. Young carries the lead spot vocally as well but not as often as Swannell. He's not bad at all, but she's better, so the decision was wise.
Patootified is not as ribald as their previous, Nowheresville (here), but it's just as elegant, perhaps more so for the steeped period flavorings, with Young's vocals helping tremendously on that count, especially during Coffee Bean, Swannell's backing vox simul-synched as a sort of one-woman Andrews Sisters behind him. Thus, o ye of the gentry and of less genteel origins, put on the spats, wax the moustache, and wrap a necklace of slinky pearls atop your amour's décolletage, then head for the speakeasy whence the meeting of Chicago, prairie, and working slobs have the gents 'n ladies suavely downing whiskey highballs and pitchers of beer in Fitzgeraldian backrooms letting out into Steinbeckian nights.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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