Recording Review
Spanky Lee

Formats: Cassette, CD

Reviewed by James Bickers

Having spent most of my life in Louisville, and having been an avid music fan all of that time, the name Spanky Lee is certainly not new to me. I can recall hearing about this rock group winning battle-of-the band contests when I was just a lad.

But now, it seems, they've reached for the big time with their self-titled album. This is the first time I've heard the band, and I was impressed.

The temptation for any overly critical person (like myself) would be to say that this sounds like all the other rock/heavy metal on the radio today. But the honest truth is, it is far and away better than most anything on the radio lately. Spanky Lee is one of the first recordings I've heard in a long time makes it seem okay to be a part of the modern rock genre, most of which is a bad imitation of itself.

The album starts out with "Lady Rosemary," my favorite of the fourteen songs. This is a completely unique song, unlike anything I've ever heard, and is very well written. As on the rest of the album, the production is meticulous, making one wonder if this really is a local band.

Side one continues with some very interesting bits, most of which enter the ballad category. Side two begins with a wonderful rock bit, "Another Lone Ranger," which, like most of the songs on the album, uses some interesting chord progressions to create a warm, polished sound. I think that the highest praise I can give to this production is that it sets a mood. Even on songs that try entirely too hard, like "Kids Are the Survivors," there is a definite atmosphere of musicianship. Listen to "Singing in the Rain/You Me" for some wonderful vocal harmonies reminiscent of Uriah Heep at their best.

I was definitely blown away by this collection of original songs, both by the level of maturity reached on most of the material, and the range of talent. The guitar work is clean and precise, like the rest of the album.

This stuff does Louisville proud.

Copies of Spanky Lee are available from National Record Mart, Ear X-tacy Records, Musicland, Camelot Super Store and Disc Jockey Records.

Cassette's are $7.99; CD's $11.99.