Ambition Has its Flaws Volume 5

Audio

Well, it’s December 15th, and with only 10 days until “the big one,” we’ll only have to drudge through only two more Christmas themed audio posts. Check out today’s tracklist:

1. The Ramones – Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)

2. The Chinkees – Christmas

3. The Flaming Lips – Christmas at the Zoo

4. The Promise Ring – Holiday Adam

5. Clifton Chenier – It’s Christmas Time

6. Lou Rawls – Merry Christmas, Baby

7. Sammy Davis Jr. – Christmas Time All Over the World

8. The Statler Brothers – I’ll Be Home for Christmas

All this Christmas music is starting to get to me… light at the end of the holiday tunnel.. HURRY UP AND GET HERE!

A Thoughtful and Timely Christmas Gift from Brenda Lee

Rockin FrontBrenda Lee was mindful enough to remember us this year, and put together a rip-roarin’ collection of rockabilly and surf rock tidings of good cheer to keep all of us, especially those in the colder regions, busy and movin’ this holiday season. Kickin’ off this 12-track comp (released in 1986 by MCA Records) is Little Miss Dynamite’s (aka Brenda Lee) 1958 classic, Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. What follows is a musical sleigh ride of body movin’ classics from Bobby Helms & The Anita Kerr Singers, Dodie Stevens, the Surfaris, Chuck Berry and others (others is not a band, I just didn’t want to type up the rest of talented acts featured on this flawless album…).

Rockin BackThis record in particular generally gets more spins each holiday than the other knots in the holiday tree library. Played again, for the 3rd time just yesterday, I foresee (Brenda Lee Presents) Rockin’ Little Christmas to fill these walls at least three more times in 2013. After that she’ll head off to the dormant “Christmas section” and hibernate for a good 12 months. At this point, I’m just about over the whole Christmas music deal, but I agreed to something and I’m sticking with it (facepalm).

Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus

HB, BJNothing says Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus like the appropriately titled rock n’ roll comp, Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus. Released in 1993 on Sympathy for the Record Industry, a Washington-based, one-man-operated punk and garage rock label, HB, BJ captures that glorified sleaziness found within the smoke-filled, brawl-inducing dive bars scattered across this giant, rotating rock, but you know, with that perfect amount of stocking stuffed sincerity.

BackFeatured on this, borderline anti-Christmas rager are The New Bomb Turks, Rocket from the Crypt, Jackknife, The Humpers, Shitbirds, The Devil Dogs a many more! Act now and receive a free… or, wait… I’m not actually selling this album, but if you’re in the market for quality garage rock with a pinch of Christmas cheer, Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus is just the right amount of straight bourbon guzzling, tree decorating, sibling-shoving mess of holiday overindulgence.

You Can Say There’s No Such Thing as Grandpa, But as for Me and Santa, We Believe

GrandmaA renowned classic throughout the family for as long as I can remember, Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer was, for many Christmases, the soundtrack to the season. Mix in a few Brandy Old Fashioneds, the light accumulation of snow, and a warm room heated up by a wood-burning furnace, and you’ve got a Norman Rockwell painting of my early Christmas years.

As a young, little, mischievous ankle-biter, I’d heard, and was familiar with the name, Elmo & Patsy. Patsy was my grandfather’s nickname for my grandmother, and now that I’m older, I wonder if it was derived from this album. He’d give her a hard time about something, playfully of course, and would always end his boisterous rant with Patsy. My grandmother would laugh, almost embarrassed, which would then set the room into a joyous ruckus. My grandfather was great at that… setting an infectious, and heartfelt fire to a room. I miss him, but will always remember the little details of family Christmases thanks, in part, to this song. Egga Cleva anyone?

Merrie (Melodies) Christmas!

Bugs FrontAlthough MUCH is lost when Looney Tunes is stripped of its visual brilliance, the unmistakable talents of Mel Blanc are more than enough to make this LP of “four wonderful stories” a necessity for the holiday season.

Bugs TailFeatured on this collection are the pillars of the Looney Tunes franchise, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck (who didn’t make the cover, surprisingly), along with Yosemite Sam, Sylvester & Tweety, and the crowned king of calamitous camp, Elmer Fudd. Available here, with its special twist of Looney Tunage, are Bugs the Red-Nose Bunny, Santa-Claustrophobia, Holly Daze, and ‘Twas the Sight Before Christmas. Tracks that could have, but didn’t make the cut were Bugsy the Snowman, Don’t Eat Duck for Christmas, and Yosemite Sam Presents: Russian Roulette aka Red Christmas.

Sick of the same ol’ holiday schtick? Why not spice it up this season with a few, long-winded stories by the master of voice entertainment, Mel Blanc? Your inner child, and your 4-year-old nephew will thank you.

Christmas in California

Yosemite ChristmasChristmas in California does not look like the cover of this album for about 99.9% of its lackadaisical residents, I can assure you. With seductive lies aside, what this album does appropriately present is plenty of sunshine fa-la-las and hometown holiday melodies because, let’s face it… only Peter Nero can wistfully combine Jingle Bells with Winter Wonderland in that seamless Peter Nero kind of way.

This 12 track compilation is more your parents’ speed, provided your parents are that pipe smoking, holiday cookie-baking, smoking jacket-wearing, red cabbage-prepping dynamic duo of yesteryear… and, let’s face it… don’t all of our parents secretly wish to engulf that 1968 middle aged persona? I know mine do, although they’re reluctant to admit it.

Yosemite BackReleased in 1968 by RCA Records, although not necessarily my immediate go-to, classics by the classics (Arthur Fiedler, Al Hirt, Henry Mancini, Robert Shaw, Harry Belafonte, The Norman Luboff Choir, etc.) do deserve at least one spin a year, and today, apparently, is that day.

O Tannenbaum aka A They Might Be Giants Christmas

O Tannenbaum1993 was a good year for a lot of good reasons. Mainly, it saw this two-track holiday offering by the two Johns (Flansburgh and Linell) of They Might Be Giants. Featuring O Tannenbaum and the b-side Christmas Cards, this nifty little stocking stuffer comes on mistletoe green vinyl, and bridges that perfect gap between early 90s college rock and classic holiday warm and fuzzy music.

Christmas CardsAlthough released in 1993 (wow, that’s now 20 years ago!), both songs harbor that “timeless Christmas” vibe, and if you’re like me and enjoy the cheese-filled, gluttonous, help me forget about my everyday life kind of distraction, They Might Be Giants have a neatly wrapped 45 with your name on it. It’s under the tree next to the zeppelin and the Red Ryder carbine-action, two hundred shot Range Model air rifle.

House Party Series Presents: Carols for Christmas

Carols… as opposed to Carols for Groundhog’s day, I suppose. Look at these kids. Now, look at this stupid-ass snow-gentleman… trying so hard to please whomever is JUST off camera, widening their gullets in the fiendish attempts at pretending the words of Joy to the World. I call bollocks, if I am so allowed! And to blame, in all of this maddening banter, is, of course, Columbia Records.

Ok, so the Norman Luboff Choir accompanies these lolly-gagging kids… find and dandy (don’t call me Dandy). But what the sh!t is ol’ Frosty McFrostersons doing following along with the mitten wearing, class skipping, coal stealing hoodlums of the mid 1950s? Honestly, I thought Mr. Snowman had more class than that. Well, touché, cruel world… touché indeed.

Funky, Funky Christmas

New KidsJordan, Jonathan, Joey, Donnie & Danny want to wish your 1989 self a money cow-milking merry Christmas. Apparently “dedicated to the children of the world,” Merry, Merry Christmas is a Christmas star-shining example of late 1980s awesomeness and features five white mimes with questionable talent and poor fashion sense cascading down a blanket of fake snow atop a wooden toboggan on some back lot at CBS Studios in Studio City, California. If the now 40-somethings ever made it to the bottom of We Need to Hurry Up and Release a Christmas Album Hill, the world may never know, but one thing is for sure, they certainly made their way into Heartthrob Base with little to no trouble.

With such profound lyrics as, He said you left the fire burning and I burnt my butt, and It’s going I’m showin’ fresh rhymes I’m throwin’, it’s snowin’ outside but we Ho Ho Hoin’, it’s no question that this album is ripe with the unmistakable scent of Christmas class.

So, don’t forget to include NKOTB on your Christmas card list. Here is their address in case you lost it: New Kids, P.O. Box 7080 Quincy, MA 02269.

Santa Was Here… But Did He Remember to Open the Flue?

Little Suzy Worries A LotLittle Suzy Worries A Lot is concerned. Not because she constantly trips on her obviously oversized sleeping gown-thing, but because Santa may have forgotten open the flue. Dancing in little Suzy’s head aren’t just images of sugar plums, but also the vision of her beloved family laying lifeless under the candy cane-like Christmas tree from carbon monoxide poisoning. Little Suzy has reason for concern, so she spent her entire Christmas morning on the floor checking the flue. “Where’s Suzy?” “Oh, she’s checking the flue.” “Again?!”

The Somerset Strings do a marvelous job of capturing vintage Christmas on this 6-track 10” from the 1950s. All the classics are here, from Jingle Bells to The First Nowell (I always thought it was NOEL as in, no Ls allowed… or a_ _owed). Acquired, obviously, for its fascinating cover, Santa Was Here is a welcoming addition to the Christmas section of my library, and would make for a decent, albeit short, listen for anyone seeking out that vintage Christmas sound.

Don’t worry about little Suzy. She survived that Christmas, and went on to achieve great and magnificent things in the further development of fireplace safety.

Deck the Walls of Sound

SpectorWe the jury find the accused, Phillip Harvey Spector, guilty on all counts… of spreading holiday cheer! What was originally dubbed as A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records back in 1963, was re-released in 1972 on Apple Records with 1) a new title, Phil Spector’s Christmas Album, and 2) a new, Christmas-killing cover depicting the legendary producer dressed as a drunken Santa Claus. Personally, I feel Art Carney’s role as loaded Santa in the Twilight Zone episode, The Night of the Meek was a little more convincing, but ol’ gunslinger Phil does a decent job.

PhilThese 13 re-imagined Christmas classics by the likes of The Ronettes, The Crystals, Darlene Love and Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans are all produced by Phil Spector (obviously), and make for a fantastic, and well-rounded Christmas album. If you don’t already own it, or its 1963 original, seek it out. One can never have too many quality Christmas songs, even if their producer is a convicted murderer.

Keeping Up With Grandma

Grandma Can DrinkChristmas is approaching faster than Grandma can down a double eggnog, so let’s not waste our precious head funnels on anything other than pristine audio bliss. The Fireside Carolers do a magnificent job of romanticizing some of the holiday’s best ear cocktails in that down-home, get the hell off my lawn kind of way. Decent enough for just about one spin on the ol’ turntable of love, Let’s All Sing our Christmas Favorites makes for fascinating background music, perfect for filling the empty walls when you and your loved ones are out making trouble with the neighborhood kids. What I’m saying is, although performed exceptionally well, these organ-supported band of carolers need to take a backseat when it comes to proper, more upbeat Christmas music. You catch my drift? No offense, Fireside Carolers. You’re good enough to knock Grandma out, although, much of the credit should be given to the bourbon. Cheers to the holidays, or as Grandma says, “Shiers totha hol-idssss.”

Santa Sunburn

Santa SunburnNothing says another year is about to be sucked into the great void of forgotten memories quite like a collection of 18 Christmas songs from Broadway Records and Container-Kraft of Los Angeles. If you don’t believe me, maybe Santa Sunburn and his waving 2-ton mitten (probably ringing wet with Santa sweat… it’s warm here during the holidays) will convince you. With “Christmas favorites old and new for young and old,” from kiddies to grannies and all the naysayers in between, each and every ear will be bleeding that sweet blood of Christmas joy.

Santa Trumpet BlowerFor best results use sharp needle.

All the classics are here. From White Christmas to Auld Lang Syne, and from Bring A Torch Jeanette Isabella to The Shepherd’s Carol, this album is your one-stop-shop for getting your humble abode (and that of your neighbor if your walls are thin enough) into that warm and fuzzy mood.

An outstanding value in top quality phonograph records.

Mainly, I just use this album for decoration during the holidays. I doubt I’ve ever even played it. Happy Monday, folks!

Ambition Has its Flaws Volume 3

Audio

Well, it’s late, but k’mon, man! These things take time! Enjoy the beginnings of the festive holiday with works from Dean Martin, Country Mike (the Beastie Boys), R2-D2 & C-3PO, Joe Pesci, The Kinks, The Smothers Brothers, Rocket from the Crypt, the Capitol Studio Orchestra, The Dismemberment Plan, and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Make your ears bleed red will these irreverent boughs of holly, courtesy of The Prudent Groove.

Men in Motion

Men in MotionIt’s not entirely difficult to consider this Seattle-based foursome adequate participants of the late 70s, early 80s sewer-like wave of repressed energy, known today as punk, or as my Mother likes to call it, “the Devil’s music.” Missing, or rather, subdued is the raw, misguided anger found in Los Angeles and San Francisco based punk acts of the time. In its place resides the mature, but no less angry, rhythmically brilliant 1/3 new wave, 1/3 minimalist indie-rock, and 1/3 punk-influenced musicianship that somehow gets lost amongst the 33-year-old haze that was 1980.

BlackoutsBlackouts (here losing the The… on a side note and completing having nothing to do with this post, do you remember The The?) consisted of future RevCo, Ministry, R.E.M. (you read that right), Pigface, KMFDM (to name only a few) drummer Bill Rieflin, Roland Barker (brother of Revco, Ministry, Lead into Gold, Lard, PTP, Acid Horse, U.S.S.A. bassist Paul Barker… who would join this band immediately following the release of this EP), as well as Erich Werner and Mike Davidson, of whom I know virtually nothing about. Phew! That’s a lot of band-name dropping there, but you can begin to see the overall scope of this band’s, and subsequently, this EP’s brilliance. Or, maybe you can’t and you’d much prefer the screeching yelps of Katy Perry, or God forbid, Madonna! Either way, this 4-track EP comes highly recommended and should prove for an interesting listen if nothing else.

None More Black Friday

Smell the GloveToday, as you ford across the violent sea of flailing limbs and bargain-hunting rage, don’t miss our once-in-a-lifetime-actually-once-in-a-year sale to end all sales! That’s right! As if you haven’t already heard, The Prudent Groove is having a 24-minute sale on everything in our store! Check out the “Store” button on the top for your chance to save THOUSANDS on Prudent Groove swag! Newly added to the online store are Prudent Groove t-shirts (sizes XS – M) available in both blood red and midnight black, The Prudent Groove hummingbird feeder, The Prudent Groove flower pots (complete with grade A Prudent Groove soil), The Prudent Groove candles available in the following delicious scents: wet dog, bong water, and burnt fish, The Prudent Groove red wine vinegar and extra, extra, extra virgin olive oil set, and The Prudent Groove jumper cables, to name just a few.

The holidays are right around the corner, down a block, and sandwiched between the recently closed VHS only video rental store and the Hardware Hank, so do yourself a favor. Save your time, money, and any last glimpses of sanity and complete all your year end shopping in one easy click. The Prudent Groove store, your new favorite place for all the things you never knew you never wanted.

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme AKA Ode to a 21-Pound Bird

Happy ThanksgivingWith well wishes a-plenty seemingly BURSTING forth from the generous and thankful hearts belonging to us over here at The Prudent Groove, we hope you all are, at this very moment, stuffing your gullets, as well as your ears, with the wonderful delights of family, friends, food, autumnal music, and the appetizing reflection of all the many things we can all be thankful for. Now, get off the internet and enjoy a drink with your brother, your mother, your 7-year-old nephew, and / or your sweetheart. Thank you for reading and no, you cannot have any of our 21-pound turkey. Sorry… I dig you guys, I sincerely do, but there is a line, and ain’t no man, beast, or lure of a promising future gonna’ come between me and the devilishly delightful overindulgence that is Thanksgiving. Ok, fine, I’ll invite you over for the 7 days of leftovers we’ll undoubtedly, and willingly have. Just be sure to bring the tunes. Deal? Deal.

Happy Thanksgiving to every-one!

SUPERPOSTER

SUPERPOSTEROne word… Superposter. It’s not just your routine poster. Standard posters are for coupon cutters and puddle jumpers. Superposters… now, that’s the bees knees, you dig? Got a neighbor with a bum knee who can’t will himself to the kitchen to boil an egg? Give ‘em a Bob Dylan clown head Superposter. Want to grease the wheels with your kid’s 2nd grade math teacher because your kid keeps bringing home C’s? Give Mrs. Fractionstein a Moby Grape Superposter. Before you know it, little Suzysucksatmath will be merrily skipping home with her justly deserved B-. (Allow three weeks for delivery. Offer expires 12/30/69.)

Superposters… putting ordinary posters to shame since the late 60’s.

Go Where You Wanna Go…

Go Where You Wanna GoLike the rising of the sun, or the cock-a-doodle-doo of the morning rooster, it’s there to kick things off, leaving all others to follow its lead. It’s a record that can change, be replaced, or be bumped into the absorbing sea of “others.” It’s a record that is bound to no genre or geographical location. It is never fixed with any specific label, or particular year of distribution. Not one distinct instrument is a requirement for this record’s grooves, and it can quite possibly represent the listening personality of its hoarding owner.

Every collector owns this record, but 99.9% of the time no two are alike. This record goes by many names, and is more times than not located in the top left corner. This record is the beginning of whatever organized structure you’ve adopted. For me, it’s Up, Up and Away by The 5th Dimension which, if you think about it, is a pretty damn good invitation to explore the vast world of any music library be it on this, or any dimension.