While known for his classic work with his Giants, Shorty Rogers also wrote numerous arrangements for A&M over the years, including collaborating on A&M’s obscure second LP by George McCurn. On RCA, Rogers and his outfit recorded many great big band and small combo albums. This “like, nutty” version of The Nutcracker is an album-long jazz treatment of Tchaikovsky’s original. We featured this last year, but good things bear repeating! We have compiled a playlist of all of the album’s tracks. Apologies for the poor sound quality from the knock-off label that uploaded it. If you don’t have time for the entire album, at least catch the first track, the “Like Nutty Overture.”
Poking fun at holiday classics was always a lot of fun for DJ and award-winning radio host Bob Rivers. Not only do his parodies twist the lyrics into something new and hilarious, the musical and vocal details often mimic the originals quite faithfully. This is very apparent on his remake of the Carpenters version of “Sleigh Ride,” entitled “Flu Ride.” His other parodies cover artists as diverse as Nat King Cole (“Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire”) and Black Sabbath (“I Am Santa Claus,” set to the melody of “Iron Man”). Check out “Flu Ride” below, with the original Carpenters version just past the break. Enjoy!
As the original EP liner notes hinted, nobody but Stewart Copeland (of The Police) might know who Klark Kent is. To kick off our holiday-themed posts for the year, we offer his unique twist on Christmas with the tune “Yo Ho Ho.” Klark Kent appeared on the I.R.S. Records label, headed by his brother Miles, back when they were distributed by A&M. This track appears on the I.R.S. compilation Just In Time For Christmas. So while you might not be “ritch in a ditch” for the holidays, at least
Stewart Klark spreads a little holiday cheer to make all of the grandelinquents feel just a little bit better.
A rare video capture of a television appearance. Here is Herb Alpert singing (OK, lip syncing) “The Christmas Song.” It’s like a time capsule of the 1960! This was actually the very first single your A&M Corner host ever owned.
This is the last of our featured holiday tracks. We hope you have enjoyed them!
All of us at A&M Corner wish you and yours the best for the holiday season!
This tune has become one of those persistent holiday tracks since its original release in 1970. The tune has been remixed a handful of times, and Carpenters also performed it on television numerous times. Thanks to our A&M Corner compadre Chris May, we present a clean version of an appearance on the Bruce Forsyth show in the UK. Here it is:
And if you are more fond of the original 45rpm single mix from 1970, this one’s for you:
We have one more holiday track to share with you in a few hours! Hope you enjoy!
No holiday seems complete without an annual playing of The Nutcracker Suite. If Tchaikovsky were inclined to do any swingin’, he’d be nutty about this version by Shorty Rogers and His Giants from 1960 (released on RCA LSP-2110). Shorty’s arrangements even give the original titles a goodnatured tweak (“Waltz of the Snowflakes” becomes “Snowball,” “Tea Dance” becomes “China Where?”).
Lest we forget, A&M is what we do here, so we always try to find a connection. It’s not hard with Shorty, as he was instrumental (no pun intended) in helping Herb Alpert out on some of A&M’s earliest albums. The earliest being the second album A&M released, George McCurn’s Country Boy Goes To Town (SP-102), which we will feature in the near future.
Forgive the poor cover art and substandard sound quality (this looks like one of those offshored knock-off releases), but I threw together a YouTube playlist of the entire Swingin’ Nutcracker album for your Christmas Eve enjoyment.