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NRBQ - Christmas Wish (LP)

NRBQ - Christmas Wish (LP)

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Genre: rock
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Title:  Christmas Wish
Company: Rounder
Catalog: EP2501
Year: 1986
Country/State: Miami, Florida
Grade (cover/record): NM / NM
Comments: still in shrink wrap (opened); EP plays at 45 rpm
Available: 1
Catalog ID: 6130
Price: $20.00

As you can tell, I'm a big NRBQ fan so their second Christmas collection 1985's "Christmas Wish" has a special place in my heart and on my turntable. That appreciation starts with the album cover - after all how many bands can you think of that would be willing to pose for such a goofy cover shot? When the collection was originally released in 1985 it came out as an eight track, 45 rpm EP. I can distinctly remember slapping it on my turntable not realizing it was recorded at 45 rpm and being shocked as the results when played at 33 rpm. Take my word for it; play the EP at the right speed. Alright, so now that I've fawned all over it, let me be up front and tell you this collection is far from great. Musically this was a standard NRBQ release, featuring a mixture of traditional tunes and band originals. Most of the were extremely short performances, including what sounded like a mixture of demos, live tracks, and studio throwaways. Still, like your typical NRBQ album, the whole package dripped low-keyed charm and playfulness.

- Sounding like a studio demo snippet, 'God Bless Ye Merry Gentlemen' started the set off with Al Anderson picking his way through a brief instrumental version of the song - nice jazzy vibe to the effort. rating: *** stars
- The Joey Spaminato original 'Christmas Wish' had the throwaway charm that you've come to expect from these guys. You could just picture these guys smiling their way through the song and the toy piano and kazoo (?) backing was hysterical. rating: **** stars
- Terry Adam's quirky 'Electric Train' exemplified what I love about this band and why so many folks find them just too odd ... great melody with the band doing their best to mimic a train horn. And yes, it did have a Christmas feel to it. rating: *** stars
- Their instrumental rendition of 'Here Comes Santa Claus' was plain strange. Played on what sounded like an early Casio keyboard, it wasn't the most tuneful version of the song you've ever heard and the sound quality gave the impression of someone who had recorded it from the back row of a club concert with a cheap 1970s-era cassette machine. rating: * star
- 'Jolly Old St. Nicholas' had previously been released as a single. Musically they played it fairly straightforward on this one. The track featured another nice guitar break from Al Anderson. rating: *** stars
- Their instrumental version of 'Jingle Bells' sounded like it was recorded at one of their shows - the band's famous for taking audience requests and the band patter sounded like this had been an audience request. rating: ** stars
- Showcasing the Whole Wheat Horns, their instrumental version of 'It Came Upon a Midnight Clear' was suitably somber. rating: ** stars
- The album ended with a brief reprise of the best song - 'Christmas Wish'. Nice enough, but they should have just expanded the original version ... rating: *** stars

As mentioned above, 'Jolly Old St. Nicholas' had been tapped as a single b/w 'Christmas Wish' (Red Rooster catalog number 1006)

"Christmas Wish" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) God Bless Ye Merry Gentlemen (instrumental) (traditional raanged Al Anerson) - 0:48
2.) Christmas Wish (Joey Spaminato) - 2:45
3.) Electric Train (Terry Adams) - 1:04
4.) Here Comes Santa Claus (insturmental) (Autrey - Aldman) - 0:43

(side 2)
1.) Jolly Old St. Nicholas (arranged by Terry Adams) - 1:48
2.) Jingle Bells (arranged by NRBQ) - 1:37
3.) It Came Upon a Midnight Clear (instrumental) (arranged by Keith Spring) - 0:47
4.) Christmas Wish (Reprise) (Joey Spaminato) - 1:07
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