Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Carpenters - Christmas Portrait (1984)

Along with the Vince Guaraldi Trio's A Charlie Brown Christmas and A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector, this is one of my top three Christmas CD's.  It is actually a compilation of two Christmas albums by the duo, Christmas Portrait (1978) and An Old-Fashioned Christmas (1984).  It's cheesy soft pop highlighted by Karen Carpenter's wonderfully pure voice and it's exactly the kind of cheesy soft pop goodness that I need this time of year.

Click here to get Richard Carpenter's take on the album.  He mentions that this album is patterned after the 1956 album, Spike Jones Presents A Xmas Spectacular. I wonder if that's available anywhere.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Christmas Portrait #145, An Old-Fashioned Christmas #190.  This "Special Edition" compilation returns to the charts almost annually; as I write this, it sits at #117.

Tracks: It's a pleasant 70 minutes of music, sequenced perfectly.  It's hard to pick favorites, but today I'll pick Christmas Waltz, It's Christmas Time, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, and Merry Christmas Darling.  Because of personal childhood issues, I'm not a fan of O Holy Night, but the instrumental version offered here is somewhat tolerable.

Exclusive longbox photo courtesy of the Hambonian Archives

Personal Memory Associated with this CD:  This music was introduced to me by my good friend Richard L. as we drove together around town during a progressive Christmas party for our church choir.  Progressive parties are a horrible idea, but getting from home to home with Richard made it much more pleasant.  Richard loved this album and enjoyed pointing out his favorite parts of the complex arrangements.


  1. Nice. This album is a holiday staple for me too. I think the first time I heard it was around 1992. A friend lent me a cassette, and I promptly ordered a CD copy through Columbia House.
    I have an obscene number of Christmas CD's. Probably close to 100. This is a favourite for sure.

  2. Most people give me grief about liking a Carpenters album. Glad to finally hear from someone who agrees with me.

  3. There's no word but "pure" to describe Karen Carpenter's voice. Even if folks don't like their "style" of music.

    I have to admit, this is the only album I own by the Carpenters though. :)