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.