A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Original Sound Track Recording Of The CBS Television Special
LP (12" album, 33 rpm)
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A Charlie Brown Christmas (Remastered & Expanded Edition)
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Includes What Child Is This?; Linus and Lucy; Skating; Christmas Is Coming; Greensleeves; Christmastime Is Here , and many more jazzy classics!
The first time you listen to this disc you will undoubtedly be transported directly back to your childhood. Charles Schulz's Peanuts characters will go toe-tapping and funky-dancing through your mind's eye. Play it a few more times, though (ignoring the dialogue snippets, if you can), and you will begin to truly revel in Guaraldi's wonderful, humorous, deep piano playing. You'll hear why he's such an influence on new age ivory tickler George Winston, but you'll also realize that Winston's holiday music never quite sparkles with the underlying passion, and humor, that twinkles in these grooves. Buy it for the nostalgia--keep it because it will remain one of the most enchanting albums in your holiday collection. --Michael Ruby
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However, there are some variances from the original video and, apparently, from CD to CD. I was fortunate enough to buy the Fantasy CD from 1988, which has all of the original music. If you look at these Amazon reviews, they span multiple CD versions, so you can’t tell, easily, to which versions the reviews apply. I think that you’d find reviews for grills here if the grill was named “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” This is very poor control on Amazon’s part but, unfortunately, common in their review system. I have read that the “Linus And Lucy” music can vary quite a bit, as an example. I have also read that the SACD version is accurate, but do not know if the current 2012 version is or is not.
Although all of the CD’s contain the original recording of “Hark, The Herald Angels Sing”, none of them are the same version that was used in the video. In the video, they took this recording and slowed the singing section down by 9.7% (probably to fit the sequence), which also changed the pitch and tempo. The difference is noticeable and changes the feel, so the CD version may not sound quite right to you. However, the pre-singing part (dooo-dooo-dooo-etc) is normal time in the video, as is found on the CD. So, if you want the exact presentation as was in the video, you’ll have to use a program, such as Audacity (free), to adjust the speed of the singing part, slowing it down by 9.7%. Incidentally, if you also own the video, you will find that the end of the video has faded-out the end of this song. Originally, the video contained the full ending as found on the CD, but it also had a sponsor message that caused CBS to cut that ending out long ago (in the 60’s), leaving all copies without the original ending. So, if you make the speed adjustment with the singing part, you can also place that into the video (if you’re handy with video files) and then you will have the original full ending on your video as well (you’ll also have to reduce the amplification to match the video volume).
However this reissue is suspect. There is actually more hiss, not less. The instruments are all more upfront in the mix but darn it I do not want louder, I want clearer. One can say at times certain minor details emerge not easily heard on other mixes but not enough here to be revelatory or satisfying. The inclusion of Halloween and Thanksgiving music here feels like a consolation prize that could be created through playlists anyway. This reissue tries to throw the music out of the bounds of subtlety that made it so beautiful in the first place. Someone obviously does not understand the meaning of Christmas here as this feels like, to quote our philosophical hero, "...just another commercial racket."