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Christmas Portrait Special Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 416 customer reviews

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Christmas Portrait (Special Edition)
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Audio CD, Special Edition, August 24, 1987
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Product Description

A truly memorable holiday treat, with Sleigh Ride; Jingle Bells; Ave Maria, and 11 more.

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Hipper now than they ever were in their day, Karen and Richard Carpenter achieved a rare feat: They saw one of their songs become a holiday classic. "Merry Christmas, Darling" sold like mad in the late 1970s and cemented the identity of the song with the band. In the wake of Karen's death, the lyrics became even more poignant, but isn't a good tug on the heartstrings what a lot of holiday songs are all about? The Carpenters' tender cover of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is equally touching, their lush vocals layered like warm blankets on a cold December night. Though Christmas Portrait is harshly abbreviated, this version--the Special Edition--features almost 40 songs, including goose-bump giving versions of "Ave Maria" and "O Holy Night" and is definitely the better disc of the two. --Steve Gdula
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 24, 1987)
  • Special Edition edition
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Special Edition
  • Label: A&M
  • ASIN: B000002GHQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (416 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,650 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

By kone TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 7, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Many artists cut a Christmas album to cash-in on their current popularity -it's a natural and easy "cash cow" for them. Unfortunately, too many artists take a very casual approach to their Christmas albums, not perfecting the sound as they would a regular album. Fortunately, this is not true where the Carpenters are concerned! Richard Carpenter had the Carpenter's Christmas album pictured the way he wanted it in his head, and then took the time and spent the money to get it right. The result is a lush, beautifully arranged sound with every effort made to make each song special. Wiht this album, the Carpenters created Christmas music that defines what Christmas music should sound like.

"Christmas Portrait", is the first Carpenter Christmas album, released in 1978. ("An Old-Fashioned Christmas", was the second, released in 1984, after Karen's tragic death). When "Christmas Portrait was conceived, Karen and Richard recorded so much Christmas material that they almost released a double album. Instead, they released a full single (and at that time vinyl) disk, (but packed it with nearly 50 minutes of music - which was pushing the limits back in the days of vinyl LPS. Christmas Portrait went platinum in the U.S. and became a hit all over the world, and it continues to do well. It is one of the few albums that has been a Top 10 hit on the Christmas charts in the `70s, `80s, and `90s. These are the songs you hear played in department stores and on the radio every Christmas season.

In 1984, A&M released the second Carpenter's Christmas album, "An Old-Fashioned Christmas". The album features the best of the overflow material from the "Christmas Portrait" sessions as well as some newly recorded pieces.
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Format: Audio CD
To say that the Carpenters provided a musical soundtrack for all my Christmases from the moment it came out through the present is so much of an understatement! Undoubtedly my favorite Christmas album of all time, the Carpenters Christmas Portrait is amazing in every way. Many fans don't know that Richard Carpenter conceptualized this album from one of -his- favorite childhood Christmas albums by Spike Jones (the genius bandleader known for his wacky, comedic arrangements). In fact, if you purchase the Spike Jones Christmas c.d. (still available), you'll be surprised to hear a couple of the exquisite medleys from the Carpenters "soundtrack for the season" in their entirety! But when you add Karen's voice, you've most definitely surpassed the originals!
Listening to "Christmas Portrait" on the cassette player in my car....used to be my reward for making it thru college final exam week in December! I'd actually wait until my drive home after the last exam before I'd let myself FINALLY put the cassette in. I would smile and sing along all the way home. So this music is laced with so much nostalgia that my love for the Carpenters Christmas music is truly beyond words.
Some have mentioned that this "Christmas Portrait- Special Edition" c.d. is NOT the same as the original Christmas Portrait, but an expanded version of the original. To explain...after Karen's death, Richard released the leftover tracks from their "Christmas Portrait" recording sessions on an album entitled "An Old-Fashioned Christmas". Since there weren't enough vocal tracks to constitute an entire album, he filled in the blanks with orchestral/choral arrangements. When compact discs started to become generally available (not very long after the release of this 2nd album)....
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Format: Audio CD
"Greeting cards have all been sent
The Christmas rush is through
But I still have one wish to make
A special one for you...

Merry Christmas darling
We're apart, that's true
But I can dream and in my dreams
I'm christmasing with you
Holiday is joyful
There's always something new
But everyday's a holiday
When I'm near to you...

The lights on my tree
I wish you could see
I wish it everyday
Logs on the fire
Fill me with desire to see you and to say
That I wish you Merry Christmas
Happy New Year, too
I've just one wish on this Christmas Eve
I wish I were with you"
~ Merry Christmas Darling ~
~ Words & Music by Frank Pooler and Richard Carpenter ~

"This album is lovingly dedicated to the memory of my sister and friend, Karen, who was extremely fond of Christmas and Christmas music." ~ Richard Carpenter, 1986

This classic Christmas CD is my all-time favorite of all my Christmas CDs. I usually pull it out from my CD shelf right after Thanksgiving Day and start listening to it. I always enjoy listening to these timeless Christmas songs year after year. I was a huge fan of the Carpenters in the '70s and my favorites among their albums are "A Song For You," "The Carpenters" and "Close To You." Karen's death is such a great loss to the music industry with her great talent and exceptional vocal artistry. This album was conceived and produced by Mr. Carpenter, who also did the arrangements together with Billy May and Peter Knight. It consists of the best-loved Christmas classics of all-time.
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