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Holidays! THE OFFICIAL REVIEW: [Album] "AN OLD-FASHIONED CHRISTMAS" SP-9107

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Dec 1, 2014.

How Would You Rate This Album?

  1. ***** (BEST)

    6 vote(s)
    16.7%
  2. ****

    20 vote(s)
    55.6%
  3. ***

    8 vote(s)
    22.2%
  4. **

    1 vote(s)
    2.8%
  5. *

    1 vote(s)
    2.8%
  1. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    I agree. I actually think Richard's stacked lead vocal sound was a staple with CARPENTERS, and *not* hearing it peppered in sounds like something half-finished; at least as far as a Carpenters album is concerned. He complimented Karen in every way on those records - like chocolate and peanut butter IMHO. :wink:
     
    song4u and Made In America like this.
  2. WYBIMLA

    WYBIMLA Active Member

    The meaning and yearning of "old fashioned Christmas" probably means more now than it did in '84.
    They weren't plugged into various gadgets then. Lol

    I like Rich's doubled or tripled leads. It sounds quite warm.
    KC and RC both did that so well. I think of it as an art on its own.
    One that I appreciate.
    It's not exactly easy to pull off a matched vocal so precisely. It can get messy.

    I haven't heard an example of it in contemporary music.
    I guess artists don't feel a need to do it anymore. Maybe since there's more options for vocal technology right now.
    When it's done well I can enjoy it.
     
  3. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    Actually it's still pretty common. Here are some examples - one more recent, one a little less :)

    Pick up at 1:00:



    Pick up at 1:00 (unison double from 1:03 on). *The original Nilsson version had similar treatment:

     
  4. WYBIMLA

    WYBIMLA Active Member

    Yea, I guess it's true you'll hear that in spots in the lead in contemporary music.

    I don't know what it is, but to me Carpenters just made something really special with it.

    Patti page, Brian wilson, Les paul and Mary ford, etc. I know and love all that stuff too.
    I also love and adore Michael Jackson's use of it and his sister Janet has done it.
    Lots of pop artists would do this kind of thing and still do.

    Probably everyone in the music business has done it at some point.

    Maybe it's unfair. I can't explain why exactly I think this way or prefer it, but I'd give lots of credit to KC and RC.
     
  5. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    I don't know if anyone's aware, but on YouTube there's a video from a Japanese TV special that has a performance of "Little Altar Boy" by Richard and Mindy Carpenter. It was nice hearing it, but I found Mindy's vocals a little harsh and higher pitched than the way her Aunt sang the song, and Richard's piano, while it was good and you could tell he was playing the song as it had been arranged for Old-Fashioned Christmas, the piano really wasn't doing justice to the song.
     
  6. mr J.

    mr J. Active Member

    Voice Of The Heart did well,but An Old Fashioned Christmas has surpassed VOTH in cumulative sales. VOTH was taken out-of-print in 2006.
     
  7. mr J.

    mr J. Active Member

    It's not possible to make an objective comparison between these two particular albums. An Old-fashioned Christmas is a timeless standards album-that has been a perennial bestseller. Physical is a dated Pop/Rock album that's been out-of-print for twenty years. Apples & Oranges.
     
    Made In America likes this.
  8. mr J.

    mr J. Active Member

    Good points!
     
  9. mr J.

    mr J. Active Member

    Actually,the Vinyl album may have been midline,but the Cassette was definitely Top-line. I remember paying $8.98 for the Cassette in 1984-and A&M was using the high-quality BASF chrome cassettes at that time.
     
  10. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I have the cassette, and you're right, mr J. It sounds terrific!
     
  11. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    With mid-line I could see how Richard was seeing it. Other than the radio-only single "Do You Hear What I Hear?/Little Altar Boy", A&M didn't issue any singles and really did very little promotion for the album, compared to "Christmas Portrait" where there was "Christmas Song" released in 1977 (which was actually to accompany the Christmas Special) and then reissued in 78. Plus the 8-year-old "Merry Christmas Darling". All Old-Fashioned Christmas had was a 10-year-old single that, as far as I know, A&M probably reissued, but didn't change the packaging even to say it was on Old-Fashioned Christmas.

    Any idea what type of cassettes A&M/Polygram was using in 1997? That's when I purchased my cassette copy of Old-Fashioned Christmas (and I seem to remember is was around $7.99 or $8.99).
     
  12. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    I figure since we are all gearing up for 'holiday mode, not to mention the recent forum discussion regarding the upcoming Carpenters Christmas Memories DVD, it would be fitting to bump the Christmas album threads to the top! For those who have already contributed to this thread in previous years' discussion, feel free to continue adding new and fresh insights on this great music!
     
    newvillefan and Rudy like this.
  13. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Another Gem on this album:
    The Peter Knight arranged....
    What Are You Doing New Year's Eve.....
    Karen's reading is incredible (I only wish that very last note was not drowned out....).

    Sadly, the song gets very little promotion (occurring, as it does, on only Three LP/CD incarnations).

    But, among my all-time favorites.
     
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  14. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    One of my favorites from either disc!
     
  15. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Definitely a standout track from An Old Fashioned Christmas and my very favourite Christmas track of all those they ever recorded. It's such a shame it doesn't get featured more on compilations like From The Top. Karen's flirtatious, playful lead vocal is just sublime. I prefer their "true to life" Christmas songs like this to their more religious offerings like Christ Is Born.
     
    theninjarabbit likes this.
  16. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Notwithstanding the dubious Cover Illustration
    (the sized-picture frame on front does not even match the picture frame on back !)
    and the Song Sequencing
    (Side One-- Karen Vocals are 6 minutes out of 23; Side Two-- Karen's Vocals occupy 13 and a half-minutes out of 23 minutes),
    I must say I rather enjoy this album.
    A stand-out for me (outside of the awesome Lead Vocals)
    is Richard's piano work on "Nutcracker" selections.

    What puzzles me are the credits:
    Richard Carpenter is credited with (only Two)
    Arrangements:
    It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
    and
    Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.
    Alongside,
    Billy May: He Came Here For Me
    Peter Knight: The other Eleven Songs
     
    K.C. Jr likes this.
  17. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    When is listen I skip the first 4 tracks and the 6th track and begin with Home For The Holidays, skip the Reindeer Medley and continue with the rest. An Old Fashioned Christmas reminds me of a Christian music selection from a Don Wryzten cantata of the same title, so it does not have the same emotional placement for me as it does for some, but I enjoy the Nutcracker and Favorite Things piano and orchestra tunes since Karen sings soon afterwards and those selections compliment the album along with her still being the dominant portion. When I listen to those it still feels like a Carpenters album and not a Muzak version. Now the Overture on the first album I enjoy, not the Special Edition one, so I listen to all of the original Christmas Potrait, then skip to Home For The Holidays, on An Old Fashioned Christmas, skip the Reindeer Medley, and pick up on Little Altar Boy and continue until I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, which is as exceptional as all the other treasures of Karen on this album.
    Do You Hear What I Hear shows how exceptional the silky satin like quality of her voice forms like the current of a brook as she enters the song. As a child it was my favorite song growing up so when I hear this version, much like the classic standard of years past, combined with the Carpenters feel and Karen luscious voice, it remains one of my all time favorite Christmas songs.
     
  18. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    I still consider "My Favorite Things" to be the oddest inclusion on "An Old-Fashioned Christmas". It's a non-seasonal track, not a Christmas or New Year's track.
     
    Murray and newvillefan like this.
  19. You must not listen to very many Christmas albums then. Here's an excerpt from Wiki:

    The lyrics in "My Favorite Things" are composed of holiday and Wintertime imagery. Examples in the lyrics are: "bright copper kettle" (making warm beverages), "warm woolen mittens", "brown paper packages tied-up with strings", "sleigh bells", "snowflakes", "silver white winters melting" – which has made the song popular for the Christmas / Holiday season. The song has been recorded by numerous artists, including:


     
  20. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    I do listen to a number of Christmas albums and "My Favorite Things" only appears on the Carpenters Old-,Fashioned Chrilstmas.
     
  21. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
    I listened to this album twice in the past 2 days and I still think it's a great Christmas album. Today while I was out shopping the radio interview of Karen describing each song from Christmas Portrait came on and there was one part where she was describing how they over recorded because there were so many great Christmas songs. Then she mentioned Little Alter Boy and it made me realize she said that and the fans heard that they recorded it but didn't make it to Christmas Portrait. It was like she wanted us to hear all these other songs they recorded but there were too many great Christmas songs to fit on Portrait. She also mentioned how she could sing these songs any time of the year.
     
  22. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    Hard to believe, but in a few days it will be the New Year. Karen's song sounds real nice right now. It makes me wonder, did Karen ever record "Auld Lang Syne"?
     
  23. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    No unfortunately she never did record that. What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? is my favourite of all the Christmas songs she recorded.
     
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  24. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    I wonder, had Karen lived, if the Carpenters might've used "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" to kick off an album centered around New Year's?
     

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