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Holidays! THE OFFICIAL REVIEW: [Album] "CHRISTMAS PORTRAIT" SP-4726

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

How Would You Rate This Album?

  1. ***** (BEST)

    38 vote(s)
    79.2%
  2. ****

    9 vote(s)
    18.8%
  3. ***

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. **

    1 vote(s)
    2.1%
  5. *

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    “CHRISTMAS PORTRAIT”

    christmasportrait.jpg

    Catalogue Number: A&M SP-4726
    Date of Release: 10/13/78
    Chart Position- U.S.: #145
    Album Singles: "Christmas Song"/"Merry Christmas, Darling"
    Medium: Vinyl/Cassette/CD (West Germany/U.S. "Special Edition", Japan,
    U.S. Christmas Collection, Disc 1)/8-Track
    Track Listing:

    1.) O Come, O Come Emmanuel*** :28 (P.D. Arrg. & Adapted by Richard Carpenter)
    2.) Overture*: 4:38

    a. Deck The Halls (With Boughs Of Holly) / (P.D. Trad French Carol)
    b. I Saw Three Ships (P.D. Trad Welsh Carol)
    c. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Martin/Blane)
    d. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (P.D. Trad English Carol)
    e. Away In A Manger (Luther’s Cradle Hymn) / (P.D. Luther/Mueller/Spilman)
    f. What Child Is This? (Greensleeves) / (P.D. Will C. Dix)
    g. Carol Of The Bells (P.D. Trad Ukranian Carol)
    h. O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles) / (P.D. English version: Oakeley/Wade/Reai)


    3.) The Christmas Waltz* 2:15 (Cahn/Styne)
    4.) Sleigh Ride** 2:39 (Parish/Anderson)
    5.) It’s Christmas Time/Sleep Well, Little Children* 2:53 (Young/Stilman/Bergman/Klatzkin)
    6.) Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas** 3:55 (Martin/Blane)
    7.) Santa Claus Is Coming To Town* 1:05 (Giliespie/Coots)
    8.) The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)** 3:39 (Torme/Wells)
    9.) Silent Night* 3:19 (P.D. Orig. Music by Franz Gruber, Arrg. & Adapted by Peter Knight)
    10.) Jingle Bells* 1:10 (P.D. Orig Music: James Pierpont, Arrg. & Adapted by Peter Knight)
    11.) The First Snowfall/Let It Snow (Medley)* 3:35 (Webster/Burke) & (Cahn/Styne)
    12.) Carol Of The Bells* 1:39 (P.D. Trad Ukranian Carol, Arrg. & Adapted by Richard Carpenter)
    13.) Merry Christmas Darling+*** 3:05 (Pooler/Carpenter)
    14.) I’ll Be Home For Christmas** 3:48 (Gannon/Kent/Ram)
    15.) Christ Is Born* 3:13 (Charles/Bartolucci)
    16.) Medley**: 5:31

    a. Winter Wonderland" (Smith/Bernard)
    b. Silver Bells" (Livingston/Evans)
    c. White Christmas" (Berlin)


    17.) Ave Maria* 2:35 (P.D. Original Music: Johann Sebastian Bach, Adapted by Charles Gounod, This arrg & adaptation by Peter Knight)

    Credits:

    Produced by Richard Carpenter
    Associate Producer Karen Carpenter
    Lead Vocals: Karen Carpenter and Richard Carpenter
    Arranged by Peter Knight*, Billy May**, and Richard Carpenter***
    Keyboards: Pete Jolly and Richard Carpenter
    Bass: Joe Osborn
    Drums: Ron Tutt and Cubby O’Brien
    Guitars: Bob Bain, Tony Peluso and Tommy Tedesco
    Harp: Gayle Levant and Dorothy Remsen
    Oboe: Earl Dumler and John Ellis
    Tenor Sax: Bob Messenger
    Vocals: The Tom Bahler Chorale and Karen & Richard Carpenter
    Engineered by Ray Gerhardt, Roger Young and Dave Iveland
    Mastering Engineer: Bernie Grundman
    +"Merry Christmas Darling" Produced by Jack Daugherty
    Special Thanks to: Ed Sulzer
    Personal Management: Jerry Weintraub / Management Three
    Art Direction & Design: Tim Bryant / Gribbit
    Illustration: Robert Tenenbaum


    © 1978 A&M Records, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
     
    MARK KILLINER likes this.
  2. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    The most quintessential Christmas album of Christmas albums! Five stars all the way around!!
     
  3. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    Was there ever a better Christmas album made? I think not!

    When it comes to Christmas music, I prefer the secular to the religious (with the exception of "Ave Maria" and "Little Altar Boy"---no one does it better than Karen). I prefer the ballads ("I'll Be Home for Christmas") to the up-tempo ditties ("Sleigh Ride").

    When it comes to Carpenters' Christmas albums, I prefer Portrait to Old-Fashioned. I can do without the backing choir and much of the instrumentals (although Richard's proficiency is exquisite). Just give me Karen singing a sweet love song ("Merry Christmas Darling"), and there is joy in my world!
     
    BarryT60 and GaryAlan like this.
  4. Last year, I finally got around to the task of taking all of the tracks from CHRISTMAS PORTRAIT (the WG original mix, of course), and separating out the tracks, fixing fade-outs and eliminating segue overlap, so that the tracks could be randomly accessed on personal music players, without hearing annoying starts and ends.

    The tracks then went onto my yearly mega-Christmas compilation mixed in with all of my other favorite Christmas recordings for something that lasts well over 6 hours on one disc (WMA files). This year, as with many other years, the disc came with us to Chicago where it "debuts" on Thanksgiving Day. It's so much fun to hear these tracks separated out - almost as much fun as hearing the album intact and straight through.

    A brilliant piece of work, I tell ya.

    Harry
     
  5. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    I love it!! Where does one go to purchase this compilation set you speak of, Harry?! (LOL - this could be a moneymaker for you ya know) :phones::santawave:
     
    BarryT60 and Don Malcolm like this.
  6. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Playing the original vinyl, or my cassette tape (!), of 1978 Christmas Portrait
    is somewhat of a religious experience for me.
    Wonderful Christmas Album for the ages.
    Five stars.
     
  7. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    The first album of Christmas music played each year. And for good reason! It is the best holiday album ever, and next to Horizon, probably the Carpenters greatest achievement. There's not a single song I don't like.
     
    Jeff likes this.
  8. cam89

    cam89 Active Member

    It's an album that brings me such JOY and HAPPINESS! I remember the first time I heard it, in the Winter of 1988. I actually heard BOTH albums at the same time, as the twintape featured BOTH albums in it's entirety. I remember seeing it at K-Mart, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and it was around $13.99 which was an expensive price for a cassette! But Mom bought them for me for Christmas and I was thrilled beyond belief! Karen's voice captures the warmth, joy, pleasures of Christmas! No other singer does it for me....others do a good job...Sandi Patty, Amy Grant, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Boney M, Anne Murray, Barbra Streisand, Josh Groban....but Karen just adds something special to it....that looking forward to Christmas jitterbugs you get, knowing good times are on it's way....wrapped underneath the tree...
     
    Jamesj75 and Chris May like this.
  9. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Although I have always held a special place in my heart for celebrating Christmas,
    just knowing that Carpenters Christmas' songs will be heard by many millions, every Christmas season,
    adds special meaning--almost as if planned from 'on high'.
    That Voice and Christmas, truly the most wonderful time of the year!
     
    BarryT60 likes this.
  10. Dutch

    Dutch Member

    UK
    I don't celebrate christmas, infact it drives me nuts. Thank god I live alone so I don't have to pretend. But I do put on Anne murray, Crystal Gayle and of course the Carpenters xmas albums. It's the only time you can really play them without your neighbours thinking you've gone mad playing them in June!
     
  11. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    US
    The original release of this is the definitive version. I can't even listen to the tampered versions released on CD (except the original WG release :wink: ). I still can't get over how annoyed I was when I picked up that first "Special Edition" version, not expecting to hear what I did. I don't think I played it more than a couple of times.

    I spin this maybe once every few years. It's a great holiday program for sure--the sequencing is perfect, and it plays like a good "variety" program. So why don't I listen more? As a rule lately, I don't usually play Xmas music more than a couple of days out of the year (24th and 25th of December is about all I can take). Too repetitive, no matter who performs it. One or two versions of "Jingle Bells" or "Frosty" (even if they're instrumental) and I'm done for the year. Still, this album and maybe two dozen others are on my own private "must have" holiday music list, ones I never tire of hearing in the appropriate season. Definitely a keeper!
     
    Chris May likes this.
  12. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    I can't speak highly enough of the original 'Christmas Portrait'. It's just sheer perfection, which, of course, was Richard and Karen's vision....to make the best Christmas album ever. They succeeded in every way.
     
  13. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    K&R raised the bar so very high that I doubt anyone can achieve this level of product

    The classic itself!

    Jeff
     
  14. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    A newspaper review, December 21,1978 Eugene Register Guard:
    Carpenters' Christmas Portrait
    " Although the record store bins are bulging with Christmas albums, Karen and Richard Carpenter will gain plenty of attention
    with this excellent new release of all-time favorites. Just about every Christmas classic--such as Sleigh Ride, Have Yourself a Merry
    Little Christmas, Christmas Song, Carol of the Bells, White Christmas and Ave Maria--ever written gets a deft, light treatment either
    instrumentally, or vocally. Karen is in superb voice as she cheerfully slips through one delightful song after another, while Richard handles
    a fine ,full orchestra. Altogether the Carpenters do 28 songs that can be heard over and over without tiring. This album is one of the best
    of the Christmas bunch."

    Source:
    http://news.google.com/newspapers?n...BRWAAAAIBAJ&sjid=B-IDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3026,7027014
     
    BarryT60, A&M Retro and goodjeans like this.
  15. ullalume

    ullalume Well-Known Member

    Popped it on for the first time (this year. . .obviously), yesterday. A masterwork. The Tom Bahler Choir sound just swell. . .several steps above the OK Choral in my opinion, and only very occasionally do they grate. Favourite. . .I'll be home for Xmas. Both Portrait and I were born the same year, so another special place in my heart for it. 5/5 - easy.

    If I had to put 3 Carpenters albums in a capsule for future societies to see the duo's brilliance, it would be CLOSE TO YOU, AS4U, and this.
     
  16. Dutch

    Dutch Member

    UK
    Listening to Christmas music already, it's Decemeber the 4th!!!!
     
  17. AM Matt

    AM Matt Well-Known Member

    5 stars out of 5 stars!! Great album!! I also had that on 8 track which the song "Jingle Bells" (program 2) is repeated again. Matt Clark Sanford, MI
     
  18. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    I met k and r on feb 27, Feb XMAS PORTRAIT ess released in Oct , 78...when did recording commence I wonder?
     
  19. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Good question, Jeff.
    The only mention of the Christmas album is Carpenters' Fan Club Newsletters#59 and #60:
    May 1978,#59: Good news, there will be a Christmas album this year. Richard used "Christ Is Born" from last year's special.
    July 1978,#60: The Christmas album is completed and work on the jacket is now in progress. You will recognize a few of the
    numbers from last year's special.
     
  20. ullalume

    ullalume Well-Known Member

    I would've been 12 days old!!! I was always under the impression they did the bulk of their recording between Jan-April. . .then Space Encounters.
     
  21. Guitarmutt

    Guitarmutt Active Member

    Many of these songs were staples on the radio growing up in Chicago. I first bought it at a side walk sale while in high school: 50¢ for the vinyl. I still love it!

    I just noticed today, Christmas Portrait is #1 on Amazon in the 'Traditional Pop' category. It's nice to see it selling once again!
     
    A&M Retro and Jamesj75 like this.
  22. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
    Simply put the best Christmas album ever made.

    I was watching this video below (it's in excellent quality) from the tv special and there are so many songs still in the vaults, I wish Richard (before he retired for good) had released audio tracks to Angel in the Christmas Play, Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful) and Stille Nacht with the latter 2 featuring Karen in a different type harmony, Karen sounds incredible on these tracks, so nice to hear her blending harmony. I can almost tone out the others singing and just hear her harmony yet they all sound so great together. These would have been welcome tracks added to some compilation yet at this point we will never get them released. So sad.

     
  23. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
    Here is a video creation by artist Chris Tassin that is SO worth repeating this season, he did such an excellent job at visuals for this holiday classic song. I love this, thanks Chris if your out there!!!!

    Watch it in 1080p resolution, it's breathtaking!!

     
    BarryT60 likes this.
  24. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    As I listen this morning (from cd Christmas Collection), some thoughts:

    I only noticed today that the tiny photo of Karen and Richard that Santa is using in order to paint the larger
    'portrait' of Carpenters, is reversed from the larger 'portrait'. (small: Richard on Karen's right, large: Richard on Karen's left).

    Outside of Merry Christmas, Darling, the only other arrangement of Richard's is O Come, O Come Immanuel
    Is Bob Messenger used for tenor sax on anything but Merry Christmas, Darling ?

    Billy May should have been used much more. (IMHO).

    One complaint--
    forgive me!--
    The piano used on the segue from White Christmas to Ave Maria should be
    restored to its original incarnation on the vinyl album.
    (
    Well, technically, that makes two complaints for me: shed the choir on Ave Maria)

     

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