• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are now available. The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy can be ordered here. A big thanks to the authors and Richard Carpenter for their tremendous effort in compiling this book! Also, the new solo piano album Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is available for ordering here.

Christmas Q&A questions submission

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
Hi all! Is everyone is ready for Thanksgiving? I know I sure am! :)

I'm planning to do a Christmas-themed Carpenters Q&A and thought I'd open it up for any questions some of you may have regarding the duo's Christmas catalog on the whole that were never answered publicly.

I'll probably start production on it in about a week, and plan to use some of the rare resources I have from my archives to help support the piece.

Thanks, and I hope everyone has a very blessed Thanksgiving!

Chris
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
As a radio employee, I was fairly current on the record industry goings-on. And yet, my friends were able to surprise me with a gift of the CHRISTMAS PORTRAIT album. Was there not much advertising prior to release?
 

GDBY2LV

Well-Known Member
Great question Harry. I would like to know what total sales are for Christmas Portrait, Old Fashioned Christmas, and the 3 singles are. Plus how many copies of the Time Life cd were pressed? It’s become kind of rarer item, with some very different remixes on it. Thank you Chris.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
I still can’t really understand why the record label treated An Old Fashioned Christmas so poorly. This was a release Richard worked very hard to get out for the fans and was right after Karen passed away. I would think the record label would want full marketing, proper inner sleeve and get behind this release full on.

I always thought the artist got to see what the album and inner sleeves material la would look like prior to release. Did that not happen?

At what point did Richard find out that this was not going to get a respected release like all prior Carpenter releases. Why was this handled so poorly from the record label. I thought I remembered reading or hearing that Richard said if he knew it wasn’t going to be released properly with inner sleeve artwork and lyrics he never would have released it. None of this seems right to me and quite frankly never understood it since they were both superstars and Karen deserved better from the record label on this release.
 
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Kyle Thomas

Well-Known Member
Can you provide any update at all on the 'updated audio' edition of a Christmas release in the future?

Is it possible we might ever see studio releases of some of the material recorded for the Christmas specials? (The Perry Como duet on "Sleep Well, Little Children", for example)
 

Jack A.

New Member
Hey, Chris! Hope you are doing well, and thanks for being willing to answer our many questions. 😂

I was wondering, does Richard ever plan to release another Carpenters album of Christmas music, such as the music from their specials or any unreleased work leads Karen may have left behind? Or has he ever thought about remastering the Christmas Portrait album in a similar fashion as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra album?

I greatly admire Richard and he is one of my main influences when it comes to writing and arranging my own songs, and it would be great to know that he is still working to provide us with the excellent music he has been for 53 years now.
 

ullalume

Well-Known Member
Brilliant Thread Chris.

Here's a few questions. I'm well aware that even Richard probably couldn't answer the below, but thought I'd ask anyway.

1)I remember Richard stating that had Karen lived they would have recorded 1 or even 2 more Xmas albums. Do you have any idea of when those albums would have been released. An Old Fashioned Christmas came out in Oct. '84....had Karen been around would this project still have come out around the same time, but obviously with loads more vocals by Karen recorded that year.

2) The Carpenters had a contract for 6 TV specials. I always had the impression that ABC execs would have been very aware of both the Carpenters' and the variety show format's rapidly diminishing popularity at the tail end of the decade and wanted to fulfil the contract as quickly as possible. I know the 5th TV special was supposed to come out in April of '79 and tie in with their planned 10th anniversary album. . .was the original plan to do their final show at Xmas '79 with a festive special.

Due to Karen's and Richard's personal issues the 5th TV special didn't come out until 1980. Was the final one due to be another Xmas special and tie in with a second xmas album. . .maybe in '83 or '84

3)Any details on the forthcoming remixed Christmas Album and what the track list would entail.

4)What was Karen's favourite Christmas song from the album.

Cheers Chris,

Neil
 

1969

Member
I’m new to the catalog of their Christmas offerings, so I don’t have any good questions to ask. But if you have any heartwarming, funny stories to tell about KC/RC that happened during the Christmas recording sessions would be nice.
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
Awesome idea, Chris! : )
Being that 'O Holy Night' is Richard's favorite Christmas song (also mine), I would think that there MUST be a Karen vocal recorded SOMEPLACE in the archives. It's certainly the perfect song for Karen and I'm wondering if anything was recorded around 1966-1968? Obviously, we'd all love to hear it.
 
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ullalume

Well-Known Member
Awesome idea, Chris! : )
Being that 'O Holy Night' is Richard's favorite Christmas song (also mine), I would think that there MUST be a Karen vocal recorded SOMEPLACE in the archives. It's certainly the perfect song for Karen and I'm wondering if anything was recorded around 1966-1968? Obviously, we'd all love to hear it.
I know. I'd kill to have her singing this song. And the fact that all the orchestrations were already laid down just ready for Karen to pop into a studio and sing for 3 minutes is soooo aggravating.
 

bill a

New Member
Just recieved the new 2022 Japanese re-issues of both "Christmas Portrait" and "An Old Fashioned Christmas" in jewel boxes. The audio content and mastering is identical to the 1996 "Christmas Collection" 2CD set, meaning that the "Christmas Portrait" album is the remixed version released on that 2CD set in 1996. The only song without a 90's remix is Merry Christmas Darling, which is the 1978 album version. Disappointing that we don't get the original mix, although Richard was quoted several years ago as saying the master tape of the album from 1978 has been compromised by age. The booklets have the credits pulled directly from the "Christmas Collection" set, split up for the two different albums, complete lyrics in english and japanese, and the Portrait booklet has color images of the inner sleeve as well. I have a copy of the rare German "Portrait" CD from the 1980's that has the original album in it's original mix, and it sounds fine, similar to the 'remastered classics' series from the late 90's.
 

Nick

Well-Known Member
Not exactly Christmas albums related but this was recorded and intended to be in their second Christmas TV special when Harold and Agnes dropped by the party, but was eventually cut. What happened to Won't You Play a Simple Melody? Richard mentioned in Yuka Ogura's famous "buried treasure" interview that he was fond of the track and Agnes had a really great voice and he'd put it out someday, but it did not appear on As Time Goes By or any other release yet. Any idea why he changed his mind and if this will ever be heard by fans? I'd love to hear Agnes' singing voice.
 

cam89

Well-Known Member
Not exactly Christmas albums related but this was recorded and intended to be in their second Christmas TV special when Harold and Agnes dropped by the party, but was eventually cut. What happened to Won't You Play a Simple Melody? Richard mentioned in Yuka Ogura's famous "buried treasure" interview that he was fond of the track and Agnes had a really great voice and he'd put it out someday, but it did not appear on As Time Goes By or any other release yet. Any idea why he changed his mind and if this will ever be heard by fans? I'd love to hear Agnes' singing voice.
I think this was played at the last Carpenters Anniversary gathering with Chris, Randy, Gayle and others....Agnes did indeed have a beautiful voice (in my honest opinion)....
 

CloseToYou10

Well-Known Member
Chris, could you provide some clarification on this comment from Karen's 1978 KIQQ Christmas Portrait interview regarding the Ave Maria. She says they had them both cut. Here is Karen's direct quote from the interview:

"The Ave Maria - we were going back and forth between the Bach/Gounod version and the Schubert, and we had them both cut. When it came down to the last choice, we didn't have any more time to cut the other one. Richard felt he wanted to go with this one, which is the Back/Gounod, because it was less known, and we felt that even though they are both so gorgeous that this was just a touch classier."

It's a little confusing. Does she mean that they were both cut with a lead vocal or work lead but when it came down to it they didn't have any time to arrange and sweeten the Schubert version, or does she mean that the basic tracks were laid down for both but that there is no lead/work lead vocal on the Schubert? Thanks!
 

Geographer

Well-Known Member
Why is it that some years, Christmas Portrait (and Christmas Collection) are all over the stores and in other years you can't find it anywhere except on line?
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
I think this was played at the last Carpenters Anniversary gathering with Chris, Randy, Gayle and others....Agnes did indeed have a beautiful voice (in my honest opinion)....
I didn’t realize you were at that event. That was fun!
 

cam89

Well-Known Member
Oh no Chris I was not there. I saw a clip of it on youtube or somewhere! I wish I had been able to go. I love anything Carpenters!!!
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
If you guys want a good chuckle, Richard had no idea until last year that the original album mixes were released on CD in West Germany!
I’d be curious to know why it was brought to his attention that he wasn’t aware of this? Did someone send him an early Christmas gift, the German CD of Christmas Portrait? :laugh:

Maybe you can tell us the scoop in your segment.

You may need to make it a 2 hr episode. :winkgrin:

I think I asked this before last year but I’ll ask again. I’d love for you to play a clip of MCD from the BF show and tell us how she performed this live. Did she have an earpiece in her ear? What was she hearing when she sang this and why does it sound like it’s been slowed down a tad?

I think I remember you or someone saying it’s still at the same speed but to my ears she lingers on certain words and places embellishments on phrases which feels like the song is slowed down a tad. I think it adds so much more emotion to the song.
 
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