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Perry Como 1974 Christmas special with the Carpenters coming to DVD

byline

Active Member
I'm curious as to what you mean by this, did you feel some of the tracks on CP were too languid and that they should have kept a more upbeat pace for the whole album?
"Too languid" is a very good description. But it's more than that. It's not just that the album lacked verve, IMO, but the arrangements lacked the imagination and creativity that the original version of "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town" (and also "Merry Christmas Darling") had. It felt to me as if they were going for nostalgia. It's beautifully done nostalgia, no question about that. But, at least to my ears, it lacked the originality that so much of their earlier work carried, and turned out to be a harbinger of what was to come.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
"Too languid" is a very good description. But it's more than that. It's not just that the album lacked verve, IMO, but the arrangements lacked the imagination and creativity that the original version of "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town" (and also "Merry Christmas Darling") had. It felt to me as if they were going for nostalgia. It's beautifully done nostalgia, no question about that. But, at least to my ears, it lacked the originality that so much of their earlier work carried, and turned out to be a harbinger of what was to come.
Read this fascinating article on CP and why it's so significant. I agree with the author that there are plenty of surprises and imagination in arrangements; the fact that it sounds so old fashioned (yet never stale) is part of its emotional effectiveness. You might be the only fan to feel ambivalent about it, haha

https://hyperallergic.com/263778/the-portrait-of-karen-carpenter/
 

byline

Active Member
Well ... "ambivalent" means I have mixed or contradictory feelings about it. I don't. For me (and of course this is only my opinion, for what it's worth), the album is nicely nostalgic, but not nearly as inventive as I would've liked. Especially going by the creativity of those earlier Christmas songs. I was expecting more of that, but we got something very different with the Christmas album.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
Well ... "ambivalent" means I have mixed or contradictory feelings about it. I don't. For me (and of course this is only my opinion, for what it's worth), the album is nicely nostalgic, but not nearly as inventive as I would've liked. Especially going by the creativity of those earlier Christmas songs. I was expecting more of that, but we got something very different with the Christmas album.
I guess I'm afraid to admit that someone doesn't like it. Like I said, I think for me and others the old fashioned sound is the big reason why it works and sounds timeless. Read that piece, you might see it a bit differently.
 

byline

Active Member
I guess I'm afraid to admit that someone doesn't like it. Like I said, I think for me and others the old fashioned sound is the big reason why it works and sounds timeless. Read that piece, you might see it a bit differently.
Thanks, I read it, and it really doesn't change my opinion. It's not that I don't like it; I just don't love it the way I wanted to ... and the way I'm pretty sure I would have if the album had followed the more energetic path I was hoping for. It's simply a matter of personal taste, and what I was expecting vs. what was actually released. Not a whole lot I can do to change that, especially since it goes back to my teens and my perceptions at that time. My emotional response is still the same all these years later. Maybe if it got the same treatment as the current Royal Philharmonic Orchestra release, my feelings my change because I'd be hearing it in a new context. But as it stands, I'm in the "like it, but don't love it" camp.
 

John Tkacik

Active Member
On my MSN homepage today under the "Lifestyle" section, Richard and Karen showed up in a slideshow article from Good Housekeeping called "What Christmas looked Like The Year You Were Born". It shows significant Christmas toys, movies, and other cultural events for the last century. The 1974 example shows them in a scene with Perry Como, Rich Little, and Peggy Fleming.
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
1974 was great for Carpenters fans who was able to see them live and hear Karen in the best voice of her career and see her enjoy the drums. With a number 1 album and chat popularity accumulating to record breaking statistics with fans all over the world looking forward to Horizon and enjoying Postman toward years end. With the great Santa Clause cover out for the holiday season with a double sided single including Merry Christmas Darling and with popularity polarized to its peak, they were perfect for Perry Como’s Christmas special and what a perfect blend of voices to celebrate the end of the year and to celebrate love of pop music. As fans, we all know this and anticipated the broadcast to see our favorite duo. It’s another benchmark that after almost 50 years it is remembered and noted in the publication of a highlight for the holiday season of 1974.
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
1974 was great for Carpenters fans who was able to see them live and hear Karen in the best voice of her career and see her enjoy the drums. With a number 1 album and chat popularity accumulating to record breaking statistics with fans all over the world looking forward to Horizon and enjoying Postman toward years end. With the great Santa Clause cover out for the holiday season with a double sided single including Merry Christmas Darling and with popularity polarized to its peak, they were perfect for Perry Como’s Christmas special and what a perfect blend of voices to celebrate the end of the year and to celebrate love of pop music. As fans, we all know this and anticipated the broadcast to see our favorite duo. It’s another benchmark that after almost 50 years it is remembered and noted in the publication of a highlight for the holiday season of 1974.
I left out the Boston Pops TV Special! The music seems contagious in whatever form it appears.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Just put this DVD on for the first time this year. It’s to bad that Richard and Karen or the other guests didn’t do anything during the Nativity story part.
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
Read this fascinating article on CP and why it's so significant. I agree with the author that there are plenty of surprises and imagination in arrangements; the fact that it sounds so old fashioned (yet never stale) is part of its emotional effectiveness. You might be the only fan to feel ambivalent about it, haha

The Portrait of Karen Carpenter
I will sometimes go way back and scan the old comments to these threads. I thoroughly enjoyed the article you posted. I especially agree with his take on Little Altar Boy.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
I will sometimes go way back and scan the old comments to these threads. I thoroughly enjoyed the article you posted. I especially agree with his take on Little Altar Boy.
I love doing that too. I reread the article a few times every December, it really illuminates the (retrospective) depth of the album and its cultural/emotional significance.
 
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