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

How Would You Rate This Album?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 10 21.7%
  • ****

    Votes: 23 50.0%
  • ***

    Votes: 11 23.9%
  • **

    Votes: 1 2.2%
  • *

    Votes: 1 2.2%

  • Total voters
    46

Chris May

Resident 'Carpenterologist'
Thread Starter
Staff member
Moderator
“AN OLD-FASHIONED CHRISTMAS”

oldfashionedxmas.jpg

Catalogue Number: A&M SP-3270, SP-5172, SP-9107 (Canada)
Year of Release: 1984
Chart Position: U.S.: #190
Album Singles: "Little Altar Boy"/"Do You Hear What I Hear"
Medium: Vinyl/Cassette/CD (Japan, U.S. Christmas Collection, Disc 2)

Track Listing:

1.) It Came Upon A Midnight Clear :43 (Sears/Willis)
2.) Overture 8:13

a. Happy Holiday (Berlin) Irving Berlin Music Company, adm. by Williamson Music Company (ASCAP)
b. The First Noel (P.D. Trad. Old English Carol)
c. March Of The Toys (Herbert) Warner Bros., Inc. (ASCAP)
d. Little Jesus (P.D. From the Oxford Book Of Carols)
e. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (Connor) Jewel Music Publishing Co., Inc. (ASCAP)
f. O Little Town Of Bethlehem (P.D. L.H. Redner) Longitude Music Co. (BMI)
g. In Dulce Jubilo (P.D. 14th Century German melody)
h. Gesu Bambino (The Infant Jesus) (Yon) Beam Me Up Music (ASCAP)
i. Angels We Have Heard On High (P.D. Trad. French Carol)


3.) An Old-Fashioned Christmas 2:15 (Carpenter/Bettis)
4.) O Holy Night 3:10 (P.D. Adolphe Adam/Adapted by Richard Carpenter)
5.) (There’s No Place Like) Home For The Holidays 2:36 (Allen/Stillman)
6.) Medley 3:43

a. Here Comes Santa Claus (Autry/Haldeman) Gene Autry's Western Music Publishing (ASCAP)
b. Frosty The Snowman (Nelson/Rollins) Chappell & Co. (ASCAP)
c. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (Marks) St. Nicholas Music Inc. (ASCAP)
d. Good King Wenceslas (P.D. John Mason Neale, Adapted by Richard Carpenter) Almo Music Corp./Hammer and Nails Music, adm. by Almo Music Corp.
(ASCAP)


7.) Little Altar Boy 3:43 (Smith)
8.) Do You Hear What I Hear? 2:53 (Regney/Shayne)
9.) My Favorite Things 3:53 (Rodgers/Hammerstein)
10.) He Came Here For Me 2:12 (Nelson)
11.) Santa Claus Is Coming To Town 4:04 (Gillespie/Coots)
12.) What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? 2:51 (Loesser)
13.) Selections from “The Nutcracker” 6:14 (P.D. Peter Illych Tchaikovsky, Adapted by Richard Carpenter)
a. Overture Miniature
b. Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy
c. Trepak
d. Valse Des Fleurs


14.) I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day 2:21 (Marks/Longfellow, Adapted by Johnny Marks)

Album Credits:

Conceived and Produced by Richard Carpenter
Lead vocals: Karen Carpenter and Richard Carpenter
Piano: Richard Carpenter
Arranged by: Peter Knight (#2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14), Richard Carpenter (#1, 11) and Billy May (#10)
Keyboards: Richard Carpenter & Pete Jolly
Upright Bass: Pete Morgan
Electric Bass: Joe Osborn
Drums: Ron Tutt & Barry Morgan
Harp: Skiala Kanga & Gayle Levant
Tenor Sax: John Phillips
Vocals: The O.K. Chorale Conducted by Dick Bolks, The English Chorale Conducted by Robert Howes, Karen & Richard Carpenter
Recorded at:
A&M Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA
Engineered by Roger Young, Ray Gerhardt and Robert De La Garza
EMI "Abbey Road" Studios
Engineered by Eric Tomlinson
Assistant: Allan Rouse
Mixed at:
A&M Recording Studios
Engineered by Roger Young
Assistants: Clyde Kaplan & Jim Cassell
Evergreen Studios
Engineered by John Richards
Assistants: Dave Marquette & Mike Hatcher
Mastered by Arnie Acosta at A&M Mastering Studios, Hollywood CA
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town Produced by Jack Daugherty and Richard & Karen Carpenter
Art Direction: Chuck Beeson
Album Design: Melanie Nissen
Illustration: Robert Tanenbaum
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Dedication:

This album lovingly dedicated to the memory of my late sister and friend Karen, who was extremely fond of both Christmas and Christmas music. - Richard Carpenter

© 1984 A&M Records, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
 
Last edited:

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
An unexpected treat in 1984 that was quite welcome in my house. No-one expected another Carpenters Christmas album, yet thanks to Richard's efforts, we got a pretty good one. It's a little light on Karen vocals, but like waiting for Santa Claus, the payoff is rewarding.

Harry
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Little Altar Boy, He Came Here For Me :Those two, in particular, move me to tears.
What Are You Doing New Years Eve: A Fine Standard, should be more widely known in this incarnation.
Home For the Holidays: Somewhat of a radio staple, now. Heard it this morning on the radio.
And, of course, One of my All-time favorites: Santa Claus is Coming to Town, absolutely unique.
The ending of Do You Hear What I Hear, "..and light!"...always a chill inducing moment.
Richard Carpenter did as much as he could do to give us an Old-Fashioned Christmas, and I thank him.
 

Dutch

Member
It's not a brilliant album in it's own right, I fact listening to this album you're left wondering when Karen will finally put in an appearance. It only has a few decent tracks by Karen on lead. Much better listening to Special edition of 'Christmas portrait' with songs added.
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
Strangely enough, the tunes from 'An Old-Fashioned Christmas' have grown to become my more favored Carpenters Christmas tracks. I can't speak highly enough of 'Do You Hear What I Hear', 'He Came Here For Me', 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town', and, of course, 'Little Altar Boy'.
 

ullalume

Well-Known Member
Being from the UK and getting into the Carpenters in the early '90's, you couldn't buy the individual albums until '96. In effect I grew up with the massive "special edition", and for that same reason my first overture experience was this one. . .and perhaps for that reason, just maybe, I prefer it to Portrait's overture. Yet again OK chorale comes second place, this time to the English Chorale.

A smashing album. . .of course not chock-full-of-perfection like Portrait, but still very good indeed.

And I think Richard's too hard on the cover artwork, I think it's fine. . .my main problem is that tan background. . .the picture itself looks good to me.
 

AM Matt

Well-Known Member
3 stars out of 5 stars for me BUT "Little Altar Boy" is a great song. Matt Clark Sanford, MI
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
In the 40th Box Set Liner notes for this album, Richard states that the duo over-recorded for Christmas Portrait,
his words: "...five, to be exact."
Here are Karen's vocal readings from the Old-Fashioned Christmas Sleeve:
1.) Home For the Holidays
2.) Little Altar Boy
3.) Do You Hear What I Hear
4.) He Came Here For Me
5.) What Are You Doing New Year's Eve
6.) I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
And,
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (obviously not part of the Portrait recording sessions, 1972/1974).

Also, Karen's vocals take up roughly 19 and 1/2 minutes. Richard's Additions amount to slightly over 27 minutes.
The LP is slightly over 46 minutes, thus we have Karen for roughly 43% of the album. Richard's additions the remainder.
Given the "scant attention" given Portrait by A&M Promotions (see Coleman), I am surprised Richard was surprised when
A&M told him this album would get no promotion. If A&M did little to support the first Christmas 'Hit' Album, no reason
to expect better treatment the second time around.

Just my two cents.
 

Rudy

ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ
Staff member
Site Admin
I took KC's tracks, and one Richard instrumental, and made my own "deluxe" edition which fits on a single CD. Came out really nice, although now I have no idea which box it is stored in. :D (And I guess it's my way of saying that the album is more than half filler, and those choral parts are...OK, I'll be polite and not say another word. :wink: ) Sadly I had to use that double CD edition which is drenched in digital reverb and sounds horrid. Would love to do it with the original releases but this album, I don't think, was ever released in its original mix on CD.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Listening this morning to An Old -Fashioned Christmas, from the Christmas Collection Package.
As I glance at the Album Sleeve for same, I am struck by how the two sides were sequenced:
Side One, after almost 14 and 1/2 minutes, we finally get Karen Carpenter singing.
This side contains 18 minutes of Richard Carpenter's music and nearly six minutes of Karen.
Side Two, much more palatable--as Karen's voice begins this side, and ends this side.
All in all, side two is roughly 11 and a half minutes of Karen, and 10 minutes Richard.
My observation from this rough analysis:
If the sequencing had been such that Karen's vocals began and ended side One (as in side two),
and the sides were split more evenly from Richard to Karen (as side two is almost 50/50),
the entire album would have flowed much nicer--in other words, re-sequence the entire album such that
equal time is distributed between Karen and Richard, one both sides.
And, this should render the cd-version easier to listen to; the entire album would simply alternate between
Karen's vocals and Richard's work,each with equal time.
Just my two cents, again.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
If it had been up to me, I'd have cut the Rudolph medley from side 1 (too many instrumental medleys!) and placed 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town' onto that side. That would have balanced the album out much better, leaving one medley on each side and three KC leads on side 1 and four leads on side 2.

1.) It Came Upon A Midnight Clear :43
2.) Overture 8:13
3.) An Old-Fashioned Christmas 2:34
4.) Santa Claus Is Coming To Town 4:04
5.) O Holy Night 3:31
6.) (There’s No Place Like) Home For The Holidays 2:13
7.) Little Altar Boy 3:43

25 mins (approximately)

8.) Do You Hear What I Hear? 2:53
9.) My Favorite Things 3:53
10.) He Came Here For Me 2:12
11.) What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? 2:51
12.) Selections from “The Nutcracker” 6:14
13.) I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day 2:21

22 mins (approximately)
 

aaflyer98

Well-Known Member
I took KC's tracks, and one Richard instrumental, and made my own "deluxe" edition which fits on a single CD. Came out really nice, although now I have no idea which box it is stored in. :D (And I guess it's my way of saying that the album is more than half filler, and those choral parts are...OK, I'll be polite and not say another word. :wink: ) Sadly I had to use that double CD edition which is drenched in digital reverb and sounds horrid. Would love to do it with the original releases but this album, I don't think, was ever released in its original mix on CD.
I also made a One CD Karen Carpenter Christmas
 

aaflyer98

Well-Known Member
As you can tell from my post above, I LOVE Karen's vocals on Old Fashioned Christmas. The problem is the other 47% of the album. Ok, some of RC's instrumentals are great but a little goes a long way on a Carpenters album. I know I know I know we are lucky to have the extra album.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
In the 40th Box Set Liner notes for this album, Richard states that the duo over-recorded for Christmas Portrait,
his words: "...five, to be exact."
Here are Karen's vocal readings from the Old-Fashioned Christmas Sleeve:
1.) Home For the Holidays
2.) Little Altar Boy
3.) Do You Hear What I Hear
4.) He Came Here For Me
5.) What Are You Doing New Year's Eve
6.) I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
And,
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (obviously not part of the Portrait recording sessions, 1972/1974).

Also, Karen's vocals take up roughly 19 and 1/2 minutes. Richard's Additions amount to slightly over 27 minutes.
The LP is slightly over 46 minutes, thus we have Karen for roughly 43% of the album. Richard's additions the remainder.
Given the "scant attention" given Portrait by A&M Promotions (see Coleman), I am surprised Richard was surprised when
A&M told him this album would get no promotion. If A&M did little to support the first Christmas 'Hit' Album, no reason
to expect better treatment the second time around.

Just my two cents.

When Richard says that they over-recorded for Christmas Portrait and he says to be exact there were 5 tracks they over-recorded, what were the 5 tracks? There were 6 with Karen, was one of these below, not recorded by Karen & Richard on the Christmas Portrait sessions?

1.) (There's No Place Like) Home For the Holidays
2.) Little Altar Boy
3.) Do You Hear What I Hear
4.) He Came Here For Me
5.) What Are You Doing New Year's Eve
6.) I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
^^My guess is that he didn't consider "Do You Hear What I Hear?" as a completed track. Wasn't there some problem with her first line, and Richard had to do it to fill out the song?

Harry
 

Chris May

Resident 'Carpenterologist'
Thread Starter
Staff member
Moderator
^^My guess is that he didn't consider "Do You Hear What I Hear?" as a completed track. Wasn't there some problem with her first line, and Richard had to do it to fill out the song?
She blew the first few lyrics by mumbling as she turned up to the microphone and given it was only ever a work-lead, Richard completed it. Funny story and even though I'd heard it before I'd asked him to explain it again in the interview. I'm so glad they did that track...one of my favorites :wink:
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
That makes sense he must not have considered "Do You Hear What I Hear?" as one of the five. Yeah I know about her flubbing up the first line and Richard finishing it. Richard does sound great on his vocal light and airy to match Karen's entrance. Regarding Karen messing up the first verse, it has always made me feel (and I could be wrong) that the rest of the track Karen seems to have compensated for the eror she made, meaning she just gave it her all and in the back of her mind saying yeah I flubbed the first part but watch what I can do with the rest of the track, simply brilliant reading.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
That makes sense he must not have considered "Do You Hear What I Hear?" as one of the five. Yeah I know about her flubbing up the first line and Richard finishing it. Richard does sound great on his vocal light and airy to match Karen's entrance. Regarding Karen messing up the first verse, it has always made me feel (and I could be wrong) that the rest of the track Karen seems to have compensated for the eror she made, meaning she just gave it her all and in the back of her mind saying yeah I flubbed the first part but watch what I can do with the rest of the track, simply brilliant reading.
It's a shame we lost the whole first verse just because she messed up the first line...I'd love to hear the outtake :laugh:
 

Someday

Active Member
I always felt that RC's lead on the first verse sounded great and intentional. It may have helped 'integrate' the two if he'd done some backing vocals on the subsequent verses.
 

Someday

Active Member
So, RC has stated how many Christmas tunes were left - he says "5 to be exact" (actually 6). Do we think this is accurate, or does he mean 5, what he considered to be, useable tracks? ... If this is correct, then there is obviously no alternative Ave Maria (Schubert), although why he didn't lift something from the TV specials is odd.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Here is the description regarding "Do You Hear What I Hear?"
from the Official Carpenter Webpage:
Technique 21
Q:On your recording of “Do You Hear What I Hear?” I have heard a couple of theories as to why your voice is heard on the lead in the first verse, then switch to Karen.
I also understand that this is somehow tied in with the incorrect lyric sung by the choir behind you in verse one.
Can you shed some light on this?
Richard Carpenter:
Karen would sing the work lead while we did the rhythm track and some of the orchestra backing. The beginning – right after the intro and the first part of the first verse, the track is from one take. It was then edited onto the bulk of another take; and, in the bit of track on the beginning of one take, Karen either misplaced her music or she was preoccupied, and ended up singing “hmm, hmm night wind to the little lamb…”, instead of “Said the night wind to the little lamb…. The only way I could do it, because it had “hmm hmm” was for me to sing, “Said the night wind to the little lamb, do you hear what I hear” and then continue it with Karen.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
I love that Richard does the first line. Makes Karen's amazing entrance even more powerful.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
The beginning - right after the intro and the first part of the first verse, the track is from one take. It was then edited onto the bulk of another take; and, in the bit of track on the beginning of one take, Karen either misplaced her music or she was preoccupied, and ended up singing “hmm, hmm night wind to the little lamb…”
If that's the case, I wonder why he didn't use the other take?

....would pay $25.00 just to hear “hmm, hmm night wind to the little lamb…”

can I get an Amen?
 
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