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

How Would You Rate This Album?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 11 21.6%
  • ****

    Votes: 25 49.0%
  • ***

    Votes: 13 25.5%
  • **

    Votes: 1 2.0%
  • *

    Votes: 1 2.0%

  • Total voters
    51

Simon KC1950

Well-Known Member
Do you notice when Karen sings chance the second time there is no audible ce on the end of chance. I often wonder why Richard didn't dub an Sss sound.

Not until I read it on here. Listened to it many many times and never noticed it. Clever how our brain can just complete something for us without noticing it.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Is there anywhere we can find this officially confirmed. It's strange that every other studio album has a solid known release date except this one.
“From The Top” & “The Essential Collection” liner notes under ‘Santa Claus is Coming To Town’.

An Old Fashioned Christmas -released October 26, 1984

Same place as the release date for CP.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I had disc 2 of the PBS Singles set on in the truck today, and the single version of “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Toen”, and I was noticing how dated sounding the single version was sounding, and to me that dated sound seemed to come from the technical aspects. Sure the sax solo wasn’t as smooth and sounded like the sax player was walking down a flight of stairs while recording it, there seemed to be a datedness to the recording and mixing. Almost like the sax and drums were recorded in mono and then mixed into a stereo master. And it sounded like a few other instruments were either recorded in mono or mixed down to mono. Of course in 72 & 74, the Carpenters were probably recording on 16-track tape vs probably a transfer to 24-track in 1984.

Whereas, from what I remember and I’ll check out Sunday, the re-recorded sax was done in stereo in 1984 and that technical datedness is gone and the 84 remix sounds timeless.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Whereas, from what I remember and I’ll check out Sunday, the re-recorded sax was done in stereo in 1984 and that technical datedness is gone and the 84 remix sounds timeless.

I’m wondering if any of the various collections containing this track have any liner notes or details of what exactly was re-recorded in 1984. I couldn’t find anything on the official site. Richard has been known to re-record the piano and other parts in stereo when remixing other tracks, so it may not just be the sax that was redone.
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
I’m wondering if any of the various collections containing this track have any liner notes or details of what exactly was re-recorded in 1984. I couldn’t find anything on the official site. Richard has been known to re-record the piano and other parts in stereo when remixing other tracks, so it may not just be the sax that was redone.

It seems a few other changes were made as well as the sax solo in 1984, including new piano, as you guessed. From an interview with Richard courtesy of Simon KC1950's very informative Facebook page:

This album also contains Karen's and my "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" , originally released in 1974. It was my mistake to not include this track in "Christmas Portrait", and we recieved much mail bemoaned this omission. I did a little alteration on it though. The vocals in the intro never sounded right to me; it turned out a third harmony had never been recorded. I also added Rhodes EP, and asked John Phillips to record a new sax solo. The remix definitely opens the recording up more than the original, and is more in keeping sonically with the rest of the album.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
Call me an originalist, but I'll take the single version of "Santa..." every time. The '84 version sounds too different - it's too obvious that it's a re-record/remix.

Richard mentions the vocals in the opening - and actually it's the backing vocals throughout the piece - his original mix had those voices coming from both sides of the stereo, making them sound bigger, more important. In the remix, they're diminished, mixed to mono, and buried in the mix.

He's done similar things on other remixes, effectively mono-izing the backing vocals and burying them in the mix. "Rainy Days" is one for sure. I prefer the backing vocals opened up to coming from all over - it gave them the bigger group sound that I loved.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I like the more stereo versions as well, but as I was saying the single mix sounds dated from a technical standpoint, kind of like how “Heather” sounds really dated with a mono piano leading a stereo instrumental.
 

Simon KC1950

Well-Known Member
I like both versions too. I for one LOVE the fact Richard has given us many remixes. I like the choice of listening to songs in a slightly different way. I naturally hear the 1984 remixed version more because it is more widely available. I think I'm going to dig out my 45 UK single of "Santa Claus..." right now to give it a spin!
 

Simon KC1950

Well-Known Member
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I like both versions too. I for one LOVE the fact Richard has given us many remixes.

Can anyone think of another artist that has been the subject of such an extensive, bespoke remix exercise over such an extended period of time? Because I can’t.
 

Simon KC1950

Well-Known Member
First time I've ever seen or heard of this.

"Merry Christmas Darling" - a 1974 compilation album by various A&M artists. It of course opens with the Carpenters classic. It probably would be a much more sought after album by Carpenters fans if it also had their new single "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town". Still a nice little piece.

Here are the notes from the album referencing the Carpenters:
"A strong whisper going the rounds in America is that although there's still a lot of mileage left in Bing Crosby's classic 'White Christmas', a young man called Richard Carpenter is proving a serious rival to the old crooner's popularity via 'Merry Christmas Darling', a suitably festive love song he composed and sings with sister, Karen - as the Carpenters."

Link to Discogs page: Various - Merry Christmas Darling

 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
That's a good LP collection, sort of a slightly more modern version of the old SOMETHING FESTIVE with some interesting differences. The two Herb Alpert tracks on SOMETHING FESTIVE were slightly altered from their versions on Herb's CHRISTMAS ALBUM, but appear in their normal versions here. In fact, to make this a 2-LP set, they included nearly all (8 of 10) of the tracks of CHRISTMAS ALBUM are found here.

And they eliminated the Burt Bacharach track ("The Bell That Couldn't Jingle) and included Herb's version instead. Added here are a few rarities in the Shawn Phillips track, a Simpatico version of "Aranjuez", and a Gallagher & Lyle track that really has nothing to do with Christmas. The BIG inclusion here is the Carpenters track. It's the original single version, of course.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Can anyone think of another artist that has been the subject of such an extensive, bespoke remix exercise over such an extended period of time? Because I can’t.
The closest that I can think of are the Beach Boys, since they’ve had a number of their early hits that were originally mixed in mono from their 3 & 4 track masters (and in the 60’s released in duophonic) remixed in stereo using most of the original elements.
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
Call me an originalist, but I'll take the single version of "Santa..." every time. The '84 version sounds too different - it's too obvious that it's a re-record/remix.

Richard mentions the vocals in the opening - and actually it's the backing vocals throughout the piece - his original mix had those voices coming from both sides of the stereo, making them sound bigger, more important. In the remix, they're diminished, mixed to mono, and buried in the mix.

He's done similar things on other remixes, effectively mono-izing the backing vocals and burying them in the mix. "Rainy Days" is one for sure. I prefer the backing vocals opened up to coming from all over - it gave them the bigger group sound that I loved.

Richard definitely marginalized the background vocals on ‘I Won’t Last A Day Without You’ on the ‘80s remix and I could never figure out why. I wonder if there was too much hiss on the source tape that bugged him during the time of remixing? He definitely embraced the compact disc from day one, so maybe that was the reason.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
Of Carpenters' Christmas songs, this album contains more of my favourite than 'Christmas Portrait' - although I like 'Christmas Portrait', too. I think every song with a vocal by Karen on this album is a favourite.

Incredible how many great recordings were left over from the original project.
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
Of Carpenters' Christmas songs, this album contains more of my favourite than 'Christmas Portrait' - although I like 'Christmas Portrait', too. I think every song with a vocal by Karen on this album is a favourite.

Incredible how many great recordings were left over from the original project.

For me it's a mixture. I love 'He Came Here For Me' and 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town', I like (to varying degrees) 'Little Altar Boy', 'What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?' and 'Home For the Holidays', but I don't like 'Do You Hear What I Hear' or 'I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day' - the latter in particular is a dreary performance.
 

Someday

Well-Known Member
Simon, were the notes you posted online (relating to AOFC) come from the 40th Ann box set? If not, it would be great to see these ...
 

Simon KC1950

Well-Known Member
Simon, were the notes you posted online (relating to AOFC) come from the 40th Ann box set? If not, it would be great to see these ...

If it was from the post a few days ago then yes it was from Book 15 "An Old Fashioned Christmas" of the 40th Anniversary Box set.

It has always bugged me that they numbered the albums chronologically except the two Christmas albums put towards the end between As Time Goes By (13) and Gold: Greatest Hits (16) 14 and 15.

Why did they do that?

I rebelled and rearranged it in order properly, so the numbers read ...7,8,14,9,10,15,11... :laugh:
 

Someday

Well-Known Member
I actually think AOFC is fine as it is, but maybe one more RC lead would have been great. An inner-sleeve with lyrics and a festive photo would have completed the look. Richard's opening verse for "Do You Hear What I Hear?" really adds to the old-fashioned Carpenters flavour.
 
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