• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are in the pipeline! The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy will be available on November 16, 2021 and 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 being released January 14, 2022, and is available for ordering here.

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

How Would You Rate This Album?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 12 22.6%
  • ****

    Votes: 25 47.2%
  • ***

    Votes: 14 26.4%
  • **

    Votes: 1 1.9%
  • *

    Votes: 1 1.9%

  • Total voters
    53

tomswift2002

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.
Well we do have a Richard lead opening the album. But, yeah he could’ve recorded another Christmas lead, and maybe left “My Favorite Things” off.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Well we do have a Richard lead opening the album. But, yeah he could’ve recorded another Christmas lead, and maybe left “My Favorite Things” off.

There is a studio recording of (There's No Place Like) Home For The Holidays with Richard on lead vocal but Karen's version is obviously far superior. An extra track or two with vocals by either Karen or Richard would have gone a long way to reducing the sparsity of vocals that makes it obvious there wasn’t enough for a full album.
 

Geographer

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.

He could have put his recording (or a re-recording) of Toyland on here instead of one of the many piano instrumental medleys. Although I DO enjoy them, it's a bit heavy on them here. But I agree, AOFC is fine as is.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
He could have put his recording (or a re-recording) of Toyland on here instead of one of the many piano instrumental medleys. Although I DO enjoy them, it's a bit heavy on them here. But I agree, AOFC is fine as is.
Toyland or even Christmas Alphabet with Kristy McNichol credited as a guest singer would’ve worked. Or I’ve always wondered what Richard could’ve done with the Roger Miller classic Old Toy Trains as a Carpenters song with him on lead. Maybe he could’ve paired it with Toyland and Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town, in a trilogy like the RDAM-Superstar-GTL 69-73 trilogy.
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
Toyland or even Christmas Alphabet with Kristy McNichol credited as a guest singer would’ve worked. Or I’ve always wondered what Richard could’ve done with the Roger Miller classic Old Toy Trains as a Carpenters song with him on lead. Maybe he could’ve paired it with Toyland and Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town, in a trilogy like the RDAM-Superstar-GTL 69-73 trilogy.

I'm very glad 'Christmas Alphabet' never made it on to the album or any other release. It's a mawkish horror of a track!
 

Simon KC1950

Well-Known Member
I'm very glad 'Christmas Alphabet' never made it on to the album or any other release. It's a mawkish horror of a track!

I recently took a listen to some of Spike Jones' Christmas music and you can really hear the influence it had on the Carpenters. I was laughing just listening, I could picture Karen as a kid in Connecticut doing impressions of the characters in the songs. I could hear her singing "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" with the whistle. "Christmas Alphabet" and "Angel In The Christmas Play" are just two of Spike Jones' that the Carpenters did.
 

ChrisCarpenterCollecter

Well-Known Member
I recently took a listen to some of Spike Jones' Christmas music and you can really hear the influence it had on the Carpenters. I was laughing just listening, I could picture Karen as a kid in Connecticut doing impressions of the characters in the songs. I could hear her singing "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" with the whistle. "Christmas Alphabet" and "Angel In The Christmas Play" are just two of Spike Jones' that the Carpenters did.
I never heard about Carpenters version of “Angel In The Christmas Play”?
Can you tell me something about the recording?

Chris
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I’m still surprised that there has been no new Christmas compilation released since 1992. It would be a good place to release “Christmas Alphabet, Toyland & Make Me Laugh” and the TV version of “O Holy Night” . I had the “Christmas Memories” DVD in the other day and both Alphabet & Laugh were in stereo on there, while “O Holy Night”, was mostly stereo, the piano was clearly mono and Richard could’ve cleaned up the tape hiss a little more, but otherwise, it would be nice to have them on CD. And the multi-tracks, I would assume whether they are analog or digital, most likely exist so a stereo mix of “Toyland” is possible; and considering that Karen loved Richard’s vocals on “Toyland” it’s surprising that Richard hasn’t released it!
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
Single 45 release in the UK short review
Record Mirror Dec 6, 1975

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Daniel Perales

Well-Known Member
I started to play this album at work yesterday. Funny that people at first says that it sounds like a "Carpenters" album only to be confirmed when the first track with Karen lead vocals come on.


Danny
 

Jarred

Your resident analyst right around the corner.
I remember years ago hearing the Santa Claus/Frosty/Rudolph/Wenceslas Medley being played on the radio at work every year.
That’s so cool that they play the Carpenters instrumental version on a lesser known album.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
I've been too busy for at least the last ten Christmases to listen to much Christmas music. This weekend, I gathered up some Christmas CDs so they're ready, because it's going to be another busy season. (Yes, I'm a CD dinosaur). Favourites that I got together include Christmas albums by King's College, Cambridge, Vienna Boys' Choir, James Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, Aled Jones, Ray Charles, Elvis, Johnny Mathis, the King's Singers and, of course, Carpenters. And I just bought one by Josh Groban.

The galahs, or rose-breasted cockatoos, have arrived and are screeching as I write, as they pick grass seeds on the lawn outside my window. This sound always reminds me of Christmas. They used to gather in the huge gum tree near my childhood home around Christmas time every year and screech.

We're having uncommonly cold weather at the moment - a string of days around 14 degrees Celsius maximum, (about 57 degrees Fahrenheit). Usually, we would have had a few weeks over a hundred by now. Still, I understand that uncommonly cold weather is also a sign of global warming. (And, on that note, apologies to the rest of the world for our buffoon of a Prime Minister not agreeing to a lot of the world-wide actions to tackle global warming. I hope that the majority of Australians don't agree with him, on that).

Shouldn't worry about the cold weather. In the last couple of years, we've hit around 47 degrees Celsius, (116 Fahrenheit), so, I'm sure, it will be a scorcher later, over summer.

I've actually just listened to a Kings' College Choir Cambridge Christmas CD, so at least I've got one in before Christmas. 'An Old Fashioned Christmas' and 'Christmas Portrait' are also in the pile. Looking forward to more Christmas music before Christmas.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I must say, about the only thing about the original album that I find distasteful
is the lack of a true inner-sleeve and cheesy over-all artwork.
Be that as it may, I rather enjoy listening to the album !
Can't fail to notice arranging credits, as tracks arranged by:
Peter Knight (#2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14),
Richard Carpenter (#1, 11),
Billy May (#10).

Impossible to go astray with a trilogy of arrangers like that !
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
So, I have listened to An Old-Fashioned Christmas, from beginning to end,
more times than I can count this season. Let me say, it deserves more respect than it gets.
I really enjoy this album, it's sort of like a 'Christmas-y' LP of Now & Then:
Richard gives us the "Now" performances,
and Karen's vocals gives us the "Then" performances.
Separate and distinct, yet together again.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
I was listening to my audio rip from the Christmas Memories DVD today and Richard’s piano version of O Holy Night sounds so different than what appears on An Old Fashioned Christmas. Is this because there is no choir and that the piano was recorded in mono while the rest of the song is stereo? I have to say that I really enjoy this version from the tv show it really shows off his amazing piano playing and nice to just hear it like this simple but still moving to listen to without over producing the song.

So Richard played this on the 78 tv special but if the audience back then wanted to get this on record it would not have been available on Christmas Portrait as it wasn’t release till 84 right? Why would they opt to perform this on tv if the public wouldn’t be able to buy the song?
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
The piano is very different on the special as Richard’s pressing the keys a lot harder than he does on the 84 recording, and I think he kind of had to keep that piano in order to match with the video. Also on the special, the piano track is very noisy with tape hiss. But the background track is the same as the 84 track.

But don’t forget that besides O Holy Night, The Nutcracker Suite was also heard on the Christmas specials and wasn’t released until 1984.
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
I was listening to my audio rip from the Christmas Memories DVD today and Richard’s piano version of O Holy Night sounds so different than what appears on An Old Fashioned Christmas. Is this because there is no choir and that the piano was recorded in mono while the rest of the song is stereo? I have to say that I really enjoy this version from the tv show it really shows off his amazing piano playing and nice to just hear it like this simple but still moving to listen to without over producing the song.

So Richard played this on the 78 tv special but if the audience back then wanted to get this on record it would not have been available on Christmas Portrait as it wasn’t release till 84 right? Why would they opt to perform this on tv if the public wouldn’t be able to buy the song?
Incidentally, they are two entirely different recordings. The track from ‘84 was originally cut in ‘78 with the intention of having Karen’s lead overdubbed, which never happened, so Richard added the piano.

The performance version from the Christmas special was just that—a live performance intended for instrumental only, which actually varies some in the arrangement as well.
 
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