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

How Would You Rate This Album?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 13 22.4%
  • ****

    Votes: 28 48.3%
  • ***

    Votes: 15 25.9%
  • **

    Votes: 1 1.7%
  • *

    Votes: 1 1.7%

  • Total voters
    58
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.
Oh, man, that's painful. We were SO CLOSE to getting Karen's lead on 'O Holy Night'....the perfect song for her in every way.
 
No! Can't believe it came so close. I wonder if she ever rehearsed it? Then again, her rehearsals were great enough to record, so maybe not.
 
@Chris May, do you know why this album wasn’t released on CD until (I think) it was presented as Christmas Collection, disc 2?

I see it was released on CD in Japan, never in the U.S. (except the aforementioned). I find it a shame, because many of these songs (that feature Karen’s voice) are a pleasure to listen to, as are Richard’s instrumental orchestrations.
 
@Chris May, do you know why this album wasn’t released on CD until (I think) it was presented as Christmas Collection, disc 2?

I see it was released on CD in Japan, never in the U.S. (except the aforementioned). I find it a shame, because many of these songs (that feature Karen’s voice) are a pleasure to listen to, as are Richard’s instrumental orchestrations.
Because A&M at the time felt that the hybrid disc, Christmas Portrait—The Special Edition sufficed, as it contained a mashup of both albums and was selling quite well up until this point.
 
Because A&M at the time felt that the hybrid disc, Christmas Portrait—The Special Edition sufficed, as it contained a mashup of both albums and was selling quite well up until this point.
I suppose you’re right! For me a highlight is the 1984 remix of the Santa Claus single. Do you know, was the single version on “Complete Singles” a tape transfer or a needle drop?
 
I totally agree Cuyler.
It still bothers me that this album was referred to as a budget release. It has never got the recognition that it deserves. It was nice that Japan gave us this as a stand-alone CD in the box sets.
Discogs shows that Japan released "An Old Fashioned Christmas" CD three times, with two of them being on SHM-CD. I hope to get my hands on a copy one day.
Offhand, if I recall, it was pulled from the ‘74 mix tape.
Thanks for the answer! I couldn't tell, because the sound is sharper than the 1984 remix, but I didn't hear any gravelly vinyl noises.
 
Yes, the Complete Singles version of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" was sourced from a UK tape I believe, unlike the Japanese Single Box version which was a needledrop. Mr. Lubinsky continues to tell us that "Calling Occupants (edit)" was also sourced from tape, but it's clearly a needledrop, and identical to the Japanese Single Box.
 
Yes, the Complete Singles version of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" was sourced from a UK tape I believe, unlike the Japanese Single Box version which was a needledrop.
England has long been the go-to source for Carpenters mixes, as they have a much more consistent cataloguing and preservation system.
 
Discogs shows that Japan released "An Old Fashioned Christmas" CD three times, with two of them being on SHM-CD. I hope to get my hands on a copy one day.

Thanks for the answer! I couldn't tell, because the sound is sharper than the 1984 remix, but I didn't hear any gravelly vinyl noises.
I didn't realize that the 2001 re-issue of An Old Fashioned Christmas from Japan just used the same CD from the 1996 Christmas Collection, the actual CD disc has the exact same label that says *Christmas Collection* An Old Fashioned Christmas on it with the same red and green lettering like it appeared in 1996.

It's really sad that this album never got a separate CD release in the USA. Yes it got released in 1996 but part of a collection and not a separate release. It's crazy when you think about it, from 1984 to 1996 it never got put on CD as it's own album. If it wasn't for Japan it would only be available on CD as part of a collection comp.
 
Late October 1984, I noticed this album taking up the entire end section of the racks at my record store. All of them had an orange sticker "value Priced". I picked one up, scratching my head saying to myself, Karen is gone, Where did this come from? I think it was only $2.99. I quickly paid for it and ran home to see if it was real. After the fourth song started and still no Karen, my hopes began to fade. Then when "there's no place like home" began to play, suddenly all was well in the universe again. No matter how bad this album was, it was going to be great for me.
So How do I rate it? To be fair to Richard, you have to look at what he had to work with, then ask how well did he do. Looking at it that way, I think he did the best he possibly could and then some. Karen's left over songs were a mixed bag of oddballs, old hymns and a new years song, none on them were very upbeat. How do you make a cheerful Christmas album out of that? His opening verse was great. The overture was great, included singing (even some Richard) and was longer because it had to be to fill the album space. Excellent album title and "Old Fashioned Christmas" song reminiscent of a "Yesterday once more" type of theme. He could have made a reprise of this to close out the album. Karen's vocals on theses songs are probably a little better than "Portrait" in terms of demonstrating her vocal skills. Richards Instrumentals are fantastic. "My favorite things", not Christmassy for me, I was already 17 in 1967 when Andy Williams did it and Barbara Streisand made her amazing version. But it has been part of most peoples Christmas since then. Richard went way out of his way to give us this album and I am glad he did. Not as good as Portrait but a great second act.
 
Who is playing piano on the track, My Favorite Things? It is really good!! The notes state keyboards by Richard Carpenter and Pete Jolly. Which one is playing on this track?

It’s always bugged me that we don’t really know how much piano playing is Richard’s and how much is another keyboardist. The same can be said for Christmas Portrait, both are credited on keyboard but how do we know which is playing when?
 
My guess is the "My Favorite Things" was played by Richard, and that Pete Jolly's keyboards were used on the tracks where the piano was background behind Karen. This track is pretty much a piano piece backed by orchestra, and I can't imagine Richard would have included it if it was all Pete Jolly.
 
My guess is the "My Favorite Things" was played by Richard, and that Pete Jolly's keyboards were used on the tracks where the piano was background behind Karen. This track is pretty much a piano piece backed by orchestra, and I can't imagine Richard would have included it if it was all Pete Jolly.
Recorded in '84, Richard played the piano on "My Favorite Things."

As far as the question regarding Pete vs. Richard, Pete was one of Billy May's guys who was hired in November of '77 when the first handful of Christmas recordings were being cut for the first Christmas TV special. The only exception was the (Fender Rhodes) electric piano track on "Sleigh Ride," which is played by Richard.

When Peter Knight came aboard in late-November/early December to continue arranging and conducting the rest of the sessions for what would become the Christmas Portrait album (released the following year), Pete continued playing on a number of the recordings where the keyboards weren't featured, since he was already part of the orchestral ensemble. Not to mention, Richard didn't really want to be bothered with much beyond the overseeing of the production and some occasional keyboard work and vocal overdubs.

Incidentally, I have the contracts with the names of every musician who played on (just about) every Carpenters recording. I'd contemplated including this information in the discography section of The Musical Legacy, but that would have taken more time (and real estate) than we had to get the project delivered by deadline.

Should there ever be a question on a particular recording that seems "unsolvable," I'm happy to go into the archives and look something up. :)
 
Recorded in '84, Richard played the piano on "My Favorite Things."

As far as the question regarding Pete vs. Richard, Pete was one of Billy May's guys who was hired in November of '77 when the first handful of Christmas recordings were being cut for the first Christmas TV special. The only exception was the (Fender Rhodes) electric piano track on "Sleigh Ride," which is played by Richard.

When Peter Knight came aboard in late-November/early December to continue arranging and conducting the rest of the sessions for what would become the Christmas Portrait album (released the following year), Pete continued playing on a number of the recordings where the keyboards weren't featured, since he was already part of the orchestral ensemble. Not to mention, Richard didn't really want to be bothered with much beyond the overseeing of the production and some occasional keyboard work and vocal overdubs.

Incidentally, I have the contracts with the names of every musician who played on (just about) every Carpenters recording. I'd contemplated including this information in the discography section of The Musical Legacy, but that would have taken more time (and real estate) than we had to get the project delivered by deadline.

Should there ever be a question on a particular recording that seems "unsolvable," I'm happy to go into the archives and look something up. :)
This would have been valuable information for the book. Maybe you could include it in a 2nd pressing.
I’m happy to hear that was Richard on MFT, it’s great piano playing and one of my favorite from AOFC.

So Pete Jolly would have played on more tracks on CP than Richard? Or are they both playing together on certain tracks? It would have been nice to know who played on each track.

Maybe they were both credited so as to hide the fact that Richard didn’t play much on CP due to his issue.
 
Maybe they were both credited so as to hide the fact that Richard didn’t play much on CP due to his issue.
Richard would have been credited regardless because he did contribute to several tracks (“Carol of the Bells,” “Merry Christmas, Darling,” “Ave Maria,” “Sleigh Ride”). If anything, they would have left Pete’s name off of the credits if the intention was to steer people away from suspicion.
 
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The song, “An Old Fashioned Christmas” was this newly written in 1984 or would Karen have been familiar with this as something for the next Christmas album? I know it wasn’t recorded while Karen was alive but was it a track they knew they wanted to record? Or was it created in 1984 to help fill out the album?
 
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