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Holidays! 🎄 THE OFFICIAL REVIEW: [Album] "CHRISTMAS PORTRAIT" SP-4726

How Would You Rate This Album?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 46 79.3%
  • ****

    Votes: 11 19.0%
  • ***

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • **

    Votes: 1 1.7%
  • *

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    58

Chris May

Resident 'Carpenterologist'
Thread Starter
Staff member
Moderator
“CHRISTMAS PORTRAIT”

christmasportrait.jpg

Catalogue Number: A&M SP-4726
Date of Release: 10/13/78
Chart Position- U.S.: #145
Album Singles: "Christmas Song"/"Merry Christmas, Darling"
Medium: Vinyl/Cassette/CD (West Germany/U.S. "Special Edition", Japan,
U.S. Christmas Collection, Disc 1)/8-Track
Track Listing:

1.) O Come, O Come Emmanuel*** :28 (P.D. Arrg. & Adapted by Richard Carpenter)
2.) Overture*: 4:38

a. Deck The Halls (With Boughs Of Holly) / (P.D. Trad French Carol)
b. I Saw Three Ships (P.D. Trad Welsh Carol)
c. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Martin/Blane)
d. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (P.D. Trad English Carol)
e. Away In A Manger (Luther’s Cradle Hymn) / (P.D. Luther/Mueller/Spilman)
f. What Child Is This? (Greensleeves) / (P.D. Will C. Dix)
g. Carol Of The Bells (P.D. Trad Ukranian Carol)
h. O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles) / (P.D. English version: Oakeley/Wade/Reai)


3.) The Christmas Waltz* 2:15 (Cahn/Styne)
4.) Sleigh Ride** 2:39 (Parish/Anderson)
5.) It’s Christmas Time/Sleep Well, Little Children* 2:53 (Young/Stilman/Bergman/Klatzkin)
6.) Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas** 3:55 (Martin/Blane)
7.) Santa Claus Is Coming To Town* 1:05 (Giliespie/Coots)
8.) The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)** 3:39 (Torme/Wells)
9.) Silent Night* 3:19 (P.D. Orig. Music by Franz Gruber, Arrg. & Adapted by Peter Knight)
10.) Jingle Bells* 1:10 (P.D. Orig Music: James Pierpont, Arrg. & Adapted by Peter Knight)
11.) The First Snowfall/Let It Snow (Medley)* 3:35 (Webster/Burke) & (Cahn/Styne)
12.) Carol Of The Bells* 1:39 (P.D. Trad Ukranian Carol, Arrg. & Adapted by Richard Carpenter)
13.) Merry Christmas Darling+*** 3:05 (Pooler/Carpenter)
14.) I’ll Be Home For Christmas** 3:48 (Gannon/Kent/Ram)
15.) Christ Is Born* 3:13 (Charles/Bartolucci)
16.) Medley**: 5:31

a. Winter Wonderland" (Smith/Bernard)
b. Silver Bells" (Livingston/Evans)
c. White Christmas" (Berlin)


17.) Ave Maria* 2:35 (P.D. Original Music: Johann Sebastian Bach, Adapted by Charles Gounod, This arrg & adaptation by Peter Knight)

Credits:

Produced by Richard Carpenter
Associate Producer Karen Carpenter
Lead Vocals: Karen Carpenter and Richard Carpenter
Arranged by Peter Knight*, Billy May**, and Richard Carpenter***
Keyboards: Pete Jolly and Richard Carpenter
Bass: Joe Osborn
Drums: Ron Tutt and Cubby O’Brien
Guitars: Bob Bain, Tony Peluso and Tommy Tedesco
Harp: Gayle Levant and Dorothy Remsen
Oboe: Earl Dumler and John Ellis
Tenor Sax: Bob Messenger
Vocals: The Tom Bahler Chorale and Karen & Richard Carpenter
Engineered by Ray Gerhardt, Roger Young and Dave Iveland
Mastering Engineer: Bernie Grundman
+"Merry Christmas Darling" Produced by Jack Daugherty
Special Thanks to: Ed Sulzer
Personal Management: Jerry Weintraub / Management Three
Art Direction & Design: Tim Bryant / Gribbit
Illustration: Robert Tenenbaum


© 1978 A&M Records, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
 

Jamesj75

Well-Known Member
Was there ever a better Christmas album made? I think not!

When it comes to Christmas music, I prefer the secular to the religious (with the exception of "Ave Maria" and "Little Altar Boy"---no one does it better than Karen). I prefer the ballads ("I'll Be Home for Christmas") to the up-tempo ditties ("Sleigh Ride").

When it comes to Carpenters' Christmas albums, I prefer Portrait to Old-Fashioned. I can do without the backing choir and much of the instrumentals (although Richard's proficiency is exquisite). Just give me Karen singing a sweet love song ("Merry Christmas Darling"), and there is joy in my world!
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
Last year, I finally got around to the task of taking all of the tracks from CHRISTMAS PORTRAIT (the WG original mix, of course), and separating out the tracks, fixing fade-outs and eliminating segue overlap, so that the tracks could be randomly accessed on personal music players, without hearing annoying starts and ends.

The tracks then went onto my yearly mega-Christmas compilation mixed in with all of my other favorite Christmas recordings for something that lasts well over 6 hours on one disc (WMA files). This year, as with many other years, the disc came with us to Chicago where it "debuts" on Thanksgiving Day. It's so much fun to hear these tracks separated out - almost as much fun as hearing the album intact and straight through.

A brilliant piece of work, I tell ya.

Harry
 

Chris May

Resident 'Carpenterologist'
Thread Starter
Staff member
Moderator
Last year, I finally got around to the task of taking all of the tracks from CHRISTMAS PORTRAIT (the WG original mix, of course), and separating out the tracks, fixing fade-outs and eliminating segue overlap, so that the tracks could be randomly accessed on personal music players, without hearing annoying starts and ends.

The tracks then went onto my yearly mega-Christmas compilation mixed in with all of my other favorite Christmas recordings for something that lasts well over 6 hours on one disc (WMA files). This year, as with many other years, the disc came with us to Chicago where it "debuts" on Thanksgiving Day. It's so much fun to hear these tracks separated out - almost as much fun as hearing the album intact and straight through.

A brilliant piece of work, I tell ya.
I love it!! Where does one go to purchase this compilation set you speak of, Harry?! (LOL - this could be a moneymaker for you ya know) :phones::santawave:
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Playing the original vinyl, or my cassette tape (!), of 1978 Christmas Portrait
is somewhat of a religious experience for me.
Wonderful Christmas Album for the ages.
Five stars.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
The first album of Christmas music played each year. And for good reason! It is the best holiday album ever, and next to Horizon, probably the Carpenters greatest achievement. There's not a single song I don't like.
 

cam89

Active Member
It's an album that brings me such JOY and HAPPINESS! I remember the first time I heard it, in the Winter of 1988. I actually heard BOTH albums at the same time, as the twintape featured BOTH albums in it's entirety. I remember seeing it at K-Mart, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and it was around $13.99 which was an expensive price for a cassette! But Mom bought them for me for Christmas and I was thrilled beyond belief! Karen's voice captures the warmth, joy, pleasures of Christmas! No other singer does it for me....others do a good job...Sandi Patty, Amy Grant, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Boney M, Anne Murray, Barbra Streisand, Josh Groban....but Karen just adds something special to it....that looking forward to Christmas jitterbugs you get, knowing good times are on it's way....wrapped underneath the tree...
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Although I have always held a special place in my heart for celebrating Christmas,
just knowing that Carpenters Christmas' songs will be heard by many millions, every Christmas season,
adds special meaning--almost as if planned from 'on high'.
That Voice and Christmas, truly the most wonderful time of the year!
 

Dutch

Member
I don't celebrate christmas, infact it drives me nuts. Thank god I live alone so I don't have to pretend. But I do put on Anne murray, Crystal Gayle and of course the Carpenters xmas albums. It's the only time you can really play them without your neighbours thinking you've gone mad playing them in June!
 

Rudy

ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ
Staff member
Site Admin
The original release of this is the definitive version. I can't even listen to the tampered versions released on CD (except the original WG release :wink: ). I still can't get over how annoyed I was when I picked up that first "Special Edition" version, not expecting to hear what I did. I don't think I played it more than a couple of times.

I spin this maybe once every few years. It's a great holiday program for sure--the sequencing is perfect, and it plays like a good "variety" program. So why don't I listen more? As a rule lately, I don't usually play Xmas music more than a couple of days out of the year (24th and 25th of December is about all I can take). Too repetitive, no matter who performs it. One or two versions of "Jingle Bells" or "Frosty" (even if they're instrumental) and I'm done for the year. Still, this album and maybe two dozen others are on my own private "must have" holiday music list, ones I never tire of hearing in the appropriate season. Definitely a keeper!
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
I can't speak highly enough of the original 'Christmas Portrait'. It's just sheer perfection, which, of course, was Richard and Karen's vision....to make the best Christmas album ever. They succeeded in every way.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
A newspaper review, December 21,1978 Eugene Register Guard:
Carpenters' Christmas Portrait
" Although the record store bins are bulging with Christmas albums, Karen and Richard Carpenter will gain plenty of attention
with this excellent new release of all-time favorites. Just about every Christmas classic--such as Sleigh Ride, Have Yourself a Merry
Little Christmas, Christmas Song, Carol of the Bells, White Christmas and Ave Maria--ever written gets a deft, light treatment either
instrumentally, or vocally. Karen is in superb voice as she cheerfully slips through one delightful song after another, while Richard handles
a fine ,full orchestra. Altogether the Carpenters do 28 songs that can be heard over and over without tiring. This album is one of the best
of the Christmas bunch."

Source:
http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1310&dat=19781221&id=vBRWAAAAIBAJ&sjid=B-IDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3026,7027014
 

ullalume

Well-Known Member
Popped it on for the first time (this year. . .obviously), yesterday. A masterwork. The Tom Bahler Choir sound just swell. . .several steps above the OK Choral in my opinion, and only very occasionally do they grate. Favourite. . .I'll be home for Xmas. Both Portrait and I were born the same year, so another special place in my heart for it. 5/5 - easy.

If I had to put 3 Carpenters albums in a capsule for future societies to see the duo's brilliance, it would be CLOSE TO YOU, AS4U, and this.
 

AM Matt

Well-Known Member
5 stars out of 5 stars!! Great album!! I also had that on 8 track which the song "Jingle Bells" (program 2) is repeated again. Matt Clark Sanford, MI
 

Jeff

Well-Known Member
I met k and r on feb 27, Feb XMAS PORTRAIT ess released in Oct , 78...when did recording commence I wonder?
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Good question, Jeff.
The only mention of the Christmas album is Carpenters' Fan Club Newsletters#59 and #60:
May 1978,#59: Good news, there will be a Christmas album this year. Richard used "Christ Is Born" from last year's special.
July 1978,#60: The Christmas album is completed and work on the jacket is now in progress. You will recognize a few of the
numbers from last year's special.
 

ullalume

Well-Known Member
I met k and r on feb 27, Feb XMAS PORTRAIT ess released in Oct , 78...when did recording commence I wonder?
I would've been 12 days old!!! I was always under the impression they did the bulk of their recording between Jan-April. . .then Space Encounters.
 

Guitarmutt

Active Member
Many of these songs were staples on the radio growing up in Chicago. I first bought it at a side walk sale while in high school: 50¢ for the vinyl. I still love it!

I just noticed today, Christmas Portrait is #1 on Amazon in the 'Traditional Pop' category. It's nice to see it selling once again!
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
Simply put the best Christmas album ever made.

I was watching this video below (it's in excellent quality) from the tv special and there are so many songs still in the vaults, I wish Richard (before he retired for good) had released audio tracks to Angel in the Christmas Play, Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful) and Stille Nacht with the latter 2 featuring Karen in a different type harmony, Karen sounds incredible on these tracks, so nice to hear her blending harmony. I can almost tone out the others singing and just hear her harmony yet they all sound so great together. These would have been welcome tracks added to some compilation yet at this point we will never get them released. So sad.

 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
Here is a video creation by artist Chris Tassin that is SO worth repeating this season, he did such an excellent job at visuals for this holiday classic song. I love this, thanks Chris if your out there!!!!

Watch it in 1080p resolution, it's breathtaking!!

 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
As I listen this morning (from cd Christmas Collection), some thoughts:

I only noticed today that the tiny photo of Karen and Richard that Santa is using in order to paint the larger
'portrait' of Carpenters, is reversed from the larger 'portrait'. (small: Richard on Karen's right, large: Richard on Karen's left).

Outside of Merry Christmas, Darling, the only other arrangement of Richard's is O Come, O Come Immanuel
Is Bob Messenger used for tenor sax on anything but Merry Christmas, Darling ?

Billy May should have been used much more. (IMHO).

One complaint--
forgive me!--
The piano used on the segue from White Christmas to Ave Maria should be
restored to its original incarnation on the vinyl album.
(
Well, technically, that makes two complaints for me: shed the choir on Ave Maria)

 
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