• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are now available. The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy 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 available for ordering here.

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

How Would You Rate This Album?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 55 79.7%
  • ****

    Votes: 13 18.8%
  • ***

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • **

    Votes: 1 1.4%
  • *

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    69

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
It started the year before with Passage. The logo on the bottom of the back cover instead.

Yeah but “Passage” was suppose to be a break from their other non-seasonal albums, otherwise the logo returned in 1981, and it was featured in all the TV specials.

For CP I think it was more artistic choice and what would be eye catching.
 

GDBY2LV

Well-Known Member
Unfortunately it was a bad break. Weird music choices, no pic of them on the cover. All an experiment with mediocre results as far as sales went. It AYGFLIALS couldn’t make it as a huge hit, then nothing on there could. They gambled, made the critics happy, but not the general public who didn’t buy into what they were trying to do on that album.
 

Murray

Well-Known Member
Been meaning to respond to your replies to my question why the original logo wasn’t used on the album. What I meant to ask was why didn’t they use the original logo on the front cover, across the top? Where did this “new”, alternate logo come from and why was it used? Maybe they didn’t think the sharp official logo went with the drawing on the cover. It would be fun to see what it would have looked like with the official logo.
For CP I think it was more artistic choice and what would be eye catching.
The Christmas Portrait cover was designed to look like the cover of a vintage "The Saturday Evening Post" magazine, complete with a Norman Rockwell style illustration. The font used for the word "Carpenters" is very similar to the font that the Post used for its masthead.

Christmas_Santa_with_Elves_-1.jpg
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
The Christmas Portrait cover was designed to look like the cover of a vintage "The Saturday Evening Post" magazine, complete with a Norman Rockwell style illustration. The font used for the word "Carpenters" is very similar to the font that the Post used for its masthead.

It’s nearly identical, right down to the Santa figure and the black bars across the middle with the album title on the left and record label name on the right. So now I know. Thanks Murray! :thumbsup:
 

ars nova

Well-Known Member
There was probably a mock-up done with a large logo, and I’m trying to picture it, and I think it would’ve made the cover too busy looking, or with Santa’s cap and the top of the easel, too much of the logo would’ve been hidden. As it is, part of the “T” is hidden by the easel. Also with how they have “Christmas Portrait” and “A&M” in between those two bars reminds me of old newspaper front pages from the 1800’s and early 1900’s.

Whereas you look at “An Old-Fashioned Christmas” and there is plenty of space above the picture. Again, the logo only intrudes on the picture frame a little bit.

during this time, there was a successful design company called GRIBBET that used this design theme on album covers. there were many, but i clearly remember a dolly parton cover.
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
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!
Did you really mention Crystal Gayle? Thank You! I thought maybe it was just me. I love Anne Murray of course, but there's something special in Crystal's voice that makes it so very listenable - it doesn't mesmerize like Karen's but it grabs your attention and holds it - it's what? So, light and sweet and, yes, pretty..when the song is good she's very right to hear...Hell, I'll even admit to liking Doris Day's voice on some Standards.
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
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!!

Yes, 6 years later I'll bring it back - it deserves to be "resurrected" - thanks much Rick for originally posting it - I realy enjoy Chris Tassin's work since I discovered it fairly recently on videos he did for "If We Try" and "If I Had You" off the Solo Album - this is in the same class, and it certainly doesn't hurt that it's used here in conjunction with my favorite Christmas song, and my very favorite version of it - in fact, my favorite from the album, just edging out the beautiful modern classic "Merry Christmas, Darling" - another perfect vocal by the girl with the golden voice, and nice tasteful choral work backing her up here.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
during this time, there was a successful design company called GRIBBET that used this design theme on album covers. there were many, but i clearly remember a dolly parton cover.

Is this the one you were referring to...?

0000781578.jpg


Released December 30, 1980 on RCA
Catalogue number AHL 1-3852
Allmusic.com confirms art direction was by Gribbet.

 
Last edited:

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
Funny how you find little nuances in songs you have heard countless times. Just the sheer breathtaking quality of Karen's vocals on I'll Be Home For Christmas. I was listening to it today. That first "you can count on me"". It's the "me" in that lower register. I never appreciated how utterly beautiful that sound is.
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
Funny how you find little nuances in songs you have heard countless times. Just the sheer breathtaking quality of Karen's vocals on I'll Be Home For Christmas. I was listening to it today. That first "you can count on me"". It's the "me" in that lower register. I never appreciated how utterly beautiful that sound is.
"Breathtaking" and "utterly beautiful" indeed! Among many other examples, her lower register reading on this 2nd verse from "Where Do I Go..." is amazingly gorgeous (especially the 2nd half with the words "bright" and "go") and always comes to my mind when talking about this aspect of her "basement-level" vocalizations:

Lover's plans
Like fallin' leaves on windy days
Flutter past and they fly away
I thought I knew you oh so well

And I need you now
I need to feel you in the night
I need your smile so warm and bright
I wish my mind could let you go


John
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
Funny how you find little nuances in songs you have heard countless times. Just the sheer breathtaking quality of Karen's vocals on I'll Be Home For Christmas. I was listening to it today. That first "you can count on me"". It's the "me" in that lower register. I never appreciated how utterly beautiful that sound is.
"Breathtaking" and "utterly beautiful" indeed! Among many other examples, her lower register reading on this 2nd verse from "Where Do I Go..." is amazingly gorgeous (especially the 2nd half with the words "bright" and "go") and always comes to my mind when talking about this aspect of her "basement-level" vocalizations:

Lover's plans
Like fallin' leaves on windy days
Flutter past and they fly away
I thought I knew you oh so well

And I need you now
I need to feel you in the night
I need your smile so warm and bright
I wish my mind could let you go


John
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
^^ YES!! I remember the first time I heard WDIGFH?, watching "The Karen Carpenter Story" that I was able to download from YouTube and I was blown-away at how good it was. And I thought how did this not make it on an album during Karen's lifetime? I play it a lot this time of year!
 

GDBY2LV

Well-Known Member
At 176 on iTunes, only $6.99. I think UMe is selling catalog albums at discounted prices so they have to pay less royalties after they were sued. Great for the consumer, not so for the artists.
 

Murray

Well-Known Member
At 176 on iTunes, only $6.99. I think UMe is selling catalog albums at discounted prices so they have to pay less royalties after they were sued. Great for the consumer, not so for the artists.
The thing is, nowadays, many more people subscribe to streaming services, than buy digital downloads from places like iTunes. That is, if they even feel the need to pay for music at all. UMe has pretty much all the Carpenters albums that are in print, including "Christmas Collection" and "Christmas Portrait: Special Edition", up on YouTube, where anyone can listen to them for free. They have to sell downloads for lower prices than they used to be able to get, if they hope to entice at least a few sales.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
Funny how you find little nuances in songs you have heard countless times. Just the sheer breathtaking quality of Karen's vocals on I'll Be Home For Christmas. I was listening to it today. That first "you can count on me"". It's the "me" in that lower register. I never appreciated how utterly beautiful that sound is.

Oh man, I’ve always noticed that “me” - she drops that word into a bottomless pit of despair. A perfect example of an artist truly bringing her own interpretation and storytelling gifts to a set of a very old standard lyrics. The whole performance is filled with such yearning and at times it sounds like she’s on the verge of tears.
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
Oh man, I’ve always noticed that “me” - she drops that word into a bottomless pit of despair. A perfect example of an artist truly bringing her own interpretation and storytelling gifts to a set of a very old standard lyrics. The whole performance is filled with such yearning and at times it sounds like she’s on the verge of tears.

'I'll Be Home for Christmas' is one of my favourites on the album - a lovely but quite bittersweet reading that stands out from the jollity of many of the other songs.

'Yearning' is exactly the right adjective to describe the performance. The last 'if only in my dreams' line says it all - the almost aching wish to be part of something that it seems will be unfulfilled in reality.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
Each year I find myself particularly emotional during the transition from White Christmas to Ave Maria. I don’t know if I could yet explain it fully, but something in that music has me feeling Karen’s loss and she’s not even singing. Maybe it’s the resonance of Karen’s performance of WC where she’s longing for a time that she once knew (the past is more comfortable than the future which she conveys will only be darker), or a connectivity of the tones/meanings between the two songs. It’s so strange. The whole album is an emotionally varied experience with possibly different feelings on different listens (as the best artists are capable of), and that small, quiet passage does the same. Anyone else have that reaction?
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
^^Some years, the song makes me well up a little.

Each year I find myself particularly emotional during the transition from White Christmas to Ave Maria. I don’t know if I could yet explain it fully, but something in that music has me feeling Karen’s loss and she’s not even singing. Maybe it’s the resonance of Karen’s performance of WC where she’s longing for a time that she once knew (the past is more comfortable than the future which she conveys will only be darker), or a connectivity of the tones/meanings between the two songs. It’s so strange. The whole album is an emotionally varied experience with possibly different feelings on different listens (as the best artists are capable of), and that small, quiet passage does the same. Anyone else have that reaction?
Yes you nailed it Jarred. Ave Maria is quite moving and that bell intro is brilliant. I've instructed my spouse if there is to be any kind of "service" for my demise, Ave Maria as sung by my favorite vocalist of all time is to be done over whatever sound system is available. And the B-side will be Crescent Noon.
 
Top Bottom