• 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: 57 78.1%
  • ****

    Votes: 14 19.2%
  • ***

    Votes: 1 1.4%
  • **

    Votes: 1 1.4%
  • *

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    73

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^Unfortunately, I share that sentiment.
But, I couldn't resist more promotion for the 1978 album....perfect as far as I am concerned...
and that the phrase "...some of the coolest" was being used alongside a 1978 Carpenters' album !
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
This album is the Perfect Christmas Gift!! 🎄

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Mark-T

Well-Known Member
I've noticed Christmas Portrait is not in stores this year. Is that intentional?
Should it materialize next year with the "RPO Treatment", I'll be giving that version to all my adult children so they can enjoy it and think of dear old Dad every time it is played!
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
With the Christmas holiday quickly approaching, I just realized that YouTube doesn’t have really any good uploads of the “Christmas Portrait” album as heard on the 1978 LP. “Christmas Portrait” is the “special edition” and “Christmas Collection” features 1992 remixes. Would anybody be interested if I were to upload the 1978 mix of the 17-track version in batches?

Edit: Audio source would be the 1985 West German CD pressing. To my knowledge, this is the only place where the 1978 mix 17-track album is available digitally.
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
. Would anybody be interested if I were to upload the 1978 mix of the 17-track version in batches?

Edit: Audio source would be the 1985 West German CD pressing. To my knowledge, this is the only place where the 1978 mix 17-track album is available digitally.
I was just discussing the various CP mixes/recordings elsewhere here and would love to hear those!
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
One of the problems with the West German CHRISTMAS PORTRAIT is the track indexing/timing (Yes, alas, it's not perfect). The album itself has many tracks segued together, and the points at which the CD's authors picked to switch to the next track is often too early or too late, so when the disc is "ripped" in a computer, you're left with upcut tracks or ones that start with a portion of the fade of the previous track. Played straight through, the disc sounds great, but the "ripped" version is problematic if you're just going to listen to one song.

A few years ago, I used Audacity to re-separate the tracks to more accurate start/end points of each track. It meant sewing together two tracks many times and then finding the real, proper separation point.
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
One of the problems with the West German CHRISTMAS PORTRAIT is the track indexing/timing (Yes, alas, it's not perfect). The album itself has many tracks segued together, and the points at which the CD's authors picked to switch to the next track is often too early or too late, so when the disc is "ripped" in a computer, you're left with upcut tracks or ones that start with a portion of the fade of the previous track. Played straight through, the disc sounds great, but the "ripped" version is problematic if you're just going to listen to one song.

A few years ago, I used Audacity to re-separate the tracks to more accurate start/end points of each track. It meant sewing together two tracks many times and then finding the real, proper separation point.
The segueing of tracks is a minor irritation to be sure, but tolerable, especially given the golden opportunity to hear Karen singing "out of the deep well of reverberation" and into the "pure, natural, unadulterated light of day"! (OK, a failed attempt at the poetical, and I'm chortling too, but then this is a very serious artistic and almost sacrad experience for some of us.).
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
The segueing of tracks is a minor irritation to be sure, but tolerable, especially given the golden opportunity to hear Karen singing "out of the deep well of reverberation" and into the "pure, natural, unadulterated light of day"! (OK, a failed attempt at the poetical, and I'm chortling too, but then this is a very serious artistic and almost sacrad experience for some of us.).
Agreed - about the disc, not necessarily the attempted poetry.
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
The segueing of tracks is a minor irritation to be sure, but tolerable, especially given the golden opportunity to hear Karen singing "out of the deep well of reverberation" and into the "pure, natural, unadulterated light of day"! (OK, a failed attempt at the poetical, and I'm chortling too, but then this is a very serious artistic and almost sacrad experience for some of us.).
I, too, enjoy the original mixes more for the nostalgia than anything.

As I mentioned elsewhere, the heavy favoring of the reverb was a suggestion by the late Roger Young, who worked with Richard on much of the remixing of the Carpenters' catalog from around '85, on. Richard himself agrees that the Portrait remixes had too much 'verb on the leads.

On the flip, the remixes did allow for a bit of brightening and better EQ separation, also adding some of the punchiness on the low-end, which was a rather noticeable contrast from the original mixes.

As referenced under the song entry for "B'wana She No Home" in the book's discography, engineer Ray Gerhardt, who was suffering from hearing loss, was the recording engineer on many of the tracks on Portrait. So, those original mixes also sounded much like those included on the Hush and Passage albums.

All of this to say—if we get the new Christmas album compilation next year, I think we're finally going to hear everything the way it was meant to be heard, with optional vinyl format. Just a hunch. :)
 
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Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
I, too, enjoy the original mixes more for the nostalgia than anything.

As I mentioned elsewhere, the heavy favoring of the reverb was a suggestion by the late Roger Young, who worked with Richard on much of the remixing of the Carpenters' catalog from around '85, on. Richard himself agrees that the Portrait remixes had too much 'verb on the leads.

On the flip, the remixes did allow for a bit of brightening and better EQ separation, also adding some of the punchiness on the low-end, which was a rather noticeable contrast from the original mixes.

As referenced under the song entry for "B'wana She No Home" in the book's discography, engineer Ray Gerhardt, who was suffering from hearing loss, was the recording engineer on many of the tracks on Portrait. So, those original mixes also sounded much like those included on the Hush and Passage albums.

All of this to say—if we get the new Christmas album compilation next year, I think we're finally going to hear everything the way it was meant to be heard, with optional vinyl format. Just a hunch. :)
I noticed both the heavier (digital?) reverb and the punchier bass when I compared my W. German disc with the Christmas Collection audio. I first heard the original album through Christmas Collection, so the 1992 mixes (oddly) are my starting point. The 1978 LP mix was really pleasure to listen to—it’s a little smoother in the way a good, untouched tape transfer should sound. I began to dislike the Christmas Collection mix when I listened to “Christmas Waltz” and Karen’s voice at the beginning sounds too high on the treble imho, then I noticed a lot of the songs were high on the treble and high on the bass with not as much mid.

Mr. Chris, may I respectfully request a 24/96 format be made available for purchase on high res platforms like Qobuz? (Really would love to hear the whole Carpenters catalog, flat tape transfers, no clipping, in 24/96. I would shell out big bucks for that.)

So, I have decided I will upload the audio from the CD I have. Harry’s comments + YouTube’s lack of gapless playback support made me decide to present the audio in 9 parts—basically, if two tracks segue into each other, they will be part of the same video, even though the CD and LP track listing divide them. I’ll use timecodes in the description to let the viewer jump to a chosen track.

P.S. The image you’ll see on the video is literally the CD booklet cover I scanned in high resolution. I’m looking forward to sharing the classic Christmas music with you all.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Unfortunately, YouTube blocked my part 1 video that was over 10 minutes on copyright grounds, so I had to split that into two at the end of "Christmas Waltz" and the beginning of "Sleigh Ride." The end result was a playlist of 10 parts, with part 2 missing because YouTube says I hit my upload quota for today.

The playlist is currently unlisted, but you may feel free to access the playlist here:
Once I am able to upload part 2, I will make all videos and the playlist live. :)

P.S. If you really want to hear a sonic surprise, I highly recommend going to part 10 and listening to "Ave Maria" (but beginning at the Wurlitzer bridge, at around 5:07).
 
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GDBY2LV

Well-Known Member
I looked on Amazon and it looks like they didn’t press any CP this year, only Christmas Collection. CP is selling for a premium price from some vendors. Maybe UMe wanted to get rid of stock to make room for the new version next year? Fingers crossed. 🤞 The Collection is really cheap for a 2 disc set, at $8.44 plus shipping
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
I looked on Amazon and it looks like they didn’t press any CP this year, only Christmas Collection. CP is selling for a premium price from some vendors. Maybe UMe wanted to get rid of stock to make room for the new version next year? Fingers crossed. 🤞 The Collection is really cheap for a 2 disc set, at $8.44 plus shipping
I feel so ripped off, I bought “Collection” years ago sealed for $23.99. 😖
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I looked on Amazon and it looks like they didn’t press any CP this year, only Christmas Collection. CP is selling for a premium price from some vendors. Maybe UMe wanted to get rid of stock to make room for the new version next year? Fingers crossed. 🤞 The Collection is really cheap for a 2 disc set, at $8.44 plus shipping
Even back in the summer I found that CPSE was out of print and was higher priced than CC (I figured that was just because it was summer). Because of where some of my family live I try to finish my Christmas shopping before September so that it gets to them in time for Christmas. So I got both my nieces a copy of CC and it’s under their Christmas trees.
 
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