I always thought Richard was way too modest to state "Christmas Portrait" is Karen's album. Right from the beginning we know that is not the case. While he may not have been involved in some aspects as much as he had been involved in other albums, it's still a Carpenters album through and through.Certain it is that both Christmas albums are wonderful, however, we have
Richard Carpenter's elaboration of the 1978 offering:
“Christmas Portrait” is Karen’s album, and should have been titled accordingly, not Carpenters.
I did oversee the mixes, of course, but that falls under production.I was not interested in more than production work,
and an occasional lead and some minor piano work." (underlining in the Original.)
Christmas Portrait LP was finished by mid-1978, with certain pieces borrowed from the 1977 Carpenters At Christmas Television Special.
Probably (historically) accurate to say that Richard's work--by his own admission-- on the 1984 Old-Fashioned Christmas LP,
surpasses in quality (and creativity) the work he performed on the previous Christmas album.
But, to each his own.
Personally, I am no huge fan of Richard's leads on any song,
but, he does have his moments !
"It Came Upon A Midnight Clear",
is--for me--one of those moments !