Christmas Portrait (The Special Edition)
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||It Came Upon a Midnight Clear||Carpenters||0:44||$1.29||View in iTunes|
||Overture: Happy Holiday / The First Noel / March of the Toys / Little Jesus||Carpenters||8:15||$1.29||View in iTunes|
||An Old-Fashioned Christmas||Carpenters||2:11||$1.29||View in iTunes|
||The Christmas Waltz||Carpenters||2:12||$1.29||View in iTunes|
||Sleigh Ride||Carpenters||2:39||$1.29||View in iTunes|
||It's Christmas Time||Carpenters||2:53||$1.29||View in iTunes|
||Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas||Carpenters||3:54||$1.29||View in iTunes|
||Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town||Carpenters||1:05||$1.29||View in iTunes|
||The Christmas Song||Carpenters||3:39||$1.29||View in iTunes|
||Carol of the Bells||Carpenters||1:39||$1.29||View in iTunes|
||Merry Christmas Darling||Carpenters||3:06||$1.29||View in iTunes|
||Christ Is Born||Carpenters||3:13||$1.29||View in iTunes|
||O Holy Night||Carpenters||3:10||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||(There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays||Carpenters||2:35||$1.29||View in iTunes|
||Here Comes Santa Claus / Frosty the Snowman / Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer / Good King Wenceslas||Carpenters||3:42||$1.29||View in iTunes|
||Winter Wonderland / Silver Bells / White Christmas||Carpenters||5:30||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||Ave Maria||Carpenters||2:32||$0.99||View in iTunes|
||Selections from the "Nutcracker": Overture Miniature / Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies / Valse Des Fleurs||Carpenters||5:27||$1.29||View in iTunes|
||Little Altar Boy||Carpenters||3:43||$1.29||View in iTunes|
||I'll Be Home for Christmas||Carpenters||3:49||$1.29||View in iTunes|
||Silent Night||Carpenters||3:21||$1.29||View in iTunes|
Starting from the Beach Boys-like harmonies of the a cappella opener, "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," the Carpenters' holiday album is a celebration both of the season and of the human voice. Karen Carpenter's magical vocal instrument never sounded better than it does here, from giddy takes on festive tunes like "Sleigh Ride" to a melancholy "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" to a haunting "Ave Maria." Brother Richard's deft orchestral arrangements are showcased on a sparkling, piano-driven "Carol of the Bells."
The Christmas Classic-expanded
Christmas Portrait, the original vinyl version, was released in 1978 and was an instant holiday classic; leave it to the Carpenters to record a top 10 Christmas song, "Merry Christmas Darling." This album was released around the same time as the import "Singles 1974-1978" and while Karen was in Japan to promote the Christmas album, all the buzz was centered around the second singles compilation. Perhaps the Japanese didn't realize they were overlooking a Christmas album that had been likend to Ella Fitzgerald's songbook collections, namely the "Gershwin" set, due to Richard's arrangments with the help of Billy May and Peter Knight, and Karen's exceptionally warm readings of the holiday standards. This album features Richard on a lead vocal for the first time in years, and until 1984, his last. To create this cd, Richard would cull tracks from the 1978 and 1984 Christmas releases. This release would stand out on it's own because of the dropped tracks from both holiday sets and the sequence of the songs. "It Came Upon The Midnight Clear"and the segued long medley would open the vinyl set of "An Old Fashioned Christmas" and this set, and "It Came Upon The Midnight Clear" features Richard stacking his vocal to equate forty voices. To state from which album each track is from would make this review very long, but to summarize, this disc is a great starter and is an excellent highlight of both albums. We diehard fans would have to wait until the remastering sessions in 1998 for the two-disc set of the complete Christmas albums released because, according to Richard, of requests and outright demands from the followers.
Top 10 Christmas...
You can hear it in her voice and his arrangements - they loved the Christmas season. I could listen to this album even in the middle of summer
Wonderful... A Must Have For Christmas
This album/cassette/CD was released in 1978 after Karen and Richard had been working on it for a while. This album took a lot of their time up, having this recording and "Passage" recording simultaneously, not to mention their two other television specials that needed to be released this year as well: "Space Encounters" and "A Christmas Portrait." Richard was also very sick this year, and "the temperature is down to 30 degrees [Fahrenheit]," Karen said on the Bruce Forsyth Show. This album is a wonderful production, though. It has classics like "Merry Christmas, Darling" (I personally prefer the single version of it), "I'll Be Home For Christmas," and "(There's No Place Like) Home For The Holidays." These songs make Christmas Christmas. These songs brighten up your mood and her vivacity makes it seem like she's really here. I suggest whomever is reading this to buy this album for the Holiday Season. Happy Holidays, everyone! If you don't celebrate Christmas, it's a nice addition to your Carpenters Collection. Not to mention, Karen's voice is wonderful. Her voice is the closest to perfect you can get. By the way, if you don't understand Spanish, LA DE LA's comment was, "Without a doubt, it’s the best Christmas album I’ve ever heard. Great arrangements, fabulous voices. Super recommendable and Merry Christmas to everybody. Enjoy!"
Formed: 1968 in Downey, CA
Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s