The One Christmas Album That Everyone Should Own
This is an album that has been around for decades, and is the soundtrack to the greatest cartoon feature ever made, one which to me, personally, Christmas would not be Christmas without watching this ultimate TV classic and listenting to this exquisite music:
A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS
At the heart of the excellence of these twelve tracks is its simplicity.
Vince Guaraldi, a jazz pianist from the San Francisco Bay Area, and his backup group of a simple drum set and stand-up bass, recorded these songs in 1965 to accompany Charles M. Schulz's classic about Charlie Brown and his companions getting ready to celebrate the Christmas holiday.
Which featured Charlie wondering about the meaning of it all and finding a seemingly pathetic little tree to decorate the Christmas play he was directing, as well as Linus making things clear with his recitation from the Gospel of St. Luke, the first time scripture was quoted on prime-time television in that manner.
It's so wonderful a production that I continue to watch it to this day.
Every year without fail.
And I'm currently in my mid-forties!
The music accompanying this feature is no less great; the album even spawned a hit with the quintessential Peanuts theme, "Linus and Lucy".
That is far from the only ear-pleasing song, however, as Guaraldi's piano, along with the stand-up bass and drums - which is played with brushes rather than sticks - has the listener floating through pieces such as "O Tannenbaum", "What Child is This", "Christmas Is Coming", The Christmas Song", and the classic that opens the cartoon, "Christmas Time Is Here" - which is featured in an instrumental and vocal version.
Fred Marshall plays the bass and Jerry Granelli the drums on all the tracks save one, "Greensleeves", the last track on the album, which is taken by Monty Budwig on bass and Colin Bailey on drums.
It's interesting what three acoustic instruments, without any synthesizing sounds or electronics, can do; one could call it the original "Unplugged" set, like in that MTV show (that, incidentally, they need to bring back)
And it's a real pity that music in general, let alone Christmas music, is not play in that fashion today. Perhaps all the starts that are out there now need to listen to this soundtrack and use it as an influence.
In fact, that's exactly what these stars of today, folks like Justin Bieber and Britney Spears, need to do.
I won't go on singing the praises of this album/CD, but the bottom line here is, if you only buy - or listen to - one Christmas album these next few weeks, A Charlie Brown Christmas is the one you absolutely need to buy and listen to.
If you want to hear for yourself, feel free to Google "Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack", download the clips on YouTube or whatever you listen to music to online, and prepare to be amazed.
Or at least savor the memories that you enjoyed while listening to these songs and watching the TV classic as a kid.
That's all I have to say about that.