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40 Years: A Charlie Brown Christmas
Various Artists
40 Years: A Charlie Brown Christmas
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Soundtracks
 
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1

A Charlie Brown Christmas, an enduring holiday tradition enjoyed by television audiences around the world, this year celebrates its 40th anniversary. To mark the landmark event, Peak Records is releasing 40 Years--A Charli...  more »

     
   
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CD Details

All Artists: Various Artists
Title: 40 Years: A Charlie Brown Christmas
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 1
Label: Peak Records
Original Release Date: 1/1/2005
Re-Release Date: 10/4/2005
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Soundtracks
Styles: Smooth Jazz, Vocal Jazz, Holiday & Wedding, Vocal Pop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 013431853428, 050644443022

Synopsis

Album Description
A Charlie Brown Christmas, an enduring holiday tradition enjoyed by television audiences around the world, this year celebrates its 40th anniversary. To mark the landmark event, Peak Records is releasing 40 Years--A Charlie Brown Christmas, a collection of newly recorded versions of holiday favorites and Vince Guaraldi-penned Peanuts classics, such as the instantly recognizable "Linus and Lucy." The album also includes two Peanuts songs not featured on Vince Guaraldi's multiplatinum-selling A Charlie Brown Christmas, "Red Baron" and "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year."40 Years--A Charlie Brown Christmas showcases the talents of Gerald Albright, Toni Braxton, Norman Brown, Chaka Khan, Dave Koz, Brian McKnight, Eric Marienthal, and the Rippingtons. Also featured is Vanessa Williams on "Just Like Me," a new track written by David Benoit, who both performed on and produced the CD, and Lee Mendelson, longtime producer of the holiday television specials.40 Years--A Charlie Brown Christmas was the brainchild of five-time GRAMMY-nominated musician, composer, and arranger David Benoit, who has been composing music for Peanuts television specials for over ten years, including the 2000 recording Here's to You, Charlie Brown.A Charlie Brown Christmas debuted debuted on network television in 1965. Written by Charles M. Schulz, with Bill Melendez directing and Mendelson as executive producer, the show won an Emmy for Oustanding Children's Program, despite initial concerns about the show's leisurely-paced jazz soundtrack, religious theme, and use of children's voices. In December 2004, A Charlie Brown Christmas was named Best Christmas Special by TV Guide and drew an audience of over 13 million viewers, the special's best numbers ever on ABC.

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CD Reviews

Embarrassingly bad
red herring | Chicago | 12/02/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I was excited to receive this CD as a gift because the original Vince Guaraldi soundtrack has been one of my favorite Christmas CD's for years. Given the lineup of artists on this one, I figured it was a can't-miss. Well, with a few exceptions they miss about as badly as is possible, particularly the vocalists. I totally agree with the reviewer above who thought Chaka Khan sounded drunk--on top of a dirge-like tempo she's nowhere near the key, and her vocalese sounds like she's going to crash down off the barstool at any moment. Toni Braxton, there are some songs for which breathy/sexy is inappropriate, and you sure found one of them in "It's the most Wonderful Time of Year" (which, though a perfectly fine Christmas song, has no connection with Charlie Brown Christmas or Vince Guaraldi). Even Brian McKnight, usually the king of smooth, delivers an absolutely funereal version of "Christmas Time is Here".

Even the instrumentals don't get off unscathed: "Red Baron", by the Rippingtons, is a masterpiece of bland everything-sounds-the-same smooth jazz and also has nothing to do with Charlie Brown Christmas (or Christmas at all, for that matter), and the opening track, "Christmas is Coming" by David Benoit sounds like the opening to a Christmas musical comedy.
There are a couple of bright spots: Norman Brown, always tasteful and creative, does a good job with "Skating", and the work of Gerald Albright, Dave Koz and Rick Braun is at least competent.
The main problem here is that nothing contained in this set improves on, or even approaches the original (assuming it has someting to do with the original in the first place, which isn't always the case), leading to the unanswerable question of "What's the point?""
A MIXED BAG
Tom Anderson | Piney Flats, Tennessee United States | 11/07/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I really like the music that was written 40 years ago for "A Charlie Brown Christmas," but have always been disappointed with the soundtrack album's poor sound. Therefore, I was perhaps expecting too much from this new recording--hoping that the arrangements and performances would be closer to the original, but that's not what jazz is about, of course. To me, the standouts are "Christmas Is Coming," "Just Like Me" (a new song written, I think, for this album and beautifully performed by Vanessa Williams), "Linus and Lucy," and both renditions of "Christmas Time is Here."

However, this album is ruined by the bizarre vocals of Chaka Kahn and Toni Braxton. Chaka sounds like she's drunk and down right mad on "The Christmas Song," and Toni Braxton tries to sound sexy on "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" (which is not a sensual song), but comes off sounding like she's having a particularly difficult bowel movement! Both of these tracks are proof (as if any more were needed) that NOTHING is too ugly these days to be called music and released to the public."
Ruining A Classic
Smokey | Chi-Town | 12/01/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)

"Vince Guaraldi's music has been a part of my life since I was a child. Most people have fond memories of this music in association with the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. I bought this CD because I'm a huge fan of Guaraldi's music and try to collect anything by him or associated with him. Unfortunately, this CD offers a poor product. Some of the tracks (like Fur Elise) stay very close to the original. Other tracks try to "modernize" or "reinterpret" the original--and don't do a very good job. My four year old daughter told me when we were listening to this CD, "Daddy, shut this off. They're ruining Charlie Brown." I must agree with my daughter on this one. Do yourself a favor and just purchase the Vince Guaraldi Charlie Brown's Christmas CD. Guaraldi's CD is one of the best selling Christmas CDs of all time (and with good reason). You won't be disappointed with Guaraldi's CD, however, I cannot make the same prediction with the 40 Years CD."