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Music Review: Vince Guaraldi – A Charlie Brown Christmas

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Did you grow up watching A Charlie Brown Christmas every December? My family did; my sister and I would try to dance like Snoopy, nose pointed in the air and flipping our hair around like Snoopy’s long floppy ears. This ubiquitous network television special has been delighting American audiences since 1965. Pianist Vince Guaraldi and his Vince Guaraldi Trio created swingy renditions of popular Christmas carols to accompany this seasonal Peanuts cartoon.

This reissued CD is remastered and contains four unreleased tracks from the band. But the old favorites are on it as well. Instrumentals include “O Tannenbaum,” “What Child is This,” “Christmas Time is Here” (also available as a vocal track), “Skating,” and “Greensleeves,” among others. There are a few vocal tracks, including “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”

And of course, what Peanuts show would be complete without Schroeder playing “Fur Elise” while Lucy moons at the end of his piano? That song is on the CD as well. And my personal favorite, “Lucy and Linus.” This song still makes me want to get up and dance!

In 1996, George Winston released a tribute CD entitled Linus & Lucy: The Music of Vince Guaraldi. This CD contains some of the Guaraldi’s other compositions in addition to his Peanuts work. It is a beautiful album, but the absence of the rest of the trio is definitely noticeable. I much prefer this holiday release in all its fullness. The energy of this music should definitely keep you upbeat while you finish all those last-minute holiday chores.

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  • Vern Halen

    Too bad they couldn’t have worked Guaraldi’s Cast Your Fate to the Wind into the Christmas special – it would’ve fit nicely.

  • Bill from Pennsylvania

    My only Christmas decoration.

  • Rob

    Quite simply the best Christmas album ever. I never get tired of listening to it.

  • Vern Halen

    Funny – I’m listening to it right now, actually. I always forget what a beautiful little piece “Skating” is.