Written by Fantasma el Rey
When Charlie Brown and the rest of Charles M. Schulz' Peanuts gang hit television for the first time in December 1965, Vince Guaraldi’s music was their theme. As A Charlie Brown Christmas animated our comic friends, Guaraldi’s music further brought life to those characters. Schulz and Peanuts had been ruling comic strips since 1950 and now with Gauraldi’s help they began a successful run with T.V. specials. Now available from Concord Music is Vince Guaraldi’s Peanuts Portraits.
Vince Guaraldi had his own style of jazz by the time he ran into the Peanuts gang. His cheerful piano, plucky bass and steady, easy-does-it brush drumming with slight Latin overtones were mellow, cool and very playful. All those elements made up his signature sound and would breathe further fantastic life into the characters we all love and know so well.
The eleven-track set kicks off with the very familiar “Linus And Lucy,” which has become the "Peanuts" theme song over the years. This catchy little ditty was based on the Van Pelt siblings. His blue blanket always at his side, Linus is most known as Charlie Brown’s best friend. Meanwhile Lucy is a “fuss budget” who constantly refers to Charlie as a blockhead and swipes the football as he attempts to kick it.
Cool, jazzy blues plays a major part in these portraits. “Sally’s Blues” is a playful, mellow blues named after Charlie’s baby sister and long admirer of Linus. Good ol’ Charlie Brown is himself represented in two blues pieces, both variations of “Charlie’s Blues.” The first is “Blue Charlie Brown (Version #2),” which is a bit slower than the slightly more upbeat “Charlie’s Blues,” presented here in a variation of the original version.
Two other girls in the "Peanuts" gang are represented on disc here as well in “Peppermint Patty” and “Frieda (With The Naturally Curly Hair).” “Peppermint Patty,” the tomboy of the bunch who fancies Charlie, is captured here in the dreamy tune of here own name. “Frieda” is a lively run that illustrates the bounce in the natural curls of a little girl. An odd note is that while Frieda the character had a relatively short life in the comic strip her song clocks in at the longest at just over six minutes.