Vince Guaraldi Trio • A Charlie Brown Christmas

Analogue Productions/Fantasy Records AJAZ-8431
Two 45-RPM 180g LPs

A Charlie Brown Christmas

What would the Christmas season be without at least one viewing of CBS Television’s A Charlie Brown Christmas? And what would a Charlie Brown special be without a wonderful light jazz score from the Vince Guaraldi Trio? What we have for review here is the Analogue Productions reissue of the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Lovingly remastered at RTI by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray, A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of the fourth set of Analogue Productions’ Fantasy 45 Series. Each record in the Fantasy 45 Series is a limited edition of 1,000 copies, remastered at 45-RPM from the original analogue master tapes. Although mastering at 45-RPM results in shorter sides (typically less than 10 minutes each), the sonic improvements are worthwhile.

Guaraldi’s piano is wonderfully recorded, as are the bass and drums, and the great sound quality is evident on this reissue. Fortunately, this isn’t one of those typical "audiophile" records which has a great recording of mediocre music; from the slightly melancholic O Tannenbaum to the sprightly Linus and Lucy (a personal favourite of mine), listening to each track is a joy.

I have a copy of this soundtrack on CD, and the comparison with this Analogue Productions reissue is laughable. The LP has more detail, body, bass definition, and a smooth, extended treble: it easily trounces the CD. Even my father in law (who is not, by any stretch of the imagination, an audiophile) remarked how much better the LP version was (and was surprised at this revelation).

The bottom line is this: the music is wonderfully enjoyable and the sound quality is great. At $50, this record isn’t cheap—but I highly recommend it nonetheless!