Quoting from Concord's press release:
The 2012 Remastered & Expanded Edition CD will feature the original 1965 recording, newly remastered with 24-bit technology from the original analog stereo master tapes. It also contains three holiday bonus tracks that did not appear on the original LP: “Greensleeves,” “Thanksgiving Theme” and “Great Pumpkin Waltz.” The digi package includes a 20-page booklet featuring memorable Peanuts character images from the beloved A Charlie Brown Christmas television special.
I've seen the booklet, and Rachel Gutek's package design is, indeed, fabulous. I was pleased, once again, to be asked for a new set of liner notes, and my friends at Concord were kind enough to use the entire essay, even though it ran longer than originally requested ... which probably is why the booklet is 20 pages, and not 12 or 16. (Hey, I've never been known for brevity.)
As I observe, in part, in those liner notes:
Analog-to-digital conversion has gotten a lot better since this album debuted on CD in 1988, as a side-by-side listening comparison will reveal. The ubiquitous background hum, so notorious due to the Spartan conditions of Fantasy's recording studio, is less intrusive; this is particularly evident when the young members of San Rafael's St. Paul's Church Choir — standing in for all of Charlie Brown's friends — croon the melody line and then sing "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing." The album's overall dynamics are more crisp, the individual elements and instruments more "alive," better conveying a sense that we're in the same room as the musicians.
You'll notice the most vibrant difference, throughout, on the contributions by bassists Monty Budwig and Fred Marshall. Guaraldi's piano — at once more detailed and warmer than the somewhat brittle sounding original CD reissue — sits better in the mix. This draws greater attention to the equally superlative work by the sidemen; you'll hear marvelous bass riffs that have been all but buried until now.
And here's a bonus: For those who love the sound and look of old-style LPs, Fantasy also will issue a new pressing of this album on green vinyl. This is an affectionate nod to Fantasy's early days, when owners Max and Soul Weiss — having named their company after the popular science-fiction pulp magazine — would produce records in unusual colors: green, red and blue translucent vinyl. The initial pressings of Guaraldi's early Fantasy LPs followed this pattern: usually red vinyl for the monaural version, and blue vinyl for stereo. I don't believe Fantasy ever granted Guaraldi a green LP, back in the day, so Concord deserves credit both for reviving this tradition, and giving it a holiday vibe.
Be advised, however: LP lacquer cutting from an analog master (LP) and digital remastering (CD) are two different things. The contents of this new green vinyl LP do not, as a result, reflect the newly remastered CD discussed above. This LP has been pressed from George Horn's 1988 master (which does include the extra version of "Greensleeves").
No doubt you've purchased this album at least once before, and perhaps two or three times. But really, it isn't possible to have too many copies ... particularly when this new one sounds so grand.
As a reminder to Northern California Guaraldi fans, I'll be joining pianist and recording star David Benoit at Santa Rosa's Charles M. Schulz Museum at 4 p.m. Saturday, November 3. David and I will present a musical and descriptive journey through Guaraldi's life and career, stopping at numerous tuneful highlights along the way. This event will be included with the price of museum admission, and it will be followed by a light reception. Check out the museum's web calendar for additional details.