Thursday, November 19, 2020

Vinyl madness

As has become tradition for several years now, Guaraldi's score for A Charlie Brown Christmas will get plenty of vinyl action in the next several weeks, starting with a genuine treat.

As a tie-in for Record Store Day's 10th annual Black Friday event -- that's November 27, the day after Thanksgiving -- Craft Recordings is releasing a 7-inch single on green vinyl. Side A will feature the familiar vocal version of "Christmas Time Is Here," performed by young members of the Bay Area's St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Side B, however, is something a surprise: the "Alternate Vocal Take 5" of the same song, previously available only as one of the bonus tracks on the (ahem) somewhat notorious 2006 digital re-issue of the iconic album, which "horrified" so many people, because the re-mastering engineer had the temerity to slightly modify some of the tracks, so they could be heard as originally recorded by Guaraldi's trio. Alas, despite such good intentions, the maneuver proved a PR disaster -- people wanted the album to sound just like it had when originally released in 1965, thank you very much -- and Fantasy quickly "corrected" this "error" with subsequent pressings, and even allowed folks to send in their "defective" discs for replacement. (The full story can be read roughly midway down this web page.)


Only 5,000 copies of this single have been pressed, and they'll be available only on November 27; you can't pre-order, or request your local record store to hold a copy. It'll be first come, first served.

As for the album itself, we'll once again see a variety of colored and picture-vinyl releases, along with another novelty: a lenticular LP sleeve. Here's the rundown:

• Craft Recordings: a lenticular sleeve with explosive "snowball" vinyl

• Urban Outfitters: a lenticular sleeve with red and green "splattered" vinyl

• Cracker Barrel: a lenticular sleeve with half-red, half-green vinyl

• Walmart: a lenticular sleeve with blue snowflake vinyl

• Barnes & Noble: a lenticular sleeve with double-sided picture vinyl

• Target: a lenticular sleeve with solid green vinyl

A few of these vinyl variants have been released previously -- such as Walmart's blue snowflake pattern — but the lenticular sleeves are new ... so you'll just have to buy them again!

(Have fun!)

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