Wednesday, June 15, 2022

This definitely isn't a rock!


I've been sitting on this information since December.

Craft Recordings went public with the news today, which makes it fair game for this blog.

As I describe in my fresh liner notes, this is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: the sigh of rapturous satisfaction from Guaraldi fans who for decades believed — nay, insisted — that original Great Pumpkin recording session tapes must exist. Somewhere.

(Yes, I had to borrow a note from one of Charles Schulz's most famous quotes: With this set of liner notes, I had to write the same thing without repeating myself. You can tell me whether I succeeded.)

I guess we can thank Covid.

Assuming one managed to escape getting sick, pandemic-enforced isolation had a few benefits, such as encouraging some of us to finally tackle massive, long-postponed projects of one sort or another. Honestly, what else were we able to do with our time?

The folks over at Lee Mendelson Film Productions spent a year and change spelunking in the darkest corners of their voluminous archives. Marvelous Guaraldi artifacts — some believed lost forever — were unearthed.

This is the first.

Craft's official announcement includes quite a lot of detail, so check it out.

Craft also released a short promo video, which can be seen here. (And I was pleasantly surprised by the shout-out.)

This release actually is better than we could have hoped for, because it includes a number of alternate takes ... and, yes, full-length versions of iconic Peanuts themes heard only partially during the TV special.

"The Great Pumpkin Waltz" (Alternate Take 2) can be heard on various digital platforms, including YouTube.

Barring supply-chain issues, all formats should be available on August 26.

The sole vexing note is that the cover of this new release is almost identical to its inferior 2018 predecessor; fans will need to be extremely careful — particularly with online orders — when purchasing a copy. Yes, the 2022 copyright date is helpful; and yes, the presence of the aforementioned alternates takes, in the track list, is a giveaway. But the quickest distinction is that the 2018 release is called "Music from the soundtrack" (above the album title), whereas the 2022 release is an "Original soundtrack recording."

Even so, I do fear that some casual buyers may not look that closely.

To anticipate the obvious next question, yes, there may be more to come. The Mendelson vaults have yet to be fully archived, and future plans also will depend upon this release's sales (so tell all of your friends and family members to buy one!).

Meanwhile, Linus would be pleased: The Great Pumpkin really did show up this time!