A Charlie Brown Christmas Goes Audiophile

Vince Guaraldi Trio – A Charlie Brown Christmas (180 Gram Vinyl Edition) (Craft Recordings / Concord)

A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of the greatest holiday albums of all-time.  Not only did this music propel the original Peanuts TV special, it’s also extremely cool.  Think about it – this was many people’s first introduction to jazz.  We’ve reviewed the remastered CD (read that one here).  This time, let’s talk vinyl – specifically, a brand new audiophile pressing of of the record from Craft Recordings.

For comparison purposes, I’ve pitted this new reissue against a 1980’s pressing I already have in my collection.  The new version from Craft is phenomenal.

First, it’s pressed on 180-gram vinyl that’s nice and quiet with that first needle drop.  They’ve also gone back to the original, 1965 front and back cover, and printed it on a classic, tip-on jacket.  But, the real story here is the sound.

Vince Guaraldi is the only musician credited on the album, but whoever played bass (many say Fred Marshall), they’re the star of this new, audiophile pressing, which delivers deep, rich tones that were not present in the original version.

A good place to hear the improved sonic fidelity is right out of the gate – side one, cut one’s “O Tannenbaum,” where the walking bass seems to walk all over the room.

Since the entire album is made up of organic instrumentation – piano, bass, and light percussion, it’s perfect for this analog setting – and everything is an improvement.

Credit goes to George Horn and Anne-Marie Suenram at Fantasy Studios for cutting the new lacquers for the album.  Craft Recordings have only been around for a few years, but they’ve set a high standard for producing vinyl that few companies can match.

All this adds up to a definitive look at this holiday favorite.  There’s something warm and inviting about vinyl anyway – this audiophile edition is the perfect excuse to pick this up just in time for the holidays.  —Tony Peters