Flashback Album of the Week

Jeff Yerger

‘Tis the season to be merry, and what better way to spread Christmas cheer than to review a wonderful Christmas record for all to hear? Yes, there’s nothing better than burning a fire in the fireplace, putting on some old comfortable clothes and decorating a nice big Christmas tree while listening to your favorite holiday tunes. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many Christmas albums worth listening to these days (that is, unless you want to torture yourself with Bob Dylan’s new teeth grinder of a Christmas album). Generally, Christmas albums sound too forced and aren’t very good. But there is one album that has stood the test of time to become a winter classic for all ages, and that is the “A Charlie Brown Christmas” album featuring the Vince Guaraldi Trio. The soundtrack to one of the most beloved Christmas television specials is indeed one of the best Christmas albums in history. Whether you like jazz or not, this album is sure to warm your heart. Vince Guaraldi’s song arrangements and piano talent to boot are what make this album so memorable. Many typical Christmas staples like “O Tannenbaum,” “What Child Is This” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” are all there, but Guaraldi turns them into upbeat jazz instrumentals with delightful twists and turns. The buoyant “Christmas Is Coming” shows the trio working together, feeding off of Fred Marshall’s walking bass line; it is just one of the highlights that make this CD way more than just another lame Christmas album. Also, give Guaraldi’s poignant rendition of “The Christmas Song” a listen, as he takes the spotlight with just his piano. And, of course, who doesn’t know the classic tune “Linus and Lucy,” which has basically been dubbed the Charlie Brown theme song. It’ll lift your spirits so much you won’t even need that eggnog for help. So, as you sit down with your family, reminiscing about Christmases past and exchanging gifts while praying you don’t get more socks this year from that crazy aunt of yours, turn on this nice little album to get you in the holiday spirit. And if for some reason the holiday season just isn’t your thing, then bah-humbug to you! Merry Christmas everyone!