October 9, 2012
Newly Remastered Version of A Charlie Brown Christmas Soundtrack Album Released October 9, 2012
You may be thinking, "didn't they remaster the soundtrack already?" Yes, they did. Concord issued a remastered and expanded version of the album in 2006, but some listeners found fault with that release's remastering for changing the sound of the album too much and using different edits and takes of some of the tracks. This new, 2012 remastered edition is a much more low-key remaster, resulting in modest sonic improvement and clarity over the original 1988 CD, but no radical changes.
This re-release of the album includes two "bonus" tracks: "It's the Great Pumpkin Waltz" and "Thanksgiving Theme" (from It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, respectively). However, both have been previously released - they can be found on the Charlie Brown's Holiday Hits album, and seem somewhat out of place accompanying the Christmas soundtrack. Unfortunately, the four bonus alternate takes from the 2006 release do not reappear on the 2012 edition. (Concord also calls "Greensleeves" a bonus track, and while it's true it wasn't on the original soundtrack LP, it's been part of every CD release so far, so it's a very familiar track at this point.)
The 2012 remastered edition does feature a very nice 20-page booklet with generous new liner notes written by Guaraldi expert and historian Derrick Bang. You can check out Derrick's writeup about the new remastered album on his Impressions of Vince blog.
It appears that all three versions of the A Charlie Brown Christmas CD (the original 1988 release, the 2006 remaster, and the 2012 remaster) remain in print simultaneously, at least for the moment - presenting listeners with an embarrassment of choices (or possibly with the feeling that they'll need all three). The 2012 remaster is available as a digital download as well as on CD, and there's even a special green vinyl LP version of it!
(The album has also been repackaged in various ways over the year. If you're curious about the many different releases of the A Charlie Brown Christmas album, see Derrick's detailed A Charlie Brown Christmas Redux ... and redux and redux article.)