June 17, 2022

New, much improved version of It's the Great Pumpkin soundtrack album coming in August 2022

Waiting in the sincere pumpkin patch has finally paid off!

Craft Recordings has announced a new, improved version of the It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown soundtrack album is coming on August 26, 2022 - and this time they've got it right.

To get straight to the point: all the tracks on this new version of the soundtrack are completely free of the special effects sounds and volume fluctuations that marred the previous 2018 release, have better sound quality in general, and in a few cases, do not have the abrupt edits found on the previous release.

Even better, along with the full, clean versions of the tracks from the 1966 television special, this new 2022 Great Pumpkin album will also include seven bonus tracks of alternate takes from the recording sessions.

You may recall I was not impressed with Craft's 2018 release, which was, shall we say, a compromised listening experience.

The new 2022 release is the version we were all hoping for the first time around.

The original recording session tapes for It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown had long been thought lost, but over the past couple of years, the good folks at Lee Mendelson Film Productions did a new, thorough inventory of their archives, and found the original recording reels.

You can read all the details in Craft's announcement, which you can find here.

The new release will be available on CD, a regular LP, a pumpkin-shaped LP, and digitally - all formats can be pre-ordered now. (A "Pumpkin Patch splatter design" LP was also announced, but is already sold out.) The physical releases feature new liner notes from fivecentsplease.org co-host and Guaraldi expert Derrick Bang.

Craft has released one of the alternate takes, "The Great Pumpkin Waltz (Alternate Take 2)" as a preview; you can listen to it on YouTube or Bandcamp, or find it on other digital platforms as well.

Unfortunately, Craft has made a puzzling decision to give the new release a cover almost identical to the cover of the 2018 release; it would have been much less confusing if the covers were more distinct from each other. The sole difference between the covers is that the 2022 release says "Original Soundtrack Recording" at the top, whereas the 2018 release says "Music From The Soundtrack" at the top.  Unfortunately the font, size, and coloring are all the same, making the difference easy to miss.

But rest assured, every single track on the new release is from a new, better source. The new album can be identified by the seven extra bonus tracks, the 2022 release date, and the slightly different cover text.

Tantalizingly, the Craft Recordings press release states that the team at Lee Mendelson Productions discovered "a treasure trove of materials from Vince Guaraldi," of which the Great Pumpkin tapes were only a part. So yes, it's possible that there may be more albums of other Guaraldi material to come; research is still ongoing, and of course, good sales of this new 2022 version of the album will be helpful in encouraging future releases.

Meanwhile, we can all breathlessly look forward to the updated Great Pumpkin soundtrack on August 26.


Doug A. said...

This is such great news! Your post appears to clarify one of the points of confusion In online discussions (unhelpfully provoked by the identical cover/title to the prior release). There was a rumor that they did not find all of the cues on the rediscovered session reels, and so I had to source a few from elsewhere. I didn’t know if that meant that a few would still have the TV sound effects overlaid. But your description seems to indicate that maybe we may finally get a version of “Graveyard theme” without the spooky atmospherics? Going to pre-order right now!

Scott McGuire said...

That is correct - no spooky atmospherics on "Graveyard Theme"... or elsewhere! Please also see Derrick's follow-up comments on his blog post about the album, which explains some more details.