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Vince Guaraldi - It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: Music from the Soundtrack (Craft)

29 October 2021

Craft’s Peanuts series continues with a special vinyl platter timed for Halloween release. This soundtrack arrives on orange, pumpkin-shaped vinyl. The familiar jazz piano standard “Linus and Lucy” is included here in a different performance than those heard on A Charlie Brown Christmas and A Boy Named Charlie Brown. Sound effects from the It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown cartoon can be heard in the mix, the tempo is a little more brisk, and Guaraldi is joined by free-spirted flute and trumpet accompaniment. The otherwise breezy “Graveyard Theme” includes ghoulish wails. Shorter pieces like “Snoopy and the Leaf/Frieda (With the Naturally Curly Hair)” are musical cues supporting scenes from the TV program, but others like the sublime “The Great Pumpkin Waltz” are full songs. In the latter, Guaraldi’s familiar jazz trio sound expands from piano, bass, and drums to include flute and electric guitar. Snoopy’s imaginary adventures as the famed World War I Flying Ace are supported by “The Red Baron/Military Drum March.” The platter’s second side includes reprise cues of the “Charlie Brown Theme” (remember hapless Charlie Brown’s Halloween discovery after visiting each house, “I got a rock?”) and Schroeder’s piano medley of “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary,” “There’s a Long, Long Trail A-Winding,” “Pack Up Your Troubles in your Old Kit Bag,” and “Roses of Picardy” that sends Snoopy as the Flying Ace through a range of emotions ending in howling tears. Urgent acoustic bass and furtive brushed-snare percussion propel “Trick or Treat.” With all of the short pieces and sound effects, this is more of a novelty than a conventional album of Guaraldi’s timeless jazz. However, it’s a fun memento for Peanuts and Guaraldi vinyl collectors. It’s also the perfect accompaniment for anyone keeping the faith alongside Linus, waiting at the pumpkin patch for the Great Pumpkin to finally make his grand entrance.