In 1998, A&M released the original Carpenters
' albums for the first time on CD. Along with the reissues, the label released Christmas Collection
, a double-disc that combines Christmas Portrait
and An Old Fashioned Christmas
on one set. Neither album offers any surprises -- they sound exactly like you'd imagine a Carpenters Christmas album would sound like. Since the two albums are virtually interchangeable, relying on Richard
's famously light, inoffensive arrangements and Karen
's sweet, soaring vocals, they make for a terrific pairing. It is true that only hardcore fans will need this set, but they should be more than pleased by this definitive collection.