Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2023 October 30 • Monday

Halloween is tomorrow! Will you see the Great Pumpkin? Has anyone ever? Vince Guaraldi's music for It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is the 802nd Soundtrack of the Week.

It starts with the famous Peanuts theme, called "Linus and Lucy" here, before getting into the "Graveyard Theme", a very Halloweeny piece with eerie sound effects and moaning and diabolical laughter. As you'd expect, there's a killer groove from Guaraldi's group.

Solo flute starts out "Snoopy and the Leaf/Frieda (With the Naturally Curly Hair)" before piano comes in. You can also hear sound effects from the film, among which is apparently Snoopy doing the Snoopy dance.

"The Great Pumpkin Waltz" is sure enough a lovely waltz, similar to one of the pieces on the Charlie Brown Christmas record. It's a simple melody but deeply affecting. Guaraldi isn't exactly unsung but he's surely under-rated.

After a reprise of "Linus and Lucy" we get the "Charlie Brown Theme/Happy Linus", the former being a cue played twice, once happy and once sad, and the latter being a very short but happy and bouncy cue.

"The Great Pumpkin Waltz" is reprised next and then we hear "The Red Baron/Military Drum March", which doesn't actually sound like you might expect. There's some wonderfully textural piano playing over a swinging groove and then timpani for the drum part.

After a second reprise of "The Great Pumpkin Waltz" we move onto "Trick or Treat", a very cool jazz tune for flute, bass and drums that has kind of an exotica feel to it. It's immediately reprised in the next track but only after you hear "Fanfare" and "Breathless", the fanfare being just that, over in a second, and "Breathless" being an interesting flute and drums duet slightly buried under the sound effects.

The next two pieces are reprises, of "Charlie Brown Theme" and "Breathless" respesctively.

Then there's a solo piano medley of "It's a Long Way to Tipperary/There's a Long, Long Trail A-Winding/Pack Up Your Trouble in Your Old Kit Bag/Roses of Picardy".

After that the record wraps things up with reprises of "Trick or Treat", "Linus and Lucy" and "Charlie Brown Theme".

Happy Halloween!