Linus and Lucy, triple banjo style

In the Christmas, didn’t-know-you-needed-this-until-you-saw-it department…

Foggy Mountain Spaceship, a banjo trio from Colorado, has recored a version of Vince Guaraldi’s Linus and Lucy from the soundtrack for the 1965 Peanuts animated special, A Charlie Brown Christmas.

I’m not sure if youngsters these days are as exposed to this charming cartoon classic as we were when it was first released, and for at least a generation after, when it wasn’t available on demand from streaming services and social media. Back then it was appointment television when it ran each year in December, just as the Peanuts comic strip appeared in daily newspapers coast to coast, and worldwide.

The song has become a jazz standard since, written by Guaraldi, and initially recorded with his trio a year before the special. It had been commissioned for a documentary on animator Charles M. Schulz, though it was never completed. Producers liked it so well that they had him compose additional music for the 30 minute special, initially sponsored by Coca-Cola for CBS Television.

This song, and two other Guaraldi compositions from the show, Skating, and Christmas Time is Here, were so popular that he was called upon to compose music for several other Peanuts specials in succeeding years.

The Spaceship, who have a number of clever triple banjos videos on their web site, is a project of Denver-based banjoist and instructor Chris Elliott, along with Chris Sheldon and Kyle Ussery. Their arrangement hews quite closely to the original, and makes for a fine holiday statement on the banjo.

Check it out…

Foggy Mountain Spaceship performs in Colorado, and those lucky enough to live nearby should certainly make it out to see them. They also have T-shirts and stickers for sale online.

You can check out all the Christmas bluegrass we have covered at Bluegrass Today by following this link.

Share this:

About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.