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Official Review [Album]: "A KIND OF HUSH" (SP-4581)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Jul 1, 2013.

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  1. ***** (BEST)

    5 vote(s)
    9.6%
  2. ****

    9 vote(s)
    17.3%
  3. ***

    31 vote(s)
    59.6%
  4. **

    6 vote(s)
    11.5%
  5. *

    1 vote(s)
    1.9%
  1. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    “A KIND OF HUSH”

    [​IMG]

    Catalogue Number: A&M SP-4581
    Date of Release: 06/11/76
    Chart Position- U.S.: #33; U.K.: #3; JAPAN: #5
    Album Singles: "There's A Kind Of Hush”/"(I'm Caught Between) Goodbye And I Love You”
    "I Need To Be In Love"/"Sandy"
    "Goofus"/"Boat To Sail"
    Medium: Vinyl/Reel/8-track/Cassette/CD


    Track Listing:

    1.) There's A Kind Of Hush 2:57 (Reed/Stephens)
    2.) You 3:45 (Edelman)
    3.) Sandy 3:38 (Carpenter/Bettis)
    4.) Goofus 3:32 (King/Harold/Kahn)
    5.) Can't Smile Without You 3:26 (Arnold/Martin/Morrow)
    6.) I Need To Be In Love 3:47 (Carpenter/Bettis/Hammond)
    7.) One More Time 3:30 (Anderson)
    8.) Boat To Sail 3:29 (DeShannon)
    9.) I Have You 3:25 (Carpenter/Bettis)
    10.) Breaking Up Is Hard To Do 2:34 (Sedaka/Greenfield)


    Album Credits:

    There's A Kind Of Hush:
    Keyboards: Richard Carpenter
    Bass: Joe Osborn
    Drums: Jim Gordon
    Guitars: Tony Peluso
    Tenor Sax: Bob Messenger
    Harp: Gayle Levant

    You:
    Keyboards: Richard Carpenter
    Bass: Joe Osborn
    Drums: Jim Gordon
    Guitars: Tony Peluso
    Oboe: Earl Dumler
    Harp: Gayle Levant

    Sandy:
    Keyboards: Richard Carpenter
    Bass: Joe Osborn
    Drums: Cubby O'Brien
    Flute & Clarinet: Tom Scott
    Flute: Bob Messenger
    Guitars: Tony Peluso
    Harp: Gayle Levant & Dorothy Remsen

    Goofus:
    Keyboards: Richard Carpenter
    Bass: Joe Osborn
    Drums: Cubby O'Brien
    Guitars: Tony Peluso
    Tenor Sax & Cheek Pop: Bob Messenger
    Tuba: Wes Jacobs

    Can't Smile Without You:
    Keyboards: Richard Carpenter
    Bass: Joe Osborn
    Drums: Jim Gordon
    Harp: Gayle Levant
    Whistle: Doug Strawn

    I Need To Be In Love:
    Vocals by Richard & Karen Carpenter and the MOR Chorale
    Keyboards: Richard Carpenter
    Bass: Joe Osborn
    Drums: Jim Gordon
    Guitars: Tony Peluso
    Harp: Gayle Levant
    English Horn: Earl Dumler
    Flute: David Shostic

    One More Time:
    Keyboards: Richard Carpenter
    Bass: Joe Osborn
    Drums: Jim Gordon
    Oboe: Earl Dumler

    Boat To Sail:
    Keyboards: Richard Carpenter
    Bass: Joe Osborn
    Drums: Jim Gordon
    Vibes: Karen & Richard Carpenter
    Guitars: Tony Peluso

    I Have You:
    Keyboards: Richard Carpenter
    Bass: Joe Osborn
    Drums: Jim Gordon
    Guitars: Tony Peluso
    Oboe: Earl Dumler
    Harp: Gayle Levant

    Breaking Up Is Hard To Do:
    Keyboards: Richard Carpenter
    Bass: Joe Osborn
    Drums: Jim Gordon
    Baritone Sax: Jim Horn
    Tenor Sax: Bob Messenger
    Guitars: Tony Peluso
    Harp: Gayle Levant

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Produced by: Richard Carpenter
    Associate Producer: Karen Carpenter
    Arranged & Orchestrated by: Richard Carpenter
    All Vocals: Karen & Richard Carpenter
    Engineered by: Ray Gerhardt
    Assistant Engineer: Dave Iveland
    Mastering Engineer: Frank DeLuna
    Art Direction: Roland Young
    Photography: Ed Caraeff
    Album Concept and Design: J. Scarkino & Co.
    Special Thanks to Ed Sulzer, Ron Gorow and John Bettis
     
  2. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    My favorite album regarding art direction and photography. Love INTTIL, Boat to Sail, and yes, A Kind of Hush. One More Time is beautiful as well.
     
  3. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    By any standard it's a good album, but compared to 'Horizon' and especially masterpieces like 'A Song For You', it's a bit sleepy. Standout tracks are 'I Need To Be In Love', 'You' (which is in desperate need of a remix) and 'Boat To Sail', with its gorgeous harmonies towards the end. The rest is pretty forgettable schmaltz and disappointing compared to what we all knew they were capable of.
     
  4. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    Definitely my least favorite Carpenters album. Agree with Stephen. It's just too mellow and lacking in energy. "I Need To Be In Love", "Boat to Sail", "You" and "One More Time" are all very nice tunes, but that's only 4 out of 10. Now that we know what was happening behind the scenes, it makes more sense. I think they were just tired at this point.
     
  5. A mixed bag for sure, but the spark seems to be missing. Too much reliance on castanet-oldies which had worn out their welcome at this point. "I Need To Be In Love" is a good song, but shouldn't have been needed to be a single. The single choices were pretty strange.

    On the positive side, the artwork is classy, right down to the repetitive logo inside the jacket. The custom label was a nice touch.

    Coincidentally I found an amusing caricature of the album cover:

    HushCharacature.jpg

    It's part of this blog/flickr account:

    www.flickr.com/photos/norncutsonart/sets/72157622581372586/detail/?page=6

    Harry
     
    Must Hear This Album likes this.
  6. jfiedler17

    jfiedler17 Active Member

    I've always found this one vaguely similar to Made in America, in that both albums have their share of decent material plagued by disappointing and overly schmaltzy production, and both albums seem very much like creative backpedaling after the more ambitious and contemporary sounds of their respective predecessors (Horizon and Passage.) Horizon was very much one of their more contemporary-sounding releases (especially standout cuts like "Only Yesterday" and "Happy"), which seemed to really hint at great things to come, but A Kind of Hush seems to pick up more where Now and Then left off, actually. Had they immediately followed Horizon with Passage, they might have fared much better in the long run.
    Still, there are a few gems on this disc. I wholeheartedly agree that "I Need to Be in Love," "Boat to Sail," and "You" are the three best moments here. Actually, replace some of the weaker cuts on Horizon, i.e. the more forgettable ballads on Side 2 of that album, with those three songs, and you've got yourself a near-masterpiece.

    - Jeff F.
     
    Must Hear This Album likes this.
  7. LondonRobert

    LondonRobert Active Member

    If i feel really mellow and having a snooze during the day, i sometimes put this album on...... probably indicative of what i feel about it........
    The vocals are impeccable, but it's just TOO middle of the road and some of the material just isn't interesting enough.

    A pity, but it's still full of Karen's stunning voice, so it's got a LOT going for it!

    I must admit, it's one of the last Carpenters album i choose to play, I do like goofus though, unlike a lot of people, i think it's a bright spot on the album - i prefer it much more to ' man smart, woman smarter ' on passage album.
     
    A&M Retro likes this.
  8. RainyDays

    RainyDays Active Member

    The four gems, as we all know, are You (which could use a remix, but is very good originally), I Need To Be In Love (Karen's anthem), One More Time (so simple, beautiful, and atmospheric), and Boat to Sail (smooth, soothing, and sexy).

    I quite like "I Have You" and to a lesser degree, "Goofus". Sandy and the other two are merely okay.

    I love the artwork and the four great songs make it worth while. It's a "autumn" album in feel and sound, mellow and pleasant.
     
  9. ullalume

    ullalume Well-Known Member

    just listened to this album all the way through on a flight. Their most disappointing album in my opinion. To me you can split it in 2. . .5 songs worthy of the duo. . .and five not.

    worthy - you, INTBIL, one more time, boat to sail, i have you
    not - AKOH, Sandy, Goofus, Can't Smile, Breaking up.
     
  10. I first heard the A Kind Of Hush LP in the winter of my 7th grade year. I was starting a new school, and the songs seemed very sad and wistful, like I was feeling that year trying to fit in at a new place. That was the year, 1983, when I began delving into the Carpenters back catalogue. A Kind Of Hush seemed to me, at the time, more “sophisticated” than the Carpenters’ earlier releases, more polished. Perhaps over-familiar with their early seventies hits, AKOH seemed a refreshing departure in style and sound. Over time, however, and aside from a few cherry-picked songs, the LP has not aged well for me.

    Over the years I have wondered why Richard chose to change the early seventies “Carpenters” formula. I’ll grant that artists may get bored with doing the “same thing” over and over again, but I think of an artist, like Sade, who puts out essentially the same album every 5 years or so, adding only a few “new” sounds du jour, and then the band goes on hiatus for another half-decade or so. The Carpenters had few missteps from 1969-1973, so as they say, “why fix what ain’t broken?” Starting with Horizon, Richard opted for choral background voices instead of his and Karen’s: tough break for we fans. In an alternate universe, I can only imagine what AKOH might sound like done ala Carpenters 1972 instrumentation and vocal technique.
     
  11. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member


    Probably the best quote of this thread so far!
     
  12. george_b

    george_b Member

    I think "You" and "One More Time" are the most memorable here. "I Need to Be in Love" is a bit mundane but it dresses up well. Essentially a slow ballads album, lacking in contrast that is such an important ingredient if you want to engage the listener.

    The castenets tracks - Kind of Hush, Breaking up .. need not be there at all.
     
  13. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I still love Hush after all these years.
     
  14. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    Yeah, my least favorite tracks are the last two ('I Have You' and 'Breaking Up Is Hard To Do'). Karen harmonizing with herself on the former is nice, but the song doesn't do much for me.
    'Can't Smile Without You' is also a sleeper, though I do really like the remake from the 'Occupants' single.
     
    GaryAlan likes this.
  15. BarryT60

    BarryT60 Well-Known Member

    To properly review this album - I have to take myself back in time to the bicentennial year and remember where my head was at - and truly review the album not only by what has stood the test of time - but how I felt about it when it was released.

    I'm going to be completely honest. No holds barred.

    First, as mentioned in the prior review, I loved Horizon. I loved the singles, the concept, the cover photography, and technically, the recordings. So - naturally, I was clamoring for new material and thrilled when a new album was so close at hand....

    Yet - when the first single was released, I was less than thrilled that this was a cover. Cute, likable ditty, but less than thrilled.

    Next up - the second singe a couple weeks prior to the album... INTBIL... Certainly, I liked this song. Beautifully written and performed, intimate and lovely. However, at the time, I was not certain it would be a huge commercial success - as it had no beat. In other words, even though our heroes didn't need to necessarily succumb to the Hustle or Jive Talkin', we needed to realize that dancing was more than a fad - and that a good slow dance could be worth it's weight in gold. INTBIL had neither a beat to slow dance to - nor the message of promise that would engage would-be lovers to embrace on the dance floor. So - I loved the song, and realize it was more of a personal statement piece than a promise of commercial success.... and for that I appreciate the choice. Otherwise, it would not have been a single choice for me.

    Album release: Art: I did not like it. I wanted to.... but I did not. The wooden trim looked very dated already - and simply didn't seem to have the panache that other Carpenters projects had until this release. The wooden trim looked like it should have been a Barbara Mandrell album - more than a Carpenters project. I did like the inner logo printing. That's about it. To name an album after a number 12 single seemed ridiculous as well. I didn't love the photography; either picture. The outside had those cheesy grins, and that picture on the inside was the very first time I felt Karen may have been ill - due to the quality of her hair, and in my opinion, the sickly nature of her general aura. Had NO idea that this was a premonition worthy of real consideration, just thought she looked bad.

    Song reviews:

    1.) There's A Kind Of Hush 2:57 (Reed/Stephens)
    Cute. - Not single worthy.
    2.) You 3:45 (Edelman)

    Loved it - still do. Still believe this should have been the single. Probably in place of INTBIL.
    3) Sandy 3:38 (Carpenter/Bettis)
    I loved this song. Most certainly because I think Karen sounds utterly beautiful on it. That intimacy of the tan album comes out here, as it did on One Love... The change that may have taken place in this reading, versus the 1971 One Love is that of a more mature version of Karen's intimacy that I think is so poignant and beautiful to hear.... 'Being with you I'm like a child again... Your eyes can see clearer than mine'.... Beautiful.
    4.) Goofus 3:32 (King/Harold/Kahn)

    I may be a minority - but I'd have killed this song in favor of Sailing On The Tide. I passed over it even when playing the album.
    5.) Can't Smile Without You 3:26 (Arnold/Martin/Morrow)

    I felt this could have easily been a single release as well. Had YOU been out in the spring, I'd have released this for fall. Sans the added woodwinds from the re-mix. That made it sound more big band-ish and less 1976-ish....
    6.) I Need To Be In Love 3:47 (Carpenter/Bettis/Hammond)

    Lovely, clearly a personal message from everyone involved.... but to me - not necessarily the right single choice for spring/summer. Maybe a winter of 76 song....
    7.) One More Time 3:30 (Anderson)

    Pretty. So glad we have it... but not my ultimate favorite on the project. Although the line: "I'm goin' way down south to Baton Rouge, tonight" is an all-time favorite Karen line... Very lovely....
    8.) Boat To Sail 3:29 (DeShannon)

    I KNOW I'm gonna get hate-mail for this one - but I never loved this one. It was a FF back in the day for me - and now, I only listen to it - because there is no more new material. I found it boring.
    9.) I Have You 3:25 (Carpenter/Bettis)

    Pretty - pretty - pretty. Intimate and lovely.
    10.) Breaking Up Is Hard To Do 2:34 (Sedaka/Greenfield)

    Fun. I'm glad it was here - as it was livelier than Hush, and was one of the few areas where I heard "life" and fun....

    All in all - I'd sum this one up as: a very pretty sounding album. Not earthshaking. Pretty. IMHO - the correct single choices may have helped the commercial success of the project, but all in all - the albums preceding and following were much more polished and seemed to live up to the high standards with which we had come to expect from the act.
     
  16. Thanks Barry - it's always nice to go back into a time capsule and read how someone felt at the time. I liked the artwork, but your assessments of the tracks are pretty close to mine.

    Harry
     
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  17. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    Mine, too. Great recap.
     
  18. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I always love it when folks respond in detail. Thanks, Barry. I don't agree with a lot of what you've said, but I think many points are valid. Especially INTBIL as single material. I knew it was beautiful, but I also thought the choir killed its chances for great success.
     
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  19. george_b

    george_b Member

    If anything I think Barry flatters "A Kind of Hush". I agree that it was inferior to the albums that came before .. with the exception of Horizon possibly. I think of Horizon, A Kind of Hush and Passage as three of a kind. Strong similarities across them.
     
  20. BarryT60

    BarryT60 Well-Known Member

    Thanks all for the responses...

    I actually reviewed Passage for my high school newspaper!! I'm gonna try to find that and be ready for the next "official" album review!! :)
     
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  21. cricketer

    cricketer New Member

    Here in the UK I was a little bit late in truly appreciating K&R`s talent--it really took the magic,and rockier feel,of "Goodbye to love" to fully "hook" me.
    I rushed out and bought "SFU",the retitled Ticket To Ride and Carpenters albums and from then on excitedly purchased all subsequent albums on their respective release dates.

    I so enjoyed Now And Then,"The Singles" and Horizon that I can remember being very disappointed upon my initial listen to "A Kind Of Hush".....I just found the actual sound of the album to be lacking "something".
    I have changed my views on so many aspects of K&R`s career over the years and to this day my personal favourite songs are not entirely set in stone but this is the one album where I am certain my initial opinion remains the same....

    From that first listen I have always loved "You" (although I now think,as other contributors have noted elsewhere,that a remix could improve it),and I appreciated the sparser sound of "One more Time"......I also thought the lyrics of "I Need To Be In Love",and of course Karen`s vocals,were outstanding but the tune didn`t "grab me"
    Even then I was a huge Jackie DeShannon fan so I was pleased that the Carpenters had covered "Boat To Sail" but overall I just found the album to be a bit of a let down.

    Obviously,as the years have gone by and especially since the publication of the Ray Coleman book I feel grateful that Karen and Richard were able to produce anything of note from 1975 onwards given the personal and career pressure they always seemed to be under.

    Also as my music collection has grown extensively over the decades,I have certainly found that virtually all of my favourite artists have had career peaks and troughs....and ,in my opinion,therefore,this album with its one or two outstanding tracks and several disappointing songs is definitely not a disaster.
     
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  22. A great way of looking at A KIND OF HUSH. Not the best, but really not a disaster either.

    Harry
     
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  23. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Very fair appraisal!
     
  24. BGW

    BGW Member

    This thread has inspired me to listen to it again, all the way through. It's been several months.

    I have mixed thoughts on the album, but on the whole, I like it. Then again, I like them all.

    AKOH was the second Carpenters album I got- after GH 69-73. Initially I was going to say it's a bad choice for a budding fan, but now, after listening to it, it's better than I thought. I had forgotten how much harmonizing Karen does with herself, which I absolutely love. While few of the songs instantly grab you like those of the GH album (I was just about paralyzed when I first heard Superstar, and Ticket still makes me shiver), they have a real beauty to them. To me, if I didn't know the year of their albums, I would have placed it before Horizon. There's still a lot of old-school Carpenters style underneath the tunes, whereas Horizon is much more of a departure.

    I must say, I think this is the first time I've listened to AKOH through my new headphones- I'd forgotten how good the sound quality of this album is. It's fantastic. These headphones use planar drivers (HiFiMan HE-400) which really accentuates the lushness of the recording. Karen's voice sounds about the best of any of the albums, tape hiss is almost nonexistent, and the level of detail and clarity is stunning. Horizon is like this, too, I wonder if A&M got new gear &/or Richard started laying tracks down on a different tape formula. Does anyone know what tape & machine he was using at this point?

    As for the artwork, I really don't know. The front always makes me cringe a bit. I don't have the LP or the CD so I don't know what the inner album looks like. With the whole steamy window thing, I can never help but think of that comment made during an interview about the way the Carpenters were marketed. I think was actually John Bettis, who said something along the lines of "What are they, brother and sister or husband and wife?". The cover of AKOH really makes it hard to tell.
     
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