Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Jul 1, 2013.
Here is Randy Edelman--writer of the song "You"--performing his song:
If they would have replaced "Goofus," "Can't Smile Without You," and "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" with better songs this would have been a great album. These three song, to me anyway, are too "hokey" that it affected my overall impression with this album. One of my least favorite if not THE least favorite of all their albums.
It's small but sweet, I love this single.
Record World Goofus Single Review Aug 28, 1976
Certainly not one of their best offerings. In fact, it's the album (of theirs) I play the least. It can be pretty dull, and when I play it, the interest breaks down before I complete it. As for the songs, I do like their cover of A Kind Of Hush. It's bouncy, energetic. It was the last 45 I purchased of theirs until Touch Me When We're Dancing. There was a time when I wasn't quite overwhelmed with I Need To Be In Love, but that has changed over time. In fact, recently I have found myself humming the melody (well, going Na Na Na Na Na...) while at work, only phrasing it uptempo instead of as a ballad. Try it sometime, going Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Naaaa (but uptempo). It may have worked as an uptempo song, as well. I heard their version of Can't Smile Without You years after Barry Manilow's hit version, so I can't offer a positive comparison. I Have You and Sandy are good songs, but don't stand up with any of their other work.
I have to agree on that one. 'A Kind Of Hush' has always been a non-starter for me. I liked it enough in '76, but even then I noticed a lack of energy.
Cashbox Carpenters Cover June 19, 1976
I think this inside article, the photo's been flipped
Cashbox A Kind Of Hush LP Review June 26, 1976
Given Karen's precarious health during the time table when AKOH was recorded (late 75-early 76, no?) I've always wondered when the publicity photos from the album were taken. She is not as thin as the few pictures we have of her from 75, yet there is still a fragility about her that wasn't present in late 76.
I'm not sure I'd call the AKOH look fragile as much as gentle/relaxed/introspective perhaps.
Perhaps it wasn't used because it was too similar-looking to the photo on the front cover, but that picture from the Cashbox cover is so much nicer than the one from the same photo session that was used on the inner sleeve for A Kind of Hush, which makes Karen look fragile, ill and annoyed.
Maybe it's me reading it in hindsight, but although the Cashbox review of the album is phrased positively, it (probably unintentionally) hits on several of the album's problems - '[a] clean collection of tunes' and 'smooth, integrating melodies' (so nothing challenging) and 'truly representative of the kind of music that the Carpenters are famous for' (so breaking no new creative ground and just offering more of the same).
I think between Aug '75 and spring '76, Karen's weight went up from 80 pounds to around 100 (when they cancelled a tour and she stayed with her parents for a brief stint), hence her looking very thin, but not worryingly so, as she would a year later. These pics were probably from April/May '76.
She did the same thing between March and August of '80, when she saw a nutrionist (and Richard refused to start MIA until she gained weight) and went from around the 80 pound mark to 106 pounds. Obviously that number dropped rapidly following the wedding.
Just pulled out the LP. Man I love the photography and art direction of this album! (Obviously- see my avatar.)
Aside from I Need To Be In Love, there isn't a single song on this album I wouldn't replace with better material.
Oh my....I am in the minority....
Hush, You,I Have You, Goofus, I Need To Be In Love, One More Time,
Boat To Sail and to a much lesser extent Sandy....I like them !
My personal standouts: One More Time and I Need To Be In Love.
I would replace Breaking Up and Can't Smile Without You,
but....wait...I do like the (better) single-remix of Can't Smile Without You.
Had we gotten the ballad version of Breaking Up Is Hard To Do---I'd be sold on it!
In many ways I refer to this album as Made In America, Volume One....
I put on Boat to Sail yesterday with headphones.
So, so nice, relaxing. That one always takes me away.
Probably one of Karen's more interesting interpretations.
When she says "Forget not" it almost sounds like "For gett'n on".
Just in how she changed the vowel sound on "not".
Some singers would probably belt that, but very effective choice on her part.
I can only imagine a video or live performance of that with some overlaid imagery of sail boats and the two of them relaxing with the band or something.
Underrated, imo. It's similar to Sailing on the Tide.
Nice fit for them I think!
And the "minority" swells...
As I've outlined here and elsewhere, A Kind of Hush is exquisite. From the bouncy and fun title track through the beautiful ballad "You," through Karen's self-harmony in "I Have You," through the emotional delivery of Karen's favorite "I Need to Be in Love," through the understated beauty of "One More Time," this album is terrific! It spawned 3 singles, and 2 or 3 other tracks could easily have been singles (e.g., "You," "Can't Smile Without You").
For me, this album (along with its predecessor Horizon) captures the halcyon days of the Carpenters. I have this visceral, sentimental reaction to Hush as it further captures the halcyon days of a shy, awkward teenage James in the throes of self-discovery. When I play this wonderful selection of songs, I am happily transported to those days, one more time...
^^^ Me, too, James! Me, too. And WYBIMLA, I'm with you on Boat to Sail. One of my favorite Carps songs ever.
It would be interesting (though very sad) to chart visually how she appeared going by every few months. I agree that around the middle of 1976 she did she look much healthier than she had even in early 1975. Does anyone know when the first TV special was shot? She looked really great and glowing there and you can tell she had put back some weight. In fact, it may have been the final time ever we saw her on TV where she looked relatively healthy. After this it was a bit up and down but she never looked consistently healthy again.
Mary Beth, I have enjoyed your contributions to this site! Your analysis and curiosity are palpable. I think that many of us have so many unanswered questions with regards to our duo. GaryAlan, in particular, has performed a wealth of research and presented the data (and his analyses) here in his quest to fill in as many blanks as possible.
Karen's passing put a face on anorexia nervosa. It's not a role she pursued or chose. Regrettably, Karen's health is part of her story --- it will always be so --- and yet I try not to think about it. A timeline of pictures of Karen that accentuate her physical decline is not something I would care to see. (I know you state that it would be "very sad" to do so.) It's not something I would want to see of a loved one either. Over the years, I have been disappointed whenever I came across an article on Karen that featured a picture of a gaunt Karen, as did the infamous (and famous) People magazine cover that reported her death. I don't think she should be defined in those terms of the illness that ended up taking her life. I don't think that is how she should be remembered. By all reports, her beautiful spirit remained intact throughout her life. And that is my preferred focus...
I didn't mean to imply that she should be defined by her illness or that it should be the main focus of her life, nor that someone should literally chart through images her decline. In terms of psychology, looking at it from another point of view, you might able to understand what was going on inside her when you look at her physically, and how it manifests itself externally. Again, I mean in theory, as it would be painful for people like us who love Karen to examine pics like this continually. Also, her eyes too. The window to the soul. You can get a better feel for solving the enigma that was Karen Carpenter often by looking and examining her eyes throughout the years and what they might be telling or withholding.
The Japanese pressing of this LP (GP-2001),in the Liner,
has a few extra photos of Karen from the Hush sessions.
Of all of the photos I have seen, the one chosen for the inner sleeve
is the worst one. Why was it chosen over some others ?
Of course, my view is subjective.
Over-all, I really like the entire Hush LP artwork.
Reading the book, A&M Records, The First 25 Years,
it states that 1976 saw a marked decline across all markets
(that is all music sales , not simply a decline in Carpenters' sales or A&M Records' sales).
Apparently, the Frampton Live Album "saved the day" as far as A&M goes, in 1976.
In any event, perhaps--given all that was transpiring in the record business--
(not to mention Karen's health issues)
the LP A Kind Of Hush did as well as can be expected, when taken in that perspective.
Perhaps, at the time of its release, nothing more could have been expected ?
Does any one have a specific recollection of the record business industry during 1976 ?
The Billboard Top 100 for 1976
1 "Silly Love Songs" Wings
2 "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" Elton John & Kiki Dee
3 "Disco Lady" Johnnie Taylor
4 "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)" The Four Seasons
5 "Play That Funky Music" Wild Cherry
6 "Kiss and Say Goodbye" The Manhattans
7 "Love Machine" The Miracles
8 "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" Paul Simon
9 "Love Is Alive" Gary Wright
10 "A Fifth of Beethoven" Walter Murphy & The Big Apple Band
11 "Sara Smile" Hall & Oates
12 "Afternoon Delight" Starland Vocal Band
13 "I Write the Songs" Barry Manilow
14 "Fly, Robin, Fly" Silver Convention
15 "Love Hangover" Diana Ross
16 "Get Closer" Seals and Crofts
17 "More, More, More" Andrea True Connection
18 "Bohemian Rhapsody" Queen
19 "Misty Blue" Dorothy Moore
20 "Boogie Fever" The Sylvers
21 "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight" England Dan & John Ford Coley
22 "You Sexy Thing" Hot Chocolate
23 "Love Hurts" Nazareth
24 "Get Up and Boogie" Silver Convention
25 "Take It to the Limit" Eagles
26 "(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty" KC and the Sunshine Band
27 "Sweet Love" Commodores
28 "Right Back Where We Started From" Maxine Nightingale
29 "Theme from S.W.A.T." Rhythm Heritage
30 "Love Rollercoaster" Ohio Players
31 "You Should Be Dancing" Bee Gees
32 "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine" Lou Rawls
33 "Golden Years" David Bowie
34 "Moonlight Feels Right" Starbuck
35 "Only Sixteen" Dr. Hook
36 "Let Your Love Flow" The Bellamy Brothers
37 "Dream Weaver" Gary Wright
38 "Turn the Beat Around" Vicki Sue Robinson
39 "Lonely Night (Angel Face)" Captain & Tennille
40 "All by Myself" Eric Carmen
41 "Love to Love You Baby" Donna Summer
42 "Deep Purple" Donny & Marie Osmond
43 "Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)" Diana Ross
44 "Sweet Thing" Rufus
45 "That's the Way (I Like It)" KC and the Sunshine Band
46 "A Little Bit More" Dr. Hook
47 "Shannon" Henry Gross
48 "If You Leave Me Now" Chicago
49 "Lowdown" Boz Scaggs
50 "Show Me the Way" Peter Frampton
51 "Dream On" Aerosmith
52 "I Love Music" The O'Jays
53 "Say You Love Me" Fleetwood Mac
54 "Times of Your Life" Paul Anka
55 "Devil Woman" Cliff Richard
56 "Fooled Around and Fell in Love" Elvin Bishop
57 "Convoy" C. W. McCall
58 "Welcome Back" John Sebastian
59 "Sing a Song" Earth, Wind & Fire
60 "Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel" Tavares
61 "I'll Be Good to You" The Brothers Johnson
62 "Rock and Roll Music" The Beach Boys
63 "Shop Around" Captain & Tennille
64 "Saturday Night" Bay City Rollers
65 "Island Girl" Elton John
66 "Let's Do It Again" The Staple Singers
67 "Let 'Em In" Wings
68 "Baby Face" Wing and a Prayer Fife and Drum Corps
69 "This Masquerade" George Benson
70 "Evil Woman" Electric Light Orchestra
71 "Wham Bam" Silver
72 "I'm Easy" Keith Carradine
73 "Wake Up Everybody" Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes
74 "Summer" War
75 "Let Her In" John Travolta
76 "Fox on the Run" Sweet
77 "Rhiannon" Fleetwood Mac
78 "Got to Get You into My Life" The Beatles
79 "Fanny (Be Tender with My Love)" Bee Gees
80 "Getaway" Earth, Wind & Fire
81 "She's Gone" Hall & Oates
82 "Still the One" Orleans
83 "You're My Best Friend" Queen
84 "With Your Love" Jefferson Starship
85 "Slow Ride" Foghat
86 "Who'd She Coo?" Ohio Players
87 "The Boys Are Back in Town" Thin Lizzy
88 "Walk Away from Love" David Ruffin
89 "Baby, I Love Your Way (live)" Peter Frampton
90 "Young Hearts Run Free" Candi Staton
91 "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" Neil Sedaka
92 "Money Honey" Bay City Rollers
93 "Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)" Parliament
94 "Junk Food Junkie" Larry Groce
95 "Tryin' to Get the Feeling Again" Barry Manilow
96 "Rock and Roll All Nite" Kiss
97 "Disco Duck" Rick Dees & His Cast of Idiots
98 "Take the Money and Run" Steve Miller Band
99 "Squeeze Box" The Who
100 "Country Boy (You Got Your Feet in L.A.)" Glen Campbell
This album played perfect in the rotation of my uncle's albums from the 50's of Patti Paige and Doris Day, and Rosemary Clooney, but not songs from the 70's. In the early 70's they were a leader in the lighter side of 70's pop, but with A Kind of Hush they were out of focus with the bubblegum song of Breaking up Is Hard To Do. They were not bubblegum, but it was hard to defend their musical talents with a song that made people laugh at them and it made it embarrassing to be a fan. Even the song You lacked an edge. I guess I would say the edge was gone. Passage reclaimed it, but Hush had people already tuned out.
I must have missed the Billboard magazine the week Goofus was a single, for it was not until years later (decades) that I knew it actually happened. Then the "Chorale" used in I Need To Be In Love killed it for radio play. After Solitaire, which I love, I thought they would certainly never release anything that slow and soft again. Even then, I though Love Me For What I Am dwelt with subject matter of the times and would have made a stronger hit for that reason alone, plus Karen's vocals were perfect as a text painting for the song. Boat To Sail had some of this, and if we had Ordinary Fool that would have been another. Sandy missed the boat with its title alone. It seemed to toss between a friend devotion to a love song and we could not tell why the struggle with Sandy being a female name. Goofus was fun, but an album song only. (I like From This Moment On, a lot, but not as a single.). One More Time is esquisite, but again, its a thank you song for the album purchase. I Can't Smile Without You just lingers without structure. It would have been better with just piano and vocal. Maybe then, it would have found the punch Barry Manilow gave it.
The art work is pretty but the picture chosen is not. It made them look older than they were. The label on the album was beautiful! It's my favorite part of the album. When I was 16, I liked this album simply because I had new songs of Karen's voice to drink in. Besides all the criticism, it still had the most beautiful voice of a lifetime in my ears.