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Official Review [Album]: "HORIZON" (SP-4530)

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

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  1. ***** (BEST)

    36 vote(s)
    50.0%
  2. ****

    25 vote(s)
    34.7%
  3. ***

    8 vote(s)
    11.1%
  4. **

    1 vote(s)
    1.4%
  5. *

    2 vote(s)
    2.8%
  1. Their 1969-1973 sound was quite different from their later sound; much more baroque and eclectic, whereas from Horizon on it was more air in the mix, so to speak. I think Horizon was their peak and still featured Karen's "old" voice, but the arrangements were not the same as the ones heard on N&T largely. They found a balance on the early stuff that had a light touch to balance out the mournful ballads which later just shifted totally towards the latter mostly. You can hear a tighter reign on the 69-73 songs that made the songs explode with a distinctive joy tinged with sadness.
     
    David A likes this.
  2. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I notice that the resource has a time of
    4:37 for the Song
    "Happy".....
    The LP Horizon has the song clocking in at 3:50.
    The CD Treasures (Japan issue) gets to 3:45 (it fades away quickly....)
    Which leads to my query:
    is the Treasures version the same mix as the LP ?
     
    Don Malcolm likes this.
  3. Thanks for catching that GaryAlan. It's a typo perpetuated by the fact that I used the CDs when compiling the data for the Resource. And on the back of the HORIZON CD - both that I have, original and Remastered, the track is listed as 4:37. It has, however, never appeared at that length anywhere.

    scan0002b.jpg

    I've changed the Resource's timing to read 3:48 for "Happy". Thanks again for catching that.
     
    Don Malcolm and theninjarabbit like this.
  4. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Here is Richard and Karen's October 30,1978 interview
    (from Reader's Digest Set):
    Solitaire....
    "R: I heard Solitaire on a Neil Sedaka album. It caught my ear and then I forgot about it.
    Then, Andy Williams had a hit with it in England and,of course, I remembered it again.
    It's not one of Karen's favorites, but she sings the hell out of it.
    K: It's a good record, but never did...For some strange reason, he loves it, the vocal performance.
    I liked it too,but somehow it drags for me. I don't know."
     
    Carpe diem likes this.
  5. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    I always wondered if the little "tiff" that Richard and Neil Sedaka had in Vegas in 1975 had any influence on Karen not liking the recording. She was fiercely protective of her brother and the Carpenter brand. The song doesn't drag any more than Crescent Noon and most fans agree that Solitaire was one of her best (if not the best) performances.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  6. ars nova

    ars nova Active Member

    I was a teen, and the biggest " out " carpenters fan in dallas, when the boston pops concert aired. the band was great, Karen and Richard were generous, allowing bandmates their moments in the sun. I was disappointed with Karen's vocals; the notes were there, but little emotion. it was during this performance that I realized that when she tried to connect with the audience, her facial posture changed the quality of her voice. while singing with the wide eyed "surprised" look,, there was no emotional connection to the lyric. thankfully other live recordings were stunning presenting the innuendo of the studio recordings.

    I've never understood some negative reactions to the instrumentals and Richard taking lead vocal. carpenters were Karen and Richard not Karen and her near-sighted brother that plays piano for her.
     
  7. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Nice to read an alternative viewpoint, Ars Nova !
    I really believe the 1974 Pops Performance needed no
    Warsaw Concerto,
    (whether or not I enjoy the performance is beside the point):
    the majority of the watching public would have tuned in to hear Karen sing,
    not tuned in to watch a solo-piano performance. Regardless of who was on the piano !
    And, his performance--solitary on piano--only reinforces the "separateness" of the two
    performers ! "Carpenters" did not perform Warsaw Concerto--that was all Richard,
    what else is the public supposed to take away from that ?
    (Of course, I say the same regarding Karen solo-ing on the drums. Great as she is
    on drums, those drum solos in the later concerts/tv shows only reinforce "separateness."
     
  8. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Imagine being only 25 years old and being the world's best known singer at the time. The pressure she must have felt! And the pressure a 28 year old Richard must have felt to keep the hits coming.
     
    song4u, Carpe diem, David A and 2 others like this.
  9. Carl

    Carl New Member

    I love this album and it's one I play often. It's among my favourite of the albums and one I was desperate to get my hands on years ago. I was so pleased when I eventually got a copy of it. While the album contains a number of ballads it's nicely book ended by two short tracks which ends and starts the album nicely. A favourite track has to be solitaire. Karen's vocals are amazing in this track and it's like she's in the room singing with you. I don't mind the cover art but I prefer the Anthology artwork.
     
    GaryAlan and Carpe diem like this.
  10. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Agree. In the cut throat music business where "what have you done for me lately" rules supreme; pretty heady stuff to have to deal with. Their "management" during their career left a lot to be desired.
     
    song4u likes this.
  11. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Wasn't Sherwin Bash also Herb Alpert's manager during the period ? Who complained at that time ?
    Weintraub, after Bash, secured a better re-signing deal (as per Coleman),
    so, perhaps royalty payouts were better than previously.
    Also, reading: A&M Records,The First 25 Years (according to Derek Green)
    Alpert and Carpenters were the top international artists of the time, thus
    explaining the decisions to concentrate efforts of the duo outside of the USA,
    especially when popularity/sales started to decline in the USA.
    No matter what I may think of the two respective Managers:
    it is clear that nearly every decision was made on the basis of maximizing monetary
    incentive for minimum expenditure.





     
  12. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Sherwin Bash was their manager up to late 1975 and they signed with Weintraub I believe in January 1, 1976. He secured them their first TV special and also better royalties as he felt their previous deal with A&M, given their status on the label as a major act, had been terrible. That deal also gave Richard exclusive right of approval on all future release of Carpenter material, which is why he maintains such strict control to this day on their catalogue and vaults.
     
  13. song4u

    song4u Well-Known Member

    I think they have always received more appreciation in Japan and England. Their image in the U.S was a big hindrance to them, and the kitschy TV specials likely made them less popular by the younger generation in the U.S. I cannot fathom why Music, Music, Music was the least watched and appreciated here. I thought it was the best one, because it was classy and focused on music. No offense to Mr Weintraub, but in hindsight, their un-hip image got worse under his management.
     
  14. song4u

    song4u Well-Known Member

    ^^I should have added that they likewise did not need to be made out to be something they weren't to give them a popular image. Their music could stand on their own - the Vegas shows were too "old" for them.
     
    Carpe diem likes this.
  15. David A

    David A Active Member

    I would suggest that the same image that hurt them somewhat in the USA, may have been a large part of their appeal in Japan. I'm not sure why, but the Japanese audience loves these kinds of acts. From The C's to ABBA to bands like the Backstreet Boys and N'Sync...if you review the best-selling acts in Japan over the last 5 decades a significant majority of them fall under the categories of Pop/Bubblegum Pop/Soft Rock.
     
  16. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Agree. I have never understood why their "management" booked them into Las Vegas/Lake Tahoe hotel shows so early in their careers. It's no wonder Richard felt "upstaged" by Neil Sedaka, who was the opening act for The Carpenters back in 1975. The leisure suit crowd must have felt a lot more comfortable with Sedaka doing his hits from the late 50s early 60s than a couple of kids in their mid-20s singing new material they were not that familiar with.
     
    song4u likes this.
  17. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    I totally agree with you. Her vocal is great on it but the tune really does drag. I don't listen to it that often but when I do, I'm rewarded.
     
  18. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Continuing with the "management" aspect a little bit. Their first TV special I thought was pretty good for a first effort. It was genuinely funny at times and I thought Karen was especially charming. I really liked the medley of their hits, and was one of the few televised performances of Karen singing Only Yesterday live. Which was a treat. I never understood why they put that racing sequence with Richard driving and Howard Cosell announcing. Seemed very odd; maybe they wanted to stress Richard's love of fast cars? I can see having John Denver as a guest star as he was a major MOR act at that time, but Victor Borge? Would anyone under the age of 50 at that time even know who Victor Borge was? Their subsequent TV specials after that degenerated into Donny & Marie type shtick and not-so-funny comedy skits with more lame guest stars like the McNichol siblings, John Davidson, Charlie Callas, and Suzanne Somers, Yuck!

    It was very uncomfortable (even to this day) watching Karen doing a song and dance routine with Suzanne Somers to that Godawful Man Smart, Woman Smarter and trying to be sexy throwing a veil around Charlie Callas:shake:?! Oy Vey!! Not to mention Richard not keeping up with the disco dance routines wearing his white Elvis-like jumpsuit. No wonder he never liked the television specials; the poor guy probably still wakes up in a cold sweat thinking about them! Who was the driving force behind these disasters, their management perhaps?

    Their Music Music Music special was a breath of fresh air, they got rid of the "forced" comedy routines and concentrated on the music. That duet of Karen with Ella Fitzgerald on This Masquerade is priceless television, lip-synced or not.

    Point being: I thought their "management" made a lot of bad judgement calls concerning Vegas and TV appearances. They could've been marketed a whole lot better it seems in retrospect.
     
  19. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    That would be Jerry Weintraub who they signed with in January 1976. No one really ever mentions it, but he's largely to blame for the God-awful TV specials and the choice of Vegas lounge-type concert venues in the late 1970s.
     
    Carpe diem likes this.
  20. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^I guarantee the only moment I ever felt embarrassed to purchase an LP
    was when I grabbed a copy of the LP Live at the Palladium (in an 'import record bin').
    The front cover of the LP actually made me cringe (not even the Close To You cover did that to me !).
    That cover--in my humble estimation--was a large part of the so-called 'image' perception problem !
    I did, however, like the photo on the backside: Double-decker bus with Carpenters silhouettes and logo.
    Oh...what is the Horizon connection....
    I did enjoy how Only Yesterday was worked into the Medley.....
    Only Yesterday and Kind of Hush are the only two songs from post- 1974 , on this late 1976 album.
     
  21. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Active Member

    In fairness though (and I'm no fan of the TV specials), these type of shows were fairly popular at the time. Weintraub was obviously looking for a way to keep them visible without them having to tour so much, so this was one way of doing so (although of course they didn't stop touring at this time, with the postponed international tour in 1976 and then a number of dates in Vegas thereafter).

    What's more, although Richard clearly regrets his involvement in the specials now, if Ray Coleman's book is to be believed, both he and Karen were keen to secure some sort of TV deal at the time.
     
    Carpe diem likes this.
  22. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    It would be interesting to know what impact if any the TV shows had on sales.
     
  23. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Mark, a quick glance at Billboard--regards Passage:
    The Space Encounters aired May 1978.
    But, Passage LP was #108 on January 28,1978 and # 192 February 11, 1978.
    (Wow, what a drop...)
    My guess is that, at least in this instance, sales--of Passage-- were uninfluenced
    by the TV Special in 1978.
     
  24. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Active Member

    For at least a couple of them (Music, Music, Music and the first Christmas special), they didn't have a current album on release at the time being promoted by the special, so it doesn't always seem to have been tied to boosting sales. I can't imagine they had much of an effect, although of course TV could have an effect - 'The Karen Carpenter Story' was reported as boosting sales in the US in the late 1980s, tempered only the fact that retailers weren't carrying much stock in anticipation of this (and there being no tie-in release). In the UK, its showing caused three albums that were still in print (the two Singles albums and Lovelines) to enter/re-enter the charts.

    Again, although I suspect there's no clear way of telling, I wonder whether their heavy touring around the US in the first half of the 1970s had a big effect on their album sales. Unlike today, when touring is often the most lucrative part of the business for artists, I don't think they were making much money on the tours themselves, and you only have to look at the slight under-performance of the A Song For You album compared to the other albums from their golden era to draw the conclusion that the albums were chiefly reliant on hit singles rather than anything else.
     
  25. ars nova

    ars nova Active Member

    I expect the vegas shows were scheduled so they could be near home and to be able to stay in one place for more than one night.

    the specials had the 'seed' of a good idea, executed incorrectly. you can sense the director told Karen to ' go out there' and be as cute as you can be. the picture mentioned on the 'live' cover is the same dress on the TOP OF THE WORLD segment of one of the specials. this is a 28 year old woman wearing a bow with ribbons on the back of hear head! equally as ridiculous is the MCD video with that damn bonnet. I thought an idea for MCD would be a WWII girlfriend segment, b/w.

    Richard WAS uncomfortable, to have so much control in the recording studio and so little in the tv studio. there should have been one newly recorded song on each special, they almost got there with DANCIN' IN THE STREETS, boy, they missed that opportunity!
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2017

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