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Official Review [Album]: "LOVELINES" (SP-3931)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Oct 31, 2013.

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  1. ***** (BEST)

    9 vote(s)
    17.3%
  2. ****

    27 vote(s)
    51.9%
  3. ***

    8 vote(s)
    15.4%
  4. **

    7 vote(s)
    13.5%
  5. *

    1 vote(s)
    1.9%
  1. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Only certain lines are different takes, for example the very first one "I wouldn't have the TV in the bedroom/I wouldn't have this teardrop in my eye". That's a different take, Karen whispers it on the original version but it's more strident on the remix. Another line that's different is "If you take my hand I'll show you just how love could be so right". In the original, the word "right" is more pronounced. It's not an entirely different take throughout the whole track.
     
  2. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    My only other, obvious ( perhaps stupid !) question(s):
    (1) Do alternate Takes exist on any other Solo Songs?
    (2) When a remix exists, or a song is released as remixed,
    (or, not) how do I delineate differences in Vocal Takes as
    compared to differences which are a result of "the mixing process"
    or "the technology used at the time" ? (i.e., all remixes are not necessarily a different vocal take).
    That is, if said information is not put forth on public display ,i.e.,the Liner Notes or an interview,
    should I simply assume all remixes sound different because they are different vocal takes?

    I apologize for the naivete'.
    However, although, obviously I am aware,
    (I do have ears, and I am able to read)
    and have been, that the two versions are 'different',
    I did not 'know' that they were entirely different vocal takes.
    (I had merely assumed the differences were due to Remixing/production & technology!)
    I do appreciate all members for setting me straight !
     
  3. The day Karen died was the apocalypse in my book!
     
    Charlie D likes this.
  4. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Worth Revisiting:
    Karen Carpenter: She Had Only Just Begun :
    New Carpenters' album features four songs from Karen's ill-fated solo collection.
    The album suggests she might have had a career as a soloist.

    November 07, 1989|PAUL GREIN
    KarenandRichard.
    Those names were linked so often in the 1970s, when the Carpenters were the hottest duo in pop music, that many pop fans came to think of the pair as one.
    That was fine early in the decade when the Downey brother-and-sister team was turning out instant standards such as
    "We've Only Just Begun" and "Close to You," but it started to bother Karen in the late 1970s when the duo's fortunes declined sharply.
    In an effort to establish an independent identity at last, Karen moved to New York in 1979 to record a solo album with Grammy-winning producer Phil Ramone,
    whose credits include hits by Billy Joel, Paul Simon and Barbra Streisand.
    But the album was never released.
    Instead, Karen and Richard reteamed to record a traditional Carpenters album, which failed to reverse their downward career momentum.
    And in 1983--after a brief, failed marriage--Karen died at 32 of complications from anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder which had plagued her since the mid '70s.
    With her death, the "lost Karen tapes" became even more of a source of mystery among fans.
    But they remained unavailable--until now.
    Four songs from that shelved 1979 album are featured--along with eight previously unreleased Carpenters recordings--on a just-released Carpenters album, "Lovelines."
    The recordings--released to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Carpenters' signing with A&M Records--
    suggest that Karen could work effectively outside the Carpenters' mellow pop sound and could have gone on to a thriving solo career.
    The big question: Why was the solo album put in limbo?
    The bigger question: If the album had been released and been successful, would things have turned out differently for Karen?
    The suspicion in some music industry quarters has been that Karen shelved the solo album out of loyalty to Richard, who was anxious to get back to work in 1979 after recovering from a Quaalude dependency.
    (Richard's dependency was revealed in CBS-TV's "The Karen Carpenter Story," the highest-rated TV movie of the 1988-89 season.)
    In an interview tied to the release of the new album, Richard Carpenter, 43, was candid about the conflicts within the Carpenters in the late '70s.
    "Karen would mention every now and again that it would be nice to receive some accolades as a solo singer," he said in an A&M office in Hollywood.
    "Of course, that made me feel badly, because we were a duo. Lord knows, she was the star of the duo, but that's not quite the same."
    Richard said that he had a less-than-supportive reaction to Karen's announcement--just after he had begun a six-week drug rehabilitation program--
    that she was planning to record an album without him.
    "I probably said something like, 'You're just abandoning ship, just taking off and doing what you want to do.' I was feeling sorry for myself," he said. "It was a combination of feeling I was being abandoned--which was anything but the case looking back on it--and thinking this was a perfect time for her to get some treatment for her disorder. So I was not happy, and I told her as much."
    Richard, who produced and arranged the Carpenters' long string of hits, also acknowledged that he felt threatened by Karen's teaming up with another producer.
    "I'm human and it did cross my mind that something could come out of this and just explode at which time I would be going through a number of emotions. I'd be happy for Karen because I always felt that she should have been in the Top 5. On the other hand, being sensitive and feeling I'd done a good job for the Carpenters I would have been a little bit upset."
    In a separate interview from his New York office, producer Phil Ramone discussed his and Karen's objective on the album. "We were thinking two things:
    How do we make a record that doesn't sound like the Carpenters, and what could we say lyrically in these songs that has a more mature attitude?"
    The solo album included a spare, intimate reading of the sexually direct "Make Believe It's Your First Time" and a bluesy version of Paul Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years"--though Karen, mindful of her prim image--had Simon change the line, "4 in the morning / crapped out / yawning" to the more demure "crashed out."
    "Karen was frustrated by the Goody Two-Shoes image, but she was torn," Ramone said. "She wanted to do try new things, but then she'd turn around and say, 'We're going to do another Carpenters Christmas special.' I kept saying, 'The (Andy) Williams family even got past that one.' "
    Ramone still remembers the day in early 1980 when he and Karen played the album for Richard and A&M founders Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss.
    "The silence was deafening," he said. "Richard didn't say much and still hasn't. He's accepted these songs kind of like stepchildren. Karen was always the sweetheart of A&M, and Herb and Jerry reacted almost like it was their teen-age daughter I was messing with."

    Source:
    http://articles.latimes.com/1989-11-07/entertainment/ca-918_1_karen-carpenter-album
     
    byline likes this.
  5. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    If a neophyte happened upon the wonderful , informative and insightful
    Carpenters Recording Resource:
    "..the resource goes in depth...analyzing the mixing and overdub differences ...between the versions..."
    for the individual songs....
    and, read for example:
    If I Had You
    1989 “Carpenters” remix: a remix in 1989 from solo album, ends cold.
    Original solo album mix: ends in fade

    Wouldn't that tend to reinforce the assumption of a remix, only ?
    Simply an observation.
     
  6. byline

    byline Active Member

    Fascinating quotes in Paul Grein's article. It's probably the most honest Richard has ever been about his reactions to Karen's solo album, both the prospect of it and the reality. It's too bad that some very human emotions (and it sounds like Herb and Jerry were guilty of this, too) got in the way. I still think this was primarily a business decision, but one that was likely colored by their emotional biases. Pretty much a no-win situation all around, especially for Karen.
     
    Rick likes this.
  7. Just because a segment of a different vocal is flown in, or indeed an entirely different vocal take, doesn't mean that an altered recording is NOT a remix. Richard has been mixing in different vocal takes on countless songs over the years and they're still called "remixes." The descriptions in the Carpenters Complete Recording Resource are stated the way they are to provide easy means of identification. You hear a fade out, it's the original. You hear a cold ending, it's the remix.

    Not every detail of every recording that's been changed in some way is documented. I think that would be too cumbersome to read through, and I personally don't have ears that are "golden" enough to distinguish a slight change in level on an oboe part or some other such slight alteration. The point of the Resource is to allow the average listener some pointers to help them identify a particular remix.

    In the case of "If I Had You", there are two common official releases, one with Richard's tweaks, and one without. And mr. J, if you object to the term "tweak" then so be it. I prefer that term to some others who consider all of Richard's remixes "hack jobs".

    Harry
     
    byline likes this.
  8. byline

    byline Active Member

    I disagree. Sonically, I do prefer Richard's remixes. They just sound warmer and stronger to me than what's on Karen's solo album. However, as others have noted, with Richard doing the producing I don't think we would have got a masterpiece like "If I Had You." I just don't think that would have entered into his idea of song selections for Karen. And honestly, would Richard have produced a solo album for Karen? In his mind, they were an inseparable duo. As we know, Richard was going through rehab at this point, and so he was in no shape to produce an album, solo or otherwise. But it's quite clear in his quotes about Lovelines that emotionally, he really wasn't able to separate Karen and himself in their work. So it was a smart idea to pair Karen up with a very different producer and see what came out of it. My recollection is that ironically, it was A&M (Herb and/or Jerry? not sure) who paired Karen up with Phil Ramone ... but then it was A&M who rejected their work together. I get that this does happen in the music business. But did they seriously think Phil and Karen would not steer their sound in a different direction from a traditional Carpenters recording? Seems rather shortsighted.
     
    GaryAlan and Mark-T like this.
  9. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Thanks Everyone...
    for elaboration upon my confusion regarding the song 'If I Had You'.
    I do enjoy being enlightened on this issue of various (re-) mixes and vocal takes.
    I do hope that no one took disrespect at my questioning the
    Recording Resource and its valuable information. It is an incredible undertaking.
    It had only puzzled me that under the listing for the song 'I Believe You', in
    regards the SACD version, the Resource clearly states 'uses a portion of a different vocal take' .
    Whereas for the song, here under discussion, such was not pointed out.
    This was the only issue I was trying to ascertain....and, still unanswered:
    Does a remix always imply a different vocal take ?
    How would one know such information
    if it was not 'documented' somewhere ?
    Mr. J., I understand that you say it is an alternative vocal take.
    My ears do hear the difference in the versions, they are re-mixes after-all.
    However, why does no authenticated documentation exist (that I am aware of) say such?
    Yes, I am being pedantic.
    I simply wanted to ascertain the difference between a remix and an alternate vocal take.
    Thanks, all, for reading my musings!
     
  10. A remix can exist with or without an alternate vocal take. An alternate vocal take does not often exist without a remix.
     
  11. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
    Do you think that Phil and all those involved in the solo project were under silence agreement not to talk or let out that he was working with Karen on a solo album because there were hardly any articles published indicating that she was working with Phil Ramone and in NY at that, you know how writers like to get all the details ahead of a scheduled release and how they like to write that the album is due to release on such and such. Phil such a hot producer at the time that you think it would have made headlines everywhere.
     
  12. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Chris Mills likes this.
  13. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
    Thanks, I didn't see those articles.....
    In describing Karen's old image...Phil said, "I'm trying to take the syrup out" :laugh: I'm sorry that just made me laugh.
     
  14. mr J.

    mr J. Active Member

    Alternate vocal takes (most likely)exist for every solo track. Unless Karen nailed the vocal on the first take,She would've recorded two,three or even ten takes until the vocal was record-ready.Whether those extra takes were saved or discarded is not known.

    If the remix contains a different vocal take,it will be (more or less) obvious-such as the 1978 version of "Merry Christmas Darling" as compared to the original 1970 version.

    Conversely,other remixes-such as "My Body" and "Still Crazy" used the same vocals as the original-Richard just added more reverb on the vocal track,bringing it more upfront.
     
  15. mr J.

    mr J. Active Member

    I don't object to that term at all-I just feel that Richard did a little more than "tweaking" on this particular track-and it was all for the better.He definitely corrected many of the production flaws that existed on the original.

    I absolutely agree that many details about the remixes weren't documented.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
  16. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the additional, informative, information Mr.J.,
    I do appreciate the time and effort expended to 'bring me up to speed' !
    It hadn't crossed my mind that there would be so many alternate vocal
    takes for every solo track.
    Then, again, I completely understand the "Merry Christmas, Darling" scenario,
    as "...the lead vocal was re-recorded at Karen's request in 1978.." (From Th Top Notes)
    because "...Karen was dissatisfied with her performance on the 1970 record.."(Coleman,page 235).
    Again, my ears hear the difference between the various versions. That is not my issue.
    The question I have is:
    Is the alternate take used on Lovelines for "If I Had You" a version that Karen would have re-cut
    because of Karen's dissatisfaction with the version ultimately used on her solo CD?
    Also, do differences in recording and mixing technology throughout the various years play any part,
    as you indicate " ...Richard corrected many of the production flaws on the original."
    Very interesting.




     
  17. Wow, you all are real scholars when it comes to analyzing Karen and Richard! I cannot believe how much I've learned from reading these boards.
     
  18. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    The simple answer to that is no. The album was released as Karen approved it back in 1980, mixes and all. I think Richard simply went back to the master tapes, found an alternate vocal take he liked for certain lines and flew them over to the original track to beef the sound up. The 1989 remix of 'If I Had You' sounds much better with the alternate first line. The 'whispered' take on the solo version doesn't have as much impact to my ears. Richard also took off the awful effect on the opening sax as well and made it sound more natural.
     
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  19. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I, too, remain impressed with the astute commentary
    with which members of the forum keep me 'on my toes' !
    Thanks, all!
     
  20. song4u

    song4u Well-Known Member

    The solo album included a spare, intimate reading of the sexually direct "Make Believe It's Your First Time" and a bluesy version of Paul Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years"--though Karen, mindful of her prim image--had Simon change the line, "4 in the morning / crapped out / yawning" to the more demure "crashed out."
    I have wondered about this enigma. Why go with sexually explicit songs, yet change the words "crapped out" to "crashed out".

    For the record I find it hard to believe that she was going to be able to pull off both "images" simultaneously; record explicit lyrics as a solo artist, then record typical Carpenters songs with Richard. Don't you think people (besides her ardent fans) would have come down on one side or the other?
     
  21. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Very good question, Song4u !
    Enigma, indeed!
     
  22. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Honolulu City Lights
    (Richard Carpenter)
    "Karen and I heard this song while vacationing in Hawaii. It was a local hit sung by Hawaiians Keola and Kapono Beamer and composed by the former.
    We liked it immediately and recorded the song in 1978."
    CFCN#61 September 1978:
    "Richard and Karen finally decided to take a vacation...spent a relaxing week in Hawaii...then back to California
    where they have resumed work on the New Album..."

    Arranged and Orchestrated by Richard Carpenter

    My question:
    I Believe You was released October 20,1978 with flip side B'Wana She No Home,
    thus, I wonder exactly when Honolulu City Lights was recorded ?

    By the way, one of the few tunes where The OK Chorale actually fits. (IMHO)
    The unsweetened Vocals, where Karen remarks at the end, "That was good.." just floors me !
    That was Great!
     
  23. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    If memory serves correct, 'I Believe You', 'Honolulu City Lights' and 'Slow Dance' were recorded during the same sessions as Christmas Portrait, so around July/August 1978. It's bizarre to think that they released 'I Believe You' on October 20, 1978 and just a week earlier had released the Christmas Portrait album. Neither had anything to do with the other but were released just a week apart.
     
  24. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
    It's funny because after all these years, I finally got around to adding the single 45 of Honolulu City Lights to my vinyl collection. I actually bought 2 and both have the original picture sleeve. I always feel like I'm taking a vacation when I listen to that single. ha
     
  25. song4u

    song4u Well-Known Member

    As an addendum to my earlier post I would add that, while it may sound as though I've changed my opinion from other posts I've made on Karen being "allowed" to do both types of music, that's not my point. To me the issue is: if they (the powers that be) were thinking along the lines of my above post, that the public would not buy her performing such disparate material simultaneously, then that's what should have been explained to her gently. Telling her it's not good enough, or even that it was no good at all, wasn't fair. They should have reasoned with her from a business standpoint. From what has been said, Karen was an active participant in business meetings and decisions. I think that may have eased the blow.
     
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