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Official Review [Album]: "TIME" (SP 5117/CD 5117/DX 1687)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Nov 13, 2014.

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  1. ***** (BEST)

    6 vote(s)
    15.0%
  2. ****

    10 vote(s)
    25.0%
  3. ***

    15 vote(s)
    37.5%
  4. **

    6 vote(s)
    15.0%
  5. *

    3 vote(s)
    7.5%
  1. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    As always, mr. j, very interesting input. I'm thankful we got Karen's album. I love it for what it is.
     
  2. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL

    ^^I don't know, that doesn't answer it for me at all....that basically says Karen chose the wrong material and the material she should have recorded was XYZ....so whose album was it anyway? We keep taking Karen's album away from Karen, I don't get it. Karen's album was Karen's album, if she wanted to make a jazz album she would have done one but she recorded what she wanted and the vocal work she did on it was amazing and intricate. That's the bottom line. We can't say it wasn't commercially viable because the thing never had a chance to see the light of day, the waters were never tested....all we have is how it did 16 yrs later and we make assumptions in 96 (to current day) how it would have gone in 80. How can that be fair to Karen?
     
  3. Sheryl Crow and Sheena Easton both recorded entire albums that have never seen the light of day - and there's a ton of others.....
    ******
    Here's a question, getting back to Richard and his career after Karen's passing.....why in the world did he not pursue things like film soundtracks, Broadway musicals, producing established MOR artists....he's a brilliant musician, a great keyboardist and songwriter, and I think we'd all agree, a man of strong musical sensibilities with a very recognizable style. When I listen to his orchestrations on the last few C's albums, they already sound more suited to Broadway and movies than pop radio. It would have been a great fit; does anybody know why he didn't go after those avenues?
     
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  4. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    That's an interesting observation and would explain why Richard was full of good intentions with the release of his Christmas album (he was even filmed recording it in one Carpenters' documentary, see below from 6m15s) but then nothing came of it...I wonder if it was rejected rather than grinding to a halt of its own accord?

     
  5. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Mr J.,
    As always, I appreciate your observations, and enjoy their perusal.
    May I only make a few observations?
    (1) The Billboard Article from May 5,1979 has Phil Ramone ( and, Herb Alpert) describing the direction that the solo album was going to take.
    No mistaking the direction that this album was going to take. It is there in Black and White.
    Therefore, all on board with this project knew full-well the type of material that Karen was recording for the solo album.
    Why, did they--then---not steer Karen Carpenter in another direction, say, Jazz standards,and the like. All involved could have done so at that time.
    (2) Carpenters had sold nearly 79 million units at that time--give or take a few million---thus, Karen was a well-established artist at A&M Records,
    and, had made them a ton of money--nearly bankrolling the new artists for the UK Branch. Not only was she well-established at A&M, she was
    known the world around. Everyone in the world knew who she was.
    With such monetary success garnered by A&M Records, due to Carpenters' success, there is no reason to believe--nor am I able to comprehend--
    the album's cancellation in May 1980. ( It would have made sense to do so very much earlier in the game.)

    Likewise, in November 1983, Richard Carpenter stated precisely what his goals and intentions were for his solo album. No surprises upon its completion.
    A&M Records knew from the start what musical direction that album would take.( And, they also knew the same for Karen's project.)
    If the opposite had occurred, and Karen was left to do a solo album--because, she had to--would it be cancelled? (No Way.)
     
    A&M Retro likes this.
  6. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    This comes back to what others have said - if Karen was previewing her material with friends throughout its recording, why weren't any previews given to anyone at A&M until it was fully completed? Maybe it's not the done thing but you'd think someone at the label would have had the sense to ask for a listen to the first batch of completed tracks to test the waters midway through the project, rather than leave Karen to her own devices for almost twelve months before a preview of the finished product. I'm sure we'll never know the full story.
     
  7. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    I get what Mr. J is saying. Karen's album isn't what they expected of her and wasn't the kind of record they thought would sell. In truth, it is very different and perhaps they feared it would be hurtful not only to her image but to Carpenters going forward. Carpenters were hardly "on fire" sale-wise at this point and they hadn't had a huge hit in a while. The last thing they needed was (in theory) for Karen to release a solo album that went in a completely different direction. At that point, everyone involved thought Carpenters would be around for many more years and we already know how much Carpenters wanted another hit. "Passage" sort of "went wild" like "Karen Carpenter" did and we know how that turned out. Would "Karen Carpenter" have worked then? That's a question we'll never have the answer to. I suspect it might not have given how different it was. It would have required some excellent marketing to make it work. Also, if "Karen Carpenter" had been released, what would have been the way forward for Carpenters? Would there have been a way forward for Carpenters? Karen was the main draw. Richard likely knew that if that "Karen Carpenter" didn't even have to hit to be a big problem for Carpenters. He is very talented, of course, but he had a problem: his sister was one of the finest female singers that ever lived. He took up residence in her shadow almost immediately and has stayed there for all of his professional life. He's Karen's brother, not Richard, and the release of that solo record would have solidified that even further.

    By 1985 (when Richard started recording his album), Karen was gone so no brand could be hurt. I'm also fairly convinced that Herb was, as Rumbahbah said, doing Richard a "solid" for all the years Carpenters had been on the label and all the success they'd generated. They allowed Richard to record this album and, later, "PAC" (maybe "PAC" was part of a renegotiation of some sort). Surely, they couldn't have heard either one and thought they'd be incredible sellers. "Time" is, if I'm correct, A&M's worst-selling album. They went into the "red" on it almost surely. How or if they recouped that loss is a matter for someone on their end as I have no idea. As has been said, Richard likely spent more than $100,000 to complete his album. There's obvious craft going on there and that costs.

    Ed
     
  8. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    She was working with Phil Ramone. He was a monster in the business. No reason not to trust him. Surely he wouldn't blow it. They may not have known he's go "renegade" and take her to places she'd never gone to before. Still, leaving them on their own is a tad irresponsible and it would have behooved them to "take a listen" every once in a while.

    Ed
     
  9. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member


    A&Mguyfromwayback, here is a partial answer from Richard Carpenter:
    Q/A from his official website:
    Q:Arranger 5 1:
    “Richard, you write the most beautiful orchestrations I have ever heard. Do you ever plan or have been asked to write movie scores?”
    A:“I don’t plan to write movie scores; I think that is a talent in itself. I consider myself more of a song writer, arranger, producer - a record maker.”
     
  10. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
    If that was the reason A&M didn't release her album because it wasn't what they expected of her then that is like telling an artist you can't grow or try new ideas or be creative, no you can only stay in one genre because that is what you're good at doing. Doesn't that sound a bit controlling to an artist? I always bring this up but it's a great correlation although Olivia was not a duo act the underlying music aspect is the same, in 77 Olivia releases Making a Good Thing Better with tepid sales up to this point she was labeled as white bread, soft mellow and she ventured off into Grease in 78 afraid of taking on a movie role she requested a screen test before committing, then she launches a 180 in her music career and releases Totally Hot (a more sexy grown up Olivia with lyrics to match) then there's Xanadu and then the real change in 81 with Physical, afraid she would lose her fan base to the suggestive lyrics of Physical she panicked so she tried to water it down by bringing in fitness to the song to take off the edge. I say all this because the premise is the same, if someone were to have told Olivia, no Totally Hot is too suggestive and Physical are you kidding you want to tarnish your 70's appeal and lose your fan base would be like clipping her wings and saying you can fly but only at this level. This is what being a solo artist is all about, creating, keeping your appeal fresh and not staying in the same mold album after album. I believe this is what Karen desired in her solo album. Karen said it best that she believed that her and Richard could work separately yet still work together. Karen wanted it all, to be a solo artist and to keep Carpenters. Sometimes I get a feeling from some that we are shaming her for wanting to do what she wanted as an individual artist. Richard got that chance on his solo album Time to be an artist as an individual and to work with other artists yet Karen was not able to move forward. I bet if she had been in better health and stabilized her health she would have re-visited this idea, she now had a taste of what it was like to record on her own and that experience wasn't just going to go away.
     
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  11. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    The root problem in all of this is that A&M - and definitely Richard - never saw her as a solo artist. Once they were launched and successful, they were seen as an inextricable duo. And that was the biggest ball and chain of all for Karen. Forget Richard saying "we should have been doing more songs in the vein of 'I Get Along Without You Very Well'". She should have been out there duetting with some of the biggest names of her generation. But it never happened. We can only wonder why that was, but it doesn't take a genius to work it out.
     
  12. MissK

    MissK Active Member

    I once read one of those “best female singer”- pissing contests on the web. One person mentioned Karen Carpenter. Another took issue with it saying something like “she doesn’t count because she was part of a duo” (grrr!).

    The BBC Singers Hall of Fame is interesting. Most inducted are solo artists. A few groups have been recognized: Everly Bros and the BeeGees, a true vocal duo and true vocal trio whose members were of equal vocal weight. ABBA was mentioned but only the two female singers by name were inducted.

    The Carpenters have been nominated (along with Streisand). Now here’s my gripe. Any Singers Hall of Fame that does not include Karen Carpenter (but does include Jimmy Durante of all people) isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. And I do mean KAREN Carpenter, not the Carpenters. Another example of her being swallowed up by this “duo” moniker. For once she should be recognized in her own right. I’m going to put my vote in – for her.

    I have worked it out. It starts with Magic Lamp.
     
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  13. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    May 18,1985 Billboard Magazine:
    "Carpenter recently signed a new management pact with Carman Productions,
    He also signed a new Booking deal with Dick Gilmore at the Agency for Performing Arts,
    And, he re-signed as a solo artist with A&M records.
    He expects to begin recording his first solo album in June, for release no earlier than spring 1986,
    Carpenter will produce and arrange, and also sing leads. Carpenter also expects to tour when the album comes out."

    Source:
    books.google.com/books?id=HCUEAAAAMBAJ
     
  14. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    "I have worked it out. It starts with Magic Lamp.[/QUOTE]

    Excellent Miss K! That and RCA escape me from time to time.
     
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  15. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Olivia has said that her turn in "Grease" gave her the confidence to move in a new direction. She wouldn't have done it without "Grease" because she didn't think people would have accepted it had she not appeared as "bad Sandy" in the movie. She'd also already had a successful solo career with a number 1 record, "Have You Never Been Mellow" and other hits. When Olivia went sexier, there was precent in it in the form of an incredibly successful movie so her move in that direction wasn't so shocking and therefore more digestible to the public at large. Karen had neither of those luxuries. "Karen Carpenter" would have just appeared there without anything to connect it to. Had "Passage" been a big hit, that might have helped but she still should have recorded at least a few tunes that were more in step with what Carpenters were doing so her fans would have something familiar to hang on to.

    Karen wasn't going to get it all. Richard likely knew that. A Karen solo career would have ended Richard's. It would have become immediately apparent that Karen didn't need him and she would have been pushed to keep it moving on her own. He wasn't successful in any respect after she passed so the fact that his career would have ended is rather obvious. I really wish Karen would have just gone back to the studio with Phil per A&M's request and cut some different material. We likely still would have gotten what we wanted along with some more familiar tunes that would have kept Carpenters fans happy. Likely, it would have been a record that split the difference. After that one, she could have taken the listener anywhere she wanted. The trick is that your first album should be one that people expect. Then, once you've got the listener, they'll go somewhere new with you. Karen's album was utterly different from the first downbeat with nothing to tether to from her past. Everything was different and more intimate, musically and lyrically. She went too far too fast and paid for it, sadly.

    Ed
     
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  16. moog

    moog Member

    I think it's more likely that Richard, being the perfectionist that he is, decided it wasn't "right" yet. Also, perhaps he doesn't feel as confident releasing Christmas-y things without Karen. After all, it wouldn't even have to be through Universal. There are plenty of other companies who'd love to release it.

    Also, here's what A&M saw fit to release in 1979....

     
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  17. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Not to be a wet blanket but I think some are vastly overestimating Richard's commercial value. He's commercially cold and there's no reason anything he released would sell. If all of the Carpenters' fans didn't buy "Time" when it was released in 1987, there's no way they'd all buy a Christmas album from him nearly 30 years later.

    Ed
     
  18. Note:

    • PIANIST, ARRANGER, COMPOSER, CONDUCTOR was never really an A&M album. The label imprint at that time was PolyGram, just before the sale to Universal, so it wasn't exactly the same label that released TIME.
     
  19. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    Mama Ethel's got my foot a-tappin. I had this lp and had a ball. I have to dig it up on cd or something. Ah yes, they don't make em like that no mo and no less.

    Jeff
     
  20. mr J.

    mr J. Active Member

    Karen was given "carte blanche" to record the album and spend A&M's allowance the way she wanted to.
     
  21. mr J.

    mr J. Active Member

    Harry-actually "Pianist Arranger" was released on A&M.

    A&M was in full operations until Universal took over in January 1999.

    A&M ceased being an independent label when Polygram bought the label in 1990,but A&M still operated as a (corporate-owned) label.
     
  22. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    That was part of their deal with Herb when he sold it, wasn't it?

    Ed
     
  23. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    This was when Disco became an assembly line. It was no longer a form of music but an avenue to commerce. That wouldn't last much after the release of Merman's disco thingee.

    Ed
     
  24. mr J.

    mr J. Active Member

    I've addressed this issue in my last post(paragraph 1 & 2).

    Again-what is commercially viable for one artist isn't necessarily commercially viable for another.

    Karen & Olivia were two totally different types of artists with totally different markets.While they happened to be close friends,they had nothing in common professionally.

    We could look at Karen & Olivia's 1978 albums as a case in point-Karen's "Christmas Portrait" and Olivia's "Totally Hot" were as different as night and day.And,both albums were designed for totally different record-buying markets.

    We could also look at both of their 1980 TV specials as another case in point: Karen's "Music,Music,Music" and Olivia's "Hollywood Nights" were,again,totally different music presentations that were geared toward totally different TV-viewing audiences.
     
  25. mr J.

    mr J. Active Member

    Yes-the terms of the sale stipulated that A&M continue as a functioning label.
     
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