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Goofus vs BEechwood 4-5789/Worst single release

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by adam, Mar 8, 2015.

  1. adam

    adam Active Member Thread Starter

    Hi
    Which do you think is the worst single release of these song Karen and richard?.I mean these 2 songs hardly raced up the charts did they.Dont know what Carpenters were thinking when making choices to release singles.Thought anyone?
     
  2. Well, you could look at the charts and see that "Goofus" placed higher at #56 for 5 weeks, whereas "BEechwood..." only managed a peak of #74 for just four weeks, which would quantitatively give "Goofus" the edge and make "BEechwood..." their worst single.

    I'll look at it qualitatively and switch those two around. "BEechwood 4-5789" is the better sounding record of the two. The percussion and highs are crisp and well-defined, and the record sounds great in either its standard stereo or the mono promo mix. "Goofus" on the other hand is from the mostly-muddy A KIND OF HUSH album. Technically, there's a lot wrong with that album and "Goofus" wasn't spared. The highs are dull and Karen's main vocal is vaguely off to the left side of the stereo instead of its usual place in the center. I suppose that could have been a stylistic choice, but I'm not buying that. It's just mixed poorly. It's funny, but the mono promo mix of "Goofus" actually sounds better to me. Having all of the sounds collapsed to the center gives this old-timey song more of an old 78 RPM feel to it.

    So I'll give "Goofus" the prize here for worst single on technical merits.

    Harry
     
  3. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Interesting analysis, Harry.
    For me it boils down to my drumming preference:
    Cubby O'Brien (Goofus) or, Ron Tutt (BEechwood)
    (And, in reality, I rather enjoy both songs. I don't love them, but they are fun.)
    That being said,
    worst for me is BEechwood 4-5789,
    due to the aforementioned drumming combined with Karen's very poor health,
    evident in the 1981 promo film and overseas lip-sync performance.
     
  4. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
    Harry is right, your question and answer will depend on the technical side or a personal side. I would agree with Harry on the technical aspect on the original but as he mentioned the mono promo single of Goofus is superior to my ears and one of my favorite way to listen to the single. I also have a test pressing single 45 of Goofus that is equally nice.

    On a personal taste....I'd say Beechwood 45789 to be the worst single released, it was wrong for the Carpenters to be singing this type of song in 1981 and then release it as a single.
     
    Harry and Must Hear This Album like this.
  5. I was trying to ignore the circumstances around each recording, and to judge them on their own merit. Had "BEechwood 4-5789" been their choice for an oldie instead of "Please Mr. Postman", I think it might have done just as well. It's a well-crafted record.

    I also tried to ignore the video, which admittedly is pretty awful, and just concentrate on the sound of a single - a 45 - one song on a slab'o'wax.

    Harry
     
  6. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    As the years progress, my 'listening pleasure' of any particular Carpenters recording is
    ---for better or worse---colored by " the circumstances around each recording".
    Purely on the basis of the sound of the Single-45,
    if I recall the drumming on BEechwood 4-5789
    is overpowering to my ears. But, then, I have a physical hearing problem with my ears,
    thus, no matter what the circumstance I am unable to enjoy the song as much as with Goofus.
    Now, the guitars in the BEechwood song, love it (Tim May credited; not Tony Peluso--isn't he on the promo film?).
    But, also, love Tony Peluso on Goofus !
    Tenor Sax also has different players for each tune.
    Actually a more difficult choice than I had originally anticipated!
     
  7. Interesting thread, especially remarks on the music videos. While things were wrapping up for the duo at the dawn of the MTV era, we’ve not really had to wonder too hard about how the siblings might have opted to present themselves in that medium, as they were early-adopters of leveraging music video for promoting their singles (i.e., “Ticket To Ride,” “Only Yesterday,” “Please Mr. Postman,” various television specials and guest appearances, etc.). If I were to weigh the two singles based upon their video renderings (the “Goofus” clip being the garage band, lightly-choreographed “flashback” sequence from the Space Encounters special and the cutesy, “BEechwood 4-5789” video), I’d have to go with “BEechwood” on overall effort, alone.

    While “awful" is certainly a defensible adjective for the “BEechwood” video, I always liked the clip (granted, I was 10 years-old when I first saw it on Casey Kasem’s Top 10 Countdown, so I was an easy audience), with it’s 1950’s malt shop theme, cheesy dance moves, pink telephone, etc. The biggest drawback to the clip, of course, is Karen’s heartbreaking physical deterioration, which, in all honesty, was lost on me as a kid, and is, perhaps, the reason the video has been more or less viewable to me over the years since.

    The “Goofus” clip, which I didn’t see until many years later on YouTube, was a bit too “goofy," with Charlie Callas’ mugging for the camera and the band’s awkward, forced efforts to appear genuinely amused by the proceedings. Karen’s wide-eyed, elbow-swingy “dance" moves and striped, knee-high socks didn’t help (although I’ll grant she does, essentially, the same choreography on the BEechwood clip, but for whatever reason, it’s less distracting in that context).

    While I’ve often wondered “what were they thinking?” in releasing “BEechwood” in the “new wave” era (same for “Goofus,” except I know why they made that choice: fan club votes…), I often remind myself that cutesy songs like “Morning Train” were big hits the previous year, Air Supply was “totally” popular back then, and they did take another Marvelettes tune to #1 only six years before…so why the hell not give it a shot?
     
    GaryAlan likes this.
  8. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I notice that New Zealand Charts has BEechwood 4-5789 as reaching:
    Entry: 14/02/1982 (Position 33)
    Last week in charts: 09/05/1982 (Position 32)
    Peak: 10 (1 weeks)
    Weeks: 12
     
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  9. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
  10. Looking at the chart, is "Goofus" any worse than "Muscrat Love?" If Richard and Karen were worried about their image then "Goofus" did not help that issue, nor did "Beechwood." Both are too cute for musicians that should have been viewed as sophisticated and "deep."
     
  11. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
    This top 50 brought back a lot of memories of my teens, I loved that song Muscrat Love and remember it being played on the radio of course I'd never admit to my friends liking that one.

    I even loved John Denver Like a Sad Song and Fernando and If You Leave Me Know....man those were some great songs and I still love hearing them now.

    Oh and how could I forget there is Miss Livvy again at #13 with Don't Stop Believin.....please someone get me out of this madness of 2015 and send me back to 1976. I wanna go back!!!
     
  12. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Active Member

    Really!? 'Muskrat Love' is one of those songs that, quite rightly in my opinion, appears prominently on those 'worst songs ever' lists. Clearly it was popular at the time, although I imagine it's one of those songs that was big in the day but gets minimal play years later.

    The difference between this and 'Goofus' though is that the Captain and Tennille were red hot at the time, so could get away with turning out a curveball song like this (a bit like how the Carpenters had hit big with the polarizing 'Sing' in 1973). However, Richard and Karen were rapidly cooling in terms of public and radio play appreciation in later 1976, so something as odd and throwaway as 'Goofus' was the worst possible thing they could have put out at that time. Even on the AC charts, while it made #4, 'Goofus' peaked lower than any A-side since 'Ticket to Ride'.

    An absolute disaster of a singles choice that I think severely compromised their attempts to get radio play even when they released stronger singles like 'All You Get from Love is a Love Song' and 'Calling Occupants' in 1977.
     
  13. Oddly, the song "Muskrat Love" was originally put forth by the composer Willis Alan Ramsey as "Muskrat Candlelight". The song was later (1973) done by the group AMERICA with the new title of "Muskrat Love" and then the biggest hit version by The Captain & Tennille in '76.

    But our friends at A&M did the song a big favor back in 1972. Herb Alpert and Lani Hall rewrote the lyrics to exterminate the rodents and retitled it "Sun Down" for Lani Hall's first solo album, SUN DOWN LADY. It really is a nice tune, but those silly lyrics just turn people off. Do yourself a favor and give a listen to Lani and Herb's really excellent rendition here:



    The album was briefly released on CD in Japan and long out of print, but the song is still available on the A&M 50th Anniversary 3-disc set.

    Harry
     
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  14. song4u

    song4u Well-Known Member

    It is a pleasant tune, without the rodents. :wink:

    I remember Muskrat Love being on an America album I about wore out back in the day.

    BTW, for those who are America and Sharon Corr fans, they are touring together this year.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
  15. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I hate the rodent lyrics but America's version has the nicest vocal harmonies! Beautiful.
    Toni Tennille is a gifted vocalist but deserved something better than this song.
    Lani's version is pretty good, but her voice doesn't grab me. Wish America had recorded the Herb/Lani lyric version!
     
  16. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
    Yeah, I think Goofus and Muskrat Love are products of their time, they obviously had to be big to make this top 50 list and chart so high, somebody was liking them and calling in asking to play it again and then going out to buy the 45. I agree your right both these songs probably got minimal play later. Although if your sitting in the dentist office you might just hear Muskrat Love. :wink: My point was that they both (or in fact most on this list above) just bring back all kinds of great memories for me to hear them again in 2015.

    I just listened to America's version of ML and it's pretty good but I actually prefer the Captain & Tennille's version. I listened to Lani's version but still care for the C & T's. I do think they could have done without that gargle stuff in the middle. :laugh: It's amazing this was played on the radio but then again look at Goofus so this was 76.

    Now with regard to Beechwood 45789, I could actually see this charting high on this Easy Listening top 50 had it been released in 76 (looking at the rest of these songs)....yet in 1981 not so much.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
  17. song4u

    song4u Well-Known Member

    I think that I would have also appreciated America's version better if it had the lyric changes. But I also think it sounded better with a female singer.

    The beauty of the 70's (can't believe I'm saying this) is that in the same way that K&R's style was accepted and appreciated across many boundaries, many other different kinds of music were also. And yes, we did have some dorky wardrobe items, but as I said, people were open to new ideas. It was an open minded time for people to try different things. A lot of what you hear and see today came from that more eclectic time, IMHO. :)
     
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  18. Randy M

    Randy M Member

    Yes, I do love America's version but also have a soft spot for the version by Captain & Tennille because of the America connection. Also, I am a longtime fan of America.

    I am surprised when I look at that list of Top 50 Easy Listening as I remember all of those songs when they were on the radio but I didn't have an Easy Listening station to my knowledge. It was just Top 40 radio.

    I will have to seek out the Lani Hall version.
     
  19. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Finally got around to spinning Goofus (time 3:09) on 45-Single, today.
    It is Eurodisc S-17-247-A, pressing from Germany, I believe.
    Flip Side: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
    In any event,
    Goofus sounded terrific !
    Maybe not commercial, but terrific just the same.
     
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  20. Goofus, hands down is the worst single ever. I enjoyed Beechwood very much when released and understood (in the context of the times) why it was chosen. However, with Goofus, I still say to myself "wtf?" when listening to this song.
     
  21. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Perhaps the Les Paul influence on Richard Carpenter,
    as Les Paul performed Goofus and Caravan:
     
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  22. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Call me Crazy....but,
    despite the over-all consensus preferring BEchwood 4-5789 to Goofus ,
    I'm sticking to my assessment--and, this , after repeated listening to both songs.
    After the relative disappointment with 'I Need To Be In Love' on the Top 100 Chart,
    I can understand the reasoning behind it's single release---it is wholly different from its predecessor.
    Of course, BEechwood followed 'Those Good Old Dreams'.( These, too, being quite different from each other.)
    So, both singles followed a Richard Carpenter/John Bettis Single. (If I am reading the charts correctly!).
    Karen was 32 on March 2, 1982.....26 in 1976....
    I'd rather she performed Goofus at 26,
    than the other at 32.
    (At least, with respect to the date of single release).
     
  23. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I'm intrigued, what was the context of the times to warrant its release as a single? Doesn't sound very 1982 to me. At that time, country, punk and New Wave were most popular.

    This link mentions that in America, "country music became increasingly accepted into mainstream pop, thanks to the slick sophistication born of the '70's Nashville Sound that made Eddie Rabbitt and Kenny Rogers quite compatible with Barbara Streisand and Neil Diamond. A Country Music Association's 1982 survey found that nearly half of the radio stations in the U.S. were programming country music...Baby boomers, it seemed, were turning to country thanks to crossover hits like Crystal Gayle's "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue"... and the country-rock discography of the 70s superband, The Eagles. Rock was still dominated by faceless mainstream bands -- Foreigner, Journey, REO Speedwagon, Asia".

    It also lists the top 10 singles for the whole of 1982 and I don't see anything on there that resembles the bubblegum throwback of 'Beechwood 4-5789'.
     
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  24. song4u

    song4u Well-Known Member

    I'm with you about Beechwood. I didn't understand it then and I don't now. It seems out of place for the time, and as Gary pointed out, I think it was too "young" for Karen. They would have done better to record something along the lines of "Sweet Sweet Smile". And while I can see that "Back in my Life Again" was likely an attempt to sound more contemporary, I don't think they really pulled it off.

    But as Karen said in an interview in the later 70s, they didn't know what people really wanted to hear from them. Perhaps that explains the eclectic approach of that album.
     
  25. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Boat To Sail as the Flip Side of Goofus.
    (Breaking Up Is Hard To Do on the Euro-pressing, though.)
    Two Sides as the Flip Side of BEechwood 4-5789.
    Interesting, though, that two of the lowest charting singles in
    their career still is able to raise many interesting questions !
    Carpenters are good even when they are bad. (Relatively speaking ! )
     
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