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1971, Never A Dull Moment

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Simon KC1950, Mar 3, 2018.

  1. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I seem to recall that "at that point in time" Karen's drumming was perceived as a gimmick.
    She did not appear to be taken seriously "as a drummer" at that time--after all, woman just did
    not do that, play the drums--at that time !
    Certainly, Karen was not perceived as a 'trail-blazer' in terms of drumming--at that time.
    And, of course, once That Voice took over--
    there really was no need to concentrate on anything but her voice.
    David A and Steven J. Gross like this.
  2. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^I must amend my remark above:
    Fan Club Newsletter #10, February 1972:
    Q/A Session,
    Q: "Does Karen receive derogatory remarks because she is a female drummer ?"
    A: "No, she receives many letters from males and females complimenting her on her drumming.
    There's been a burst of female drummers on the music scene since Karen became famous."

    Newsletter #39, October 1974:
    Q: "How long has Karen been playing drums ?
    A: "Since her high-school-days. She started by playing snare in the high-school band."
    Q: "Has Karen ever been criticized for playing an instrument that men usually play?"
    A: "No, she has received numerous compliments from male drummers, and has been an incentive
    for other girls to take up drumming."

    Finally, 1975:
    " In a 1975 Playboy magazine readers poll, Karen Carpenter was voted the best rock drummer of the year—
    beating out Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham. Clearly insulted, Bonzo quipped,
    “She couldn’t last ten minutes with a Zeppelin number.”
    Carpenter was more than capable on her instrument, though.
    So why did this strike such a chord?
    One must consider the gender factor. Let’s face it: In the ’70s women were not known for being drummers.
    It wasn’t common—it wasn’t even cool...."
    What Do You Know About...Karen Carpenter? - Modern Drummer Magazine
    Steven J. Gross and David A like this.
  3. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    David A- I think the strongest point for her replacement was made by Harry a few comments back:
    "But after the failure of OFFERING, the record company didn't want to take a chance. Hal Blaine was already established as THE drummer on many many hit records.
    Karen had drummed on one failure."
    It seemed to be a very wise move in the long run.
  4. I agree. In the real world not everything (in fact, not even most things) are about identity politics. Yes, a female drummer was a "novelty" back then. But Harry has the most plausible explanation; proven by that once CTY was a hit, this wasn't an issue again.

    Also, if it were an "anti-woman" reason she didn't drum on CTY, can we make the same argument on her own solo album? Was Karen herself a misogynist?
    Steven J. Gross likes this.
  5. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    It seems pretty simple to me. The first record had flopped, Herb had stuck his neck out to get them one more chance and it was probably felt all round that they needed to bring in one or two big guns for the next recording sessions. The Wrecking Crew was the best available at that time in LA.
    CraigGA, Steven J. Gross and Harry like this.
  6. David A

    David A Active Member

    Hmmmm...the changes seem to be limited to Osborn on all bass, and Karen on most drums.

    OFFERING Personnel
    Richard Carpenter – lead and backing vocals, piano, Wurlitzer electric piano, harpsichord.
    Karen Carpenter – lead and backing vocals, drums, bass on "All of My Life" and "Eve"
    Joe Osborn – bass.
    Bob Messenger – bass.
    Gary Sims – guitar on "All of My Life"
    Herb Alpert – shakers.
    Producer: Jack Daugherty.

    CTY Personnel
    Karen Carpenter – vocals, drums
    Hal Blaine – drums
    Richard Carpenter – vocals, keyboards, arrangements and orchestration
    Joe Osborn – bass
    Danny Woodhams – bass
    Jim Horn – woodwinds
    Bob Messenger – woodwinds
    Doug Strawn – woodwinds
    Jack Daugherty – producer
    Steven J. Gross likes this.
  7. ars nova

    ars nova Active Member

    a voice of reason, but portraying Karen as anything but a manipulated victim will get you nowhere on this board.
    Geographer likes this.
  8. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    The changes got more progressive as time went on. Aside from the old band mates from the Spectrum day’s, they brought in more studio musicians as the music got more sophisticated and their talents developed. Cubby O’Brien, Gayle Levant, Earle Dumler, Tony Peluso and others all helped take the sound to a sophisticated new level. If they’d stayed with the same crew they had on the early albums, they would still have been making songs like Mr Guder and Love Is Surrender by 1975. Eventually, the level of musical sophistication began to outgrow the available musical abilities of the original group.
    byline and Steven J. Gross like this.
  9. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I--for one--have never entertained a serious thought that....
    " ...portraying Karen (as anything but) a manipulated victim..." (reading post #32).

    Keep in mind:
    (1) There remain many a question regarding Carpenters' career,
    (2) There are No Certain Answers to all conceivable questions one might pose,
    (3) It is not a crime, nor should one be dissuaded in asking further questions.
    (4) I respect all thoughtful questions and answers regarding Carpenters' career.
    Every perspective--regardless of whether I personally agree, or not--is of value.

    That is but one aspect of Historical Inquiry,
    and Carpenters' Career is Historical Questioning...at this moment in time....
    Steven J. Gross likes this.
  10. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    Sorry but that just doesn't make sense. The decision was made by Herb Alpert, who had had MANY hit records by the time the Carpenters came around, was an experienced producer and knew how to spot "that sound" that would take a record over the top. Plus he's known as one of the most fair-minded people in the music business when it came to talent. So I have no doubt that he heard the "sound" of that record and knew what it needed. I doubt gender had anything to do with it. And since the duo was still without a big hit at the time of this episode, it makes sense that they would be more than willing to listen to Herb, who, after all, was not only the voice of experience, but was also the label head who was giving them another chance and could have just as easily said goodbye and good luck.

    Would "Close to You" have been a hit with Karen on the drums? Maybe, but we'll never know. But it's simple to spot that Hal Blaine's "sound" on the drums has a deeper, more powerful sound than Karen's. Even a non-drummer can hear the difference. Herb and Richard are both on the record saying that the song took a lot of tries to get it "just right." As Richard himself put it (on the Herb Alpert BBC interview) "We saw the runway, and Herb flagged us in."
  11. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Oh....let us take a trip back in time....Let us watch the 1968 performance:
    David A and Geographer like this.
  12. David A

    David A Active Member

    I appreciate your point of view, but disagree regarding whether gender played any role. And I do not believe that by implying that it did, I do any disservice or disrespect to Herb or anyone else, back in 1970. It's simply the way it was.

    I don't mean to be disrespectful by not answering your points in detail; I'm just done with this topic. Anything I would say would be repeating what I've already said, no need to bore you or others with a recap.
  13. ars nova

    ars nova Active Member

    although Bonham's response does smack of sour grapes, what evidence is there that Karen would last 10 minutes with zep? carpenters never performed a 1.5 to 2.0 hour high intensity show like zep, that wasn't their style. was Karen the best rock drummer of 1975, I doubt it. people attending a carpenters concert did not see a rock drummer, they saw Karen carpenter, a talented musician, not a rock drummer.
  14. Murray

    Murray Well-Known Member

    All that Playboy poll proved, was that more Carpenters fans than Zeppelin fans bothered to fill out and mail back the survey postcard. Possibly, Carpenters fans (intelligent people that we are) actually read the articles, thus being aware of the poll, whereas the typical rock fan never got past the naked pictures! :laugh:
    Simon KC1950 likes this.
  15. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Say what you will--write what you will !
    1974's Please Mr. Postman has Karen Carpenter on drums.....
    Oh, yes wait a minute....it was also a Number One Single !

    Seriously, the legacy of Karen Carpenter as (studio or concert) Drummer
    deserves just as much contemplation as Karen Carpenter the Vocalist.
    The real difference....as a Vocalist she is incomparable....
    Yet, as a drummer, we will really never know the full extent of her talent.
    Simon KC1950 and David A like this.
  16. ars nova

    ars nova Active Member

    I don't know how to explain how I feel about Richard and Karen Carpenter. in many ways, I owe them my life. I mourned longer for Karen than I have for members of my family. when Karen died, I finally had a name for that had troubled me since I was 15, only boys didn't " have it ". upon hearing of her death, I lost an additional 45 lbs in six weeks.

    do not think it is my intent to undermine either of their accomplishments; but, they were human with flaws and incredible talent. when we as fans see them as " more than " we strengthen the bars of the " image " that caged them.

    does it really matter why mr alpert wanted someone else drumming in the studio? hal blaine said that there was never an ill-will between himself and Karen. Richard also stepped away from the piano when he felt another style, " style ", not talent was needed; Richard also let others arrange tracks ( I believe you, from this moment on, Christmas portrait, etc). carpenters have had a hell of a ride. how many of their contemporaries still have this power?

    they knew their talents, peers knew their talents. we are enriched by their talents. we do not have to create a false image that they can be the " only " talent.
    Jamesj75, Simon KC1950, Harry and 2 others like this.
  17. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    "March 9, 2018
    I’m only the DRUMMER
    "Women drummers are hard to come by and seldom get the recognition as their male counterparts.
    Take the late Karen Anne Carpenter, for instance. In the 1970s, she and her brother Richard formed
    the Carpenters, with her playing the drums. When Karen Carpenter died in 1983 from complications
    arising from anorexia nervosa, the tributes were on her superb vocal performances rather than on her drumming –
    though she was recognized as an excellent drummer among the fraternity. "

    I’m only the DRUMMER - Khmer Times
  18. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    David A....I am glad you brought this topic up ! The more "research" I do, the more I uncover....

    'Not bad - for a girl'
    Why is it that while female singers and guitarists are respected,
    women drummers still struggle to be taken seriously? Clare Longrigg reports.....
    "Contrary to popular perception, women drummers are not short of role models.
    Today's aspiring drummers can look to Meg White of White Stripes - although the band is mainly focused around the charisma of Jack White. But there have been women drummers since Karen Carpenter and Moe Tucker of the Velvet Underground..."
    Women drummers struggle to be taken seriously

    Stereotypes restrain female drummers
    "Like women in such male-dominated careers,
    female drummers are still widely unacknowledged by music media.
    Not a single woman is featured in Modern Drummer Magazine’s 2014 “The 50 Greatest Drummers of All Time.”
    The magazine, which is available in 67 countries, is a monthly publication founded in 1977 in New Jersey..."
    Stereotypes restrain female drummers - The PostScript
    Don Malcolm and David A like this.
  19. David A

    David A Active Member

    ^^ And this refers to the last decade or so. Imagine how it was in 1970. Good digging as always, @GaryAlan
  20. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    This is partly Why I tend to stay away from "the blame game"....

    Here is Richard Carpenter--interview March 1975--regards
    "That album...I had in my mind finished years before we got the contract.
    That wasn't where I was at the time we signed, and some of it could have been
    a lot better, but you can hear that the ideas were there. I should have just forgotten
    about it and gotten down to where I was at the moment. But, it was like I had to do that album,
    I didn't care if we got signed in 1980, that was what the first album was going to sound like.
    And, that's what we did. And, that's why there is such a big difference between the
    Close To You album and Offering..."

    A&M Compendium, Special Issue, July 1975.

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