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A 1974 Album? What Would It Have Looked Like?

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CraigGA

Well-Known Member
I thought the zodiac medley was fan created taken from snipets from the end of each Make Your Own Kind of Music summer TV show.
 

JBee

Active Member
Thread Starter
I have been thinking about 1974 ironically- so I wanted to address the initial very interesting post. My thoughts following each song...

1. Please Mr. Postman
(LOVE the song, but it came so late in '74. Perhaps a later single from an album released in Summer '74?)

2. And When He Smiles (which should have been an album cut at some point and RC said they were going record it all the way back in the '71 BBC Concert)
(I think its a nice song but nothing special. Sounds like 1970 or 1971 to me.)

Probably right about "Postman" but it sticks out thematically as well from the rest of Horizon, an album that wasn't released until EIGHT months after "Postman's" debut as a single. As for "And When He Smiles" I just think it's a pretty song. As early as their BBC concert in '71 they mentioned recording it for an album and then...nothing. It's certainly as good if not better than some of the album filler that ended up in AKOH, Passage or MIA.

I also believe Karen should have recorded Perry Como's It's Impossible as an album cut (either in 74 or 75). The shortened version she does on the Christmas special is incredible. It could have been put in as a tribute to Como (a singer both Carpenters obviously admired and RC still does) who had recorded not one, not two, but THREE Carpenters songs on his 71/72 albums.
(PRETTY PLEASE- Give us a full length version.)
Why they never layed down a track for "It's Impossible" (or "And I Love You So") after performing them with Como remains one of the great mysteries of the Carpenters discography. Richard had to know how good she sounded in just those first verse (it's like it was made for her) and they were both fans of Como personally. It's not like Richard hadn't previously taken songs that came from less obvious places ("We've Only Just Begun" - a bank commercial, "Honolulu City Nights" - heard while on vacation in Hawaii, "Slow Dance" - taken from album by Kristy and Jimmy McNichol, who had appeared in the last Christmas special). Given how many songs Richard and Karen layed down tracks for (complete or not) that one or the other ended up not liking, the absence of "It's Impossible" remains befuddling.

Overall, even though I respect your opinions and would have loved an album that year, I think this line-up would have been a very weak album compared to all before it. Thematically and musically it jumps all over the place. I 'd call it 7 out of 11. Not great. Not awful, but nothing comparable to what came before it or "Horizon" after.
I don't disagree totally. The line-up does sound like the kind of eclectic recordings that made up the 1978 sessions. The difference being, I think, that while that bunch of songs didn't have a top 40 hit among them I think ALMOST anything the Carpenters put out (as long as it wasn't "Goofus" level) as a single would have been top 20 in 1974.

Take just a full version of "I Wanna Be Free". It is a Monkeys song, yes, but only released as a single in some countries and never a top 10 hit anywhere (top 20 in Australia, nothing in the US). I think it would have been with a full version just based on the little bit of rendering from Karen that we have. Dionne's original version of "A House is Not a Home" only hit #37. Released as a Carpenters single wouldn't it have done better in 1974? "Any Day Now" (which they only used in medleys and is not included in the Bacharach medley from the tan album) is, like "Postman" a great song period no matter the singer and could have been released as a full single as well. The existence of "Look to Your Dreams" does prove that Carpenter/Bettis had time to write something in 74 at least, so there could have been 1-2 original songs.

There should have been some material at least. Product. They were a recording group (according to R&K themselves) not a primarily touring one - and yet in 1973-1974 they just became a touring group (which would have disastrous effects in 1975).That's fine if they were like The Rolling Stones today and living on their well-deserved laurels but they were in their mid-to-late 20s and were starting to behave like a band whose heyday was done, going around just playing their past hits (something that would continue in the Weintraub era)...already in 1974.

Like I said, if Richard was struggling to find something "new" then A&M could have stepped in as they had before, and as for older recordings that Richard could have added his distinctive arrangements too (before he got seemingly lazy post-Horizon as evidence by completely unoriginal versions of "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" and "Man Smart Women Smarter", even "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" is only saved from being uninteresting by Karen's vocals.) there were an unlimited number of them (especially given RC's encyclopedic memory for old songs). Some of which the C's had performed in concert, not only as Carpenters but Spectrum and the RC Trio. We often talk about the vaulted recordings of Karen, that Richard may or may not still have, but I am sure that RC has lots of songs he's charted over the years that have either never been recorded or he simply dismissed after arranging.

I thought the zodiac medley was fan created taken from snipets from the end of each Make Your Own Kind of Music summer TV show.
It is, but TV (and film) production being what it is (and always has been) you do all those takes at once and then edit them. I believe all of MYOKOM was filmed in a very short span (someone correct me on this) and the so-called Zodiac medley was almost certainly filmed at one time and then cut and interspersed between episodes. So while recutting the medley to make one continuous whole was fanmade, they were probably originally filmed in one sitting as well.
 
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newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Probably right about "Postman" but it sticks out thematically as well from the rest of Horizon, an album that wasn't released until EIGHT months after "Postman's" debut as a single. As for "And When He Smiles" I just think it's a pretty song. As early as their BBC concert in '71 they mentioned recording it for an album and then...nothing. It's certainly as good if not better than some of the album filler that ended up in AKOH, Passage or MIA.


Why they never layed down a track for "It's Impossible" (or "And I Love You So") after performing them with Como remains one of the great mysteries of the Carpenters discography. Richard had to know how good she sounded in just those first verse (it's like it was made for her) and they were both fans of Como personally. It's not like Richard hadn't previously taken songs that came from less obvious places ("We've Only Just Begun" - a bank commercial, "Honolulu City Nights" - heard while on vacation in Hawaii, "Slow Dance" - taken from album by Kristy and Jimmy McNichol, who had appeared in the last Christmas special). Given how many songs Richard and Karen layed down tracks for (complete or not) that one or the other ended up not liking, the absence of "It's Impossible" remains befuddling.


I don't disagree totally. The line-up does sound like the kind of eclectic recordings that made up the 1978 sessions. The difference being, I think, that while that bunch of songs didn't have a top 40 hit among them I think ALMOST anything the Carpenters put out (as long as it wasn't "Goofus" level) as a single would have been top 20 in 1974.

Take just a full version of "I Wanna Be Free". It is a Monkeys song, yes, but only released as a single in some countries and never a top 10 hit anywhere (top 20 in Australia, nothing in the US). I think it would have been with a full version just based on the little bit of rendering from Karen that we have. Dionne's original version of "A House is Not a Home" only hit #37. Released as a Carpenters single wouldn't it have done better in 1974? "Any Day Now" (which they only used in medleys and is not included in the Bacharach medley from the tan album) is, like "Postman" a great song period no matter the singer and could have been released as a full single as well. The existence of "Look to Your Dreams" does prove that Carpenter/Bettis had time to write something in 74 at least, so there could have been 1-2 original songs.

There should have been some material at least. Product. They were a recording group (according to R&K themselves) not a primarily touring one - and yet in 1973-1974 they just became a touring group (which would have disastrous effects in 1975).That's fine if they were like The Rolling Stones today and living on their well-deserved laurels but they were in their mid-to-late 20s and were starting to behave like a band whose heyday was done, going around just playing their past hits (something that would continue in the Weintraub era)...already in 1974.

Like I said, if Richard was struggling to find something "new" then A&M could have stepped in as they had before, and as for older recordings that Richard could have added his distinctive arrangements too (before he got seemingly lazy post-Horizon as evidence by completely unoriginal versions of "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" and "Man Smart Women Smarter", even "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" is only saved from being uninteresting by Karen's vocals.) there were an unlimited number of them (especially given RC's encyclopedic memory for old songs). Some of which the C's had performed in concert, not only as Carpenters but Spectrum and the RC Trio. We often talk about the vaulted recordings of Karen, that Richard may or may not still have, but I am sure that RC has lots of songs he's charted over the years that have either never been recorded or he simply dismissed after arranging.


It is, but TV (and film) production being what it is (and always has been) you do all those takes at once and then edit them. I believe all of MYOKOM was filmed in a very short span (someone correct me on this) and the so-called Zodiac medley was almost certainly filmed at one time and then cut and interspersed between episodes. So while recutting the medley to make one continuous whole was fanmade, they were probably originally filmed in one sitting as well.

I think you're right but one way to tell for sure is their outfits: they're wearing the same clothes in each snippet, a sure sign it was cut in one sitting. I wonder if the audio exists anywhere (Richard's vault?) in pristine quality, complete and without the canned applause. Now that would be a treat to hear!
 

JBee

Active Member
Thread Starter
I think you're right but one way to tell for sure is their outfits: they're wearing the same clothes in each snippet, a sure sign it was cut in one sitting. I wonder if the audio exists anywhere (Richard's vault?) in pristine quality, complete and without the canned applause. Now that would be a treat to hear!

I wouldn't be surprised (even if it exists only as a mono track taken from the broadcast). Based just on the Coleman autobiography Richard like to keep a lot of recordings. But it may be one of those things he doesn't think is good enough (or long enough) to put out.

Which does raise the question (and this may be something for a thread of its own) but as much as I like the medleys, Richard seemed to over-rely on it. As album tracks and especially in concerts (from what I have seen). You rarely heard whole versions of songs (and some of these songs deserved whole versions - such as my suggestion of "Any Day Now" for a hypothetical '74 album) and its not like they didn't have time - in the Weintrab era they could have simply cut the campy Grease-medley (yet another one!) from the show.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Ah....^my sentiments exactly....too many Medleys !
But, then, I've been vocal on that issue many a time....
Be that as it may,
Why not a studio recording of
Can't Buy Me Love ?
I've got a version of it--just listened to it--
and, it is Awesome....with a capital "a" !
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Mark, ^^ in answer to your question,
I only have an old cd-r disc ,about 15 years old now !--
which has my writing on it that says : "rare Carpenters songs," (no other information written)
and, I really am unable to ascertain when these performances took place.
Now, with Youtube, and all, I am not so sure the songs are considered "rare" anymore !
I surmise much of this came out on Napster in 1995, which was the go-to source at the time.

A 45- Single release , in 1974,
of Postman backed by Can't Buy Me Love would have been interesting !
Karen drumming on both.
 

John Tkacik

Well-Known Member
Mark, ^^ in answer to your question,
I only have an old cd-r disc ,about 15 years old now !--
which has my writing on it that says : "rare Carpenters songs," (no other information written)
and, I really am unable to ascertain when these performances took place.
Now, with Youtube, and all, I am not so sure the songs are considered "rare" anymore !
I surmise much of this came out on Napster in 1995, which was the go-to source at the time.

A 45- Single release , in 1974,
of Postman backed by Can't Buy Me Love would have been interesting !
Karen drumming on both.
Those may be from the "Your Navy Presents" radio shows they taped in March 1970. "Can't Buy Me Love" and "Help" were two of the fourteen songs they performed on the four "episodes".
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the reference^^ , John.
Thankfully my audio-cd sounds much clearer than what is on this Youtube of
Your Navy Presents
(Can't But Me Love
and Help are near the end,here...starting around 45 min.):
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
The YOUR NAVY PRESENTS version of "Help!", despite being in the same key, is much *faster* than the version on CLOSE TO YOU. It's also heavily edited, presumably to make it fit into the short fifteen-minute segment. A whole first chorus is missing. Even though, if you compare the parts that are there, it runs faster in tempo than the album version.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the elaboration, Harry !

Also, offered as clarification:
whatever version I do have on audio-cd, of the song Help
it is not identical to the above-posted Youtube Your Navy Presents.

As my cd-r is not of that program (that is, it is not a cd -copy of Your Navy Presents)
I can not verify anything regards to tempo--
only, that it sounds to me that it is performed slower than the LP (Close To You LP).
Of course, I could be in error regards tempo !

But, it really gets me to appreciating the Carpenters' version much more than I previously had done !
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Regards the so-called "Zodiac Medley" being a possibility for inclusion of a 1974 Album,
it is important to realize that this is not an actual entire "Medley" put together by Richard
and performed "all at once" on the Make Your Own Kind of Music TV Show. These are snippets
strung together "after the fact."
This so-called Medley did not exist--as it is now understood/viewed--- in 1974.


First, we have this:
"Music arranged and conducted by: Jack Elliott, Allyn Ferguson;Music Coordinator: Larry White"

Second:
"Performance Air Dates
July 27--Wishing & Hoping
August 24--Trains & Boats & Planes
Augist 31--I wanna Be Free
September 7--New World Coming"

Source:The Carpenters TV Show »
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
"Performance Air Dates
July 27--Wishing & Hoping
August 24--Trains & Boats & Planes
Augist 31--I wanna Be Free
September 7--New World Coming"

Source:The Carpenters TV Show »

These are just the air dates of each (pre-recorded) segment. It does look to me, from their outfits, that the whole thing was recorded in one go, then spliced up and overlaid with canned applause to stretch it over a few episodes.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Yes,^^ I do understand that those are air dates.
However, after careful listening to the aforementioned "Medley" on a cd-copy which I have,
along with comparison to Richard Carpenter's signature Medleys (compare say, Tan Album or MMM)
surely shows that this is not a Richard Carpenter written/arranged Medley.
Given the manner in which this show was taped, yes, those snippets could have been recorded in
near proximity, however, I am simply pointing out that this is not a Richard Carpenter composed-arranged Medley,
which is probably why it has never appeared on a sanctioned, official , Carpenters' compilation.
Nor, would it have been a viable option for an album in 1974.
Now, too bad those songs had not been recorded full-length !
Because , Karen does sound awesome !
 

John Tkacik

Well-Known Member
Unlike the other segments of the tv series where Richard and Karen taped lip-synched videos of their previously released songs, I have read that the "Zodiac" snippets were taped with them singing live on the set due to there being no previously recorded versions.
According to Randy Schmidt's research in "Little Girl Blue", they taped their segments the last week in May of 1971. You can tell which segments were taped together by seeing which clips Karen was wearing the same wardrobe.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Unlike the other segments of the tv series where Richard and Karen taped lip-synched videos of their previously released songs, I have read that the "Zodiac" snippets were taped with them singing live on the set due to there being no previously recorded versions.
According to Randy Schmidt's research in "Little Girl Blue", they taped their segments the last week in May of 1971. You can tell which segments were taped together by seeing which clips Karen was wearing the same wardrobe.

Which is what I said earlier :)
 

JBee

Active Member
Thread Starter
Yes,^^ I do understand that those are air dates.
However, after careful listening to the aforementioned "Medley" on a cd-copy which I have,
along with comparison to Richard Carpenter's signature Medleys (compare say, Tan Album or MMM)
surely shows that this is not a Richard Carpenter written/arranged Medley.
Given the manner in which this show was taped, yes, those snippets could have been recorded in
near proximity, however, I am simply pointing out that this is not a Richard Carpenter composed-arranged Medley,
which is probably why it has never appeared on a sanctioned, official , Carpenters' compilation.
Nor, would it have been a viable option for an album in 1974.
Now, too bad those songs had not been recorded full-length !
Because , Karen does sound awesome !

I had no idea it wasn't arranged by RC! I guess that probably would have precluded its inclusion in an album. However...I still think the song choices are spot on. Just like "It's Impossible" you hear Karen sing most of the songs in that medley and you want to hear the full version. Richard knew his sister's voice better than anyone else so I just don't see why not lay down some tracks and see what happens. Particularly since it was, by his own admission now having problems finding material, and since some of those songs like "A House is Not A Home" or "I Wanna Be Free" were NOT major hits for the original singers. That would give the Carpenters an opportunity to re-introduce them ala "Close to You".
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
And, as pertains 1974,
the official Carpenter page says this about the Como/Carpenters' Medley:
"....As originally arranged and performed, this track was six minutes and fifty-five seconds in duration,"
But,
there is no indication there as to
Who
that Medley was arranged by......
Anyone know ?
Did Richard Carpenter arrange this Com Medley ?
 
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