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Official Review [Album]: "A KIND OF HUSH" (SP-4581)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Jul 1, 2013.


  1. ***** (BEST)

    5 vote(s)
  2. ****

    14 vote(s)
  3. ***

    38 vote(s)
  4. **

    8 vote(s)
  5. *

    1 vote(s)
  1. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Here is Randy Edelman--writer of the song "You"--performing his song:
  2. If they would have replaced "Goofus," "Can't Smile Without You," and "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" with better songs this would have been a great album. These three song, to me anyway, are too "hokey" that it affected my overall impression with this album. One of my least favorite if not THE least favorite of all their albums.
  3. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    It's small but sweet, I love this single.
    Record World Goofus Single Review Aug 28, 1976

    Jeff, A&M Retro, natureaker and 2 others like this.
  4. ScottyB

    ScottyB Active Member

    Certainly not one of their best offerings. In fact, it's the album (of theirs) I play the least. It can be pretty dull, and when I play it, the interest breaks down before I complete it. As for the songs, I do like their cover of A Kind Of Hush. It's bouncy, energetic. It was the last 45 I purchased of theirs until Touch Me When We're Dancing. There was a time when I wasn't quite overwhelmed with I Need To Be In Love, but that has changed over time. In fact, recently I have found myself humming the melody (well, going Na Na Na Na Na...) while at work, only phrasing it uptempo instead of as a ballad. Try it sometime, going Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Naaaa (but uptempo). It may have worked as an uptempo song, as well. I heard their version of Can't Smile Without You years after Barry Manilow's hit version, so I can't offer a positive comparison. I Have You and Sandy are good songs, but don't stand up with any of their other work.
  5. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    I have to agree on that one. 'A Kind Of Hush' has always been a non-starter for me. I liked it enough in '76, but even then I noticed a lack of energy.
  6. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    Cashbox Carpenters Cover June 19, 1976


    I think this inside article, the photo's been flipped


    Cashbox A Kind Of Hush LP Review June 26, 1976

  7. JBee

    JBee Active Member

    Given Karen's precarious health during the time table when AKOH was recorded (late 75-early 76, no?) I've always wondered when the publicity photos from the album were taken. She is not as thin as the few pictures we have of her from 75, yet there is still a fragility about her that wasn't present in late 76.
  8. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure I'd call the AKOH look fragile as much as gentle/relaxed/introspective perhaps.
    Rick-An Ordinary Fool likes this.
  9. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    Perhaps it wasn't used because it was too similar-looking to the photo on the front cover, but that picture from the Cashbox cover is so much nicer than the one from the same photo session that was used on the inner sleeve for A Kind of Hush, which makes Karen look fragile, ill and annoyed.

    Maybe it's me reading it in hindsight, but although the Cashbox review of the album is phrased positively, it (probably unintentionally) hits on several of the album's problems - '[a] clean collection of tunes' and 'smooth, integrating melodies' (so nothing challenging) and 'truly representative of the kind of music that the Carpenters are famous for' (so breaking no new creative ground and just offering more of the same).
  10. ullalume

    ullalume Well-Known Member

    I think between Aug '75 and spring '76, Karen's weight went up from 80 pounds to around 100 (when they cancelled a tour and she stayed with her parents for a brief stint), hence her looking very thin, but not worryingly so, as she would a year later. These pics were probably from April/May '76.

    She did the same thing between March and August of '80, when she saw a nutrionist (and Richard refused to start MIA until she gained weight) and went from around the 80 pound mark to 106 pounds. Obviously that number dropped rapidly following the wedding.
    Mary Beth likes this.
  11. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Just pulled out the LP. Man I love the photography and art direction of this album! (Obviously- see my avatar.)
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  12. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Aside from I Need To Be In Love, there isn't a single song on this album I wouldn't replace with better material.
  13. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Oh my....I am in the minority....
    Hush, You,I Have You, Goofus, I Need To Be In Love, One More Time,
    Boat To Sail
    and to a much lesser extent Sandy....I like them !
    My personal standouts: One More Time and I Need To Be In Love.

    I would replace Breaking Up and Can't Smile Without You,
    but....wait...I do like the (better) single-remix of Can't Smile Without You.

    Had we gotten the ballad version of Breaking Up Is Hard To Do---I'd be sold on it!

    In many ways I refer to this album as Made In America, Volume One....
    Jamesj75 likes this.

    WYBIMLA Active Member

    I put on Boat to Sail yesterday with headphones.
    So, so nice, relaxing. That one always takes me away.
    Probably one of Karen's more interesting interpretations.
    When she says "Forget not" it almost sounds like "For gett'n on".
    Just in how she changed the vowel sound on "not".
    Some singers would probably belt that, but very effective choice on her part.
    I can only imagine a video or live performance of that with some overlaid imagery of sail boats and the two of them relaxing with the band or something.
    Underrated, imo. It's similar to Sailing on the Tide.
    Nice fit for them I think!
  15. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    And the "minority" swells...

    As I've outlined here and elsewhere, A Kind of Hush is exquisite. From the bouncy and fun title track through the beautiful ballad "You," through Karen's self-harmony in "I Have You," through the emotional delivery of Karen's favorite "I Need to Be in Love," through the understated beauty of "One More Time," this album is terrific! It spawned 3 singles, and 2 or 3 other tracks could easily have been singles (e.g., "You," "Can't Smile Without You").

    For me, this album (along with its predecessor Horizon) captures the halcyon days of the Carpenters. I have this visceral, sentimental reaction to Hush as it further captures the halcyon days of a shy, awkward teenage James in the throes of self-discovery. When I play this wonderful selection of songs, I am happily transported to those days, one more time...
  16. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    ^^^ Me, too, James! Me, too. And WYBIMLA, I'm with you on Boat to Sail. One of my favorite Carps songs ever.
  17. It would be interesting (though very sad) to chart visually how she appeared going by every few months. I agree that around the middle of 1976 she did she look much healthier than she had even in early 1975. Does anyone know when the first TV special was shot? She looked really great and glowing there and you can tell she had put back some weight. In fact, it may have been the final time ever we saw her on TV where she looked relatively healthy. After this it was a bit up and down but she never looked consistently healthy again.
  18. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    Mary Beth, I have enjoyed your contributions to this site! Your analysis and curiosity are palpable. I think that many of us have so many unanswered questions with regards to our duo. GaryAlan, in particular, has performed a wealth of research and presented the data (and his analyses) here in his quest to fill in as many blanks as possible.

    Karen's passing put a face on anorexia nervosa. It's not a role she pursued or chose. Regrettably, Karen's health is part of her story --- it will always be so --- and yet I try not to think about it. A timeline of pictures of Karen that accentuate her physical decline is not something I would care to see. (I know you state that it would be "very sad" to do so.) It's not something I would want to see of a loved one either. Over the years, I have been disappointed whenever I came across an article on Karen that featured a picture of a gaunt Karen, as did the infamous (and famous) People magazine cover that reported her death. I don't think she should be defined in those terms of the illness that ended up taking her life. I don't think that is how she should be remembered. By all reports, her beautiful spirit remained intact throughout her life. And that is my preferred focus...
  19. I didn't mean to imply that she should be defined by her illness or that it should be the main focus of her life, nor that someone should literally chart through images her decline. In terms of psychology, looking at it from another point of view, you might able to understand what was going on inside her when you look at her physically, and how it manifests itself externally. Again, I mean in theory, as it would be painful for people like us who love Karen to examine pics like this continually. Also, her eyes too. The window to the soul. You can get a better feel for solving the enigma that was Karen Carpenter often by looking and examining her eyes throughout the years and what they might be telling or withholding.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  20. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    The Japanese pressing of this LP (GP-2001),in the Liner,
    has a few extra photos of Karen from the Hush sessions.
    Of all of the photos I have seen, the one chosen for the inner sleeve
    is the worst one. Why was it chosen over some others ?
    Of course, my view is subjective.
    Over-all, I really like the entire Hush LP artwork.
  21. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Reading the book, A&M Records, The First 25 Years,
    it states that 1976 saw a marked decline across all markets
    (that is all music sales , not simply a decline in Carpenters' sales or A&M Records' sales).
    Apparently, the Frampton Live Album "saved the day" as far as A&M goes, in 1976.
    In any event, perhaps--given all that was transpiring in the record business--
    (not to mention Karen's health issues)
    the LP A Kind Of Hush did as well as can be expected, when taken in that perspective.
    Perhaps, at the time of its release, nothing more could have been expected ?

    Does any one have a specific recollection of the record business industry during 1976 ?
  22. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    The Billboard Top 100 for 1976

    1 "Silly Love Songs" Wings
    2 "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" Elton John & Kiki Dee
    3 "Disco Lady" Johnnie Taylor
    4 "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)" The Four Seasons
    5 "Play That Funky Music" Wild Cherry
    6 "Kiss and Say Goodbye" The Manhattans
    7 "Love Machine" The Miracles
    8 "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" Paul Simon
    9 "Love Is Alive" Gary Wright
    10 "A Fifth of Beethoven" Walter Murphy & The Big Apple Band
    11 "Sara Smile" Hall & Oates
    12 "Afternoon Delight" Starland Vocal Band
    13 "I Write the Songs" Barry Manilow
    14 "Fly, Robin, Fly" Silver Convention
    15 "Love Hangover" Diana Ross
    16 "Get Closer" Seals and Crofts
    17 "More, More, More" Andrea True Connection
    18 "Bohemian Rhapsody" Queen
    19 "Misty Blue" Dorothy Moore
    20 "Boogie Fever" The Sylvers
    21 "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight" England Dan & John Ford Coley
    22 "You Sexy Thing" Hot Chocolate
    23 "Love Hurts" Nazareth
    24 "Get Up and Boogie" Silver Convention
    25 "Take It to the Limit" Eagles
    26 "(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty" KC and the Sunshine Band
    27 "Sweet Love" Commodores
    28 "Right Back Where We Started From" Maxine Nightingale
    29 "Theme from S.W.A.T." Rhythm Heritage
    30 "Love Rollercoaster" Ohio Players
    31 "You Should Be Dancing" Bee Gees
    32 "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine" Lou Rawls
    33 "Golden Years" David Bowie
    34 "Moonlight Feels Right" Starbuck
    35 "Only Sixteen" Dr. Hook
    36 "Let Your Love Flow" The Bellamy Brothers
    37 "Dream Weaver" Gary Wright
    38 "Turn the Beat Around" Vicki Sue Robinson
    39 "Lonely Night (Angel Face)" Captain & Tennille
    40 "All by Myself" Eric Carmen
    41 "Love to Love You Baby" Donna Summer
    42 "Deep Purple" Donny & Marie Osmond
    43 "Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)" Diana Ross
    44 "Sweet Thing" Rufus
    45 "That's the Way (I Like It)" KC and the Sunshine Band
    46 "A Little Bit More" Dr. Hook
    47 "Shannon" Henry Gross
    48 "If You Leave Me Now" Chicago
    49 "Lowdown" Boz Scaggs
    50 "Show Me the Way" Peter Frampton
    51 "Dream On" Aerosmith
    52 "I Love Music" The O'Jays
    53 "Say You Love Me" Fleetwood Mac
    54 "Times of Your Life" Paul Anka
    55 "Devil Woman" Cliff Richard
    56 "Fooled Around and Fell in Love" Elvin Bishop
    57 "Convoy" C. W. McCall
    58 "Welcome Back" John Sebastian
    59 "Sing a Song" Earth, Wind & Fire
    60 "Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel" Tavares
    61 "I'll Be Good to You" The Brothers Johnson
    62 "Rock and Roll Music" The Beach Boys
    63 "Shop Around" Captain & Tennille
    64 "Saturday Night" Bay City Rollers
    65 "Island Girl" Elton John
    66 "Let's Do It Again" The Staple Singers
    67 "Let 'Em In" Wings
    68 "Baby Face" Wing and a Prayer Fife and Drum Corps
    69 "This Masquerade" George Benson
    70 "Evil Woman" Electric Light Orchestra
    71 "Wham Bam" Silver
    72 "I'm Easy" Keith Carradine
    73 "Wake Up Everybody" Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes
    74 "Summer" War
    75 "Let Her In" John Travolta
    76 "Fox on the Run" Sweet
    77 "Rhiannon" Fleetwood Mac
    78 "Got to Get You into My Life" The Beatles
    79 "Fanny (Be Tender with My Love)" Bee Gees
    80 "Getaway" Earth, Wind & Fire
    81 "She's Gone" Hall & Oates
    82 "Still the One" Orleans
    83 "You're My Best Friend" Queen
    84 "With Your Love" Jefferson Starship
    85 "Slow Ride" Foghat
    86 "Who'd She Coo?" Ohio Players
    87 "The Boys Are Back in Town" Thin Lizzy
    88 "Walk Away from Love" David Ruffin
    89 "Baby, I Love Your Way (live)" Peter Frampton
    90 "Young Hearts Run Free" Candi Staton
    91 "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" Neil Sedaka
    92 "Money Honey" Bay City Rollers
    93 "Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)" Parliament
    94 "Junk Food Junkie" Larry Groce
    95 "Tryin' to Get the Feeling Again" Barry Manilow
    96 "Rock and Roll All Nite" Kiss
    97 "Disco Duck" Rick Dees & His Cast of Idiots
    98 "Take the Money and Run" Steve Miller Band
    99 "Squeeze Box" The Who
    100 "Country Boy (You Got Your Feet in L.A.)" Glen Campbell
  23. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    This album played perfect in the rotation of my uncle's albums from the 50's of Patti Paige and Doris Day, and Rosemary Clooney, but not songs from the 70's. In the early 70's they were a leader in the lighter side of 70's pop, but with A Kind of Hush they were out of focus with the bubblegum song of Breaking up Is Hard To Do. They were not bubblegum, but it was hard to defend their musical talents with a song that made people laugh at them and it made it embarrassing to be a fan. Even the song You lacked an edge. I guess I would say the edge was gone. Passage reclaimed it, but Hush had people already tuned out.
    I must have missed the Billboard magazine the week Goofus was a single, for it was not until years later (decades) that I knew it actually happened. Then the "Chorale" used in I Need To Be In Love killed it for radio play. After Solitaire, which I love, I thought they would certainly never release anything that slow and soft again. Even then, I though Love Me For What I Am dwelt with subject matter of the times and would have made a stronger hit for that reason alone, plus Karen's vocals were perfect as a text painting for the song. Boat To Sail had some of this, and if we had Ordinary Fool that would have been another. Sandy missed the boat with its title alone. It seemed to toss between a friend devotion to a love song and we could not tell why the struggle with Sandy being a female name. Goofus was fun, but an album song only. (I like From This Moment On, a lot, but not as a single.). One More Time is esquisite, but again, its a thank you song for the album purchase. I Can't Smile Without You just lingers without structure. It would have been better with just piano and vocal. Maybe then, it would have found the punch Barry Manilow gave it.
    The art work is pretty but the picture chosen is not. It made them look older than they were. The label on the album was beautiful! It's my favorite part of the album. When I was 16, I liked this album simply because I had new songs of Karen's voice to drink in. Besides all the criticism, it still had the most beautiful voice of a lifetime in my ears.
  24. song4u

    song4u Well-Known Member

    Wow! What a blast from the past. I noticed Art Garfunkel's "Breakaway" didn't make the list, but was as popular as Queen's "A Night at the Opera" album in my circle at the time.
  25. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Two of my favorites from the Hush sessions,
    the "O"-songs:
    One More Time and Ordinary Fool,
    are relatively scarce in terms of appearances on additional compilations.
    Five times (besides hush album) and Six times (besides Voice LP),respectively.
    Contrast with what I consider to be a relatively weak song--Sandy--which appears 13 times !
    Jamesj75 likes this.

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