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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. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I remember purchasing a vintage copy of the original newspaper that contained this review in the 1990s. Reading its observations now such as “elsewhere, there is thin fare”, “there’s not a track which comes anywhere near the memorability of their earlier successes” and “they damage their credibility rating by resting on such tired oldies”, this article pretty much nails it without being overly harsh. I remember thinking the same back then as well so my views on the album still match this review and haven’t changed a bit.
  2. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    As I have already alluded to--in my own review of this album--
    approaching this album as a comparison to earlier albums is bound to result in disappointment.
    I'm afraid to say this, but, in hindsight it is apparent that No subsequent Carpenters' album
    was ever going to match the results of earlier efforts.
    Too much had changed:
    (1) Karen's health, Richard's health.
    (2) Management--no longer Sherwin Bash.
    (3) Jack Daugherty--no longer in a production capacity.
    (4) Hal Blaine---no longer on drums.
    (5) For some strange reason, Richard was no longer looking at "contemporary" songwriters.
    No Paul Williams or Bacharach compositions. (Sandy is simply too weak,also).

    This was the second full Carpenters' album I ever listened to (in 1976)--after the first, Horizon.
    1976: I loved Horizon, I liked Hush. My opinion has not wavered. But, I could not compare either album
    to any previous (to 1975) album, as I did not have the previous albums !
    Now, I had heard "all the previous hit singles," so--
    if any review is based upon "memorable hit singles"--then, yes, the album disappoints.

    Unfortunately, there were going to be No More songs of the hit caliber status such as
    Close To You,We've Only Just Begun,Superstar, Rainy Days And Mondays

    In fact, The Singles 1969-1973 album,
    cemented a certain "mindset" into the listeners of the era...
    if you compared all Carpenters' albums (earlier or later) to that one album,
    they were all going to disappoint !

    In fact, one of the reasons I absolutely love the Passage album,
    is that it is so far from The Singles 1969-1973,
    while others dislike that album (Passage) for the same reason.
    Don Malcolm and jaredjohnfisher like this.
  3. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I would have thought the above two factors should have improved things. Sherwin was no longer flogging them to death and Jack was never really a producer of any kind anyway.

    I think the overriding factor, as you say, was their health. They were overworked and overexposed and probably just needed to take some well deserved time off. Had they taken a year off, had Richard had gone off travelling or racing his cars, had he spent a few months soaking up the latest musical trends of the day instead of being so immersed in the act and under pressure, who knows what kind of album might have resulted?
    David A likes this.
  4. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    A few observations:
    (1) No matter how (comparatively) "bad" Sherwin Bash is 'made out to be,'
    I remain unconvinced that Jerry Weintraub did the duo any favors--
    instead of spending an inordinate amount of time touring, they spent an inordinate
    amount of time on those Television Specials.
    (2) Regardless of what Jack Daugherty did--or, did not--do in a "production capacity,"
    that only poses the quandary of Why ? those post-Daugherty albums were much-less
    inspiring and lacked the "umph" of pop/rock/jazz sensibilities of the earlier records.
    I do not as easily discount Daugherty's conceivable input.
    (3) Richard was in so-called great form, great health--we still got Made In America.
    His input was (by his own admission) minimal on Christmas Portrait--a great album.

    So, still, I am left with Questions with few Answers.
  5. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    In fairness, although the TV specials were time-consuming, they weren't as time-consuming as touring (remember, they spent pretty much the whole of 1974 on the road). The problem with the TV specials is that a) they're not very good and b) although they gave them some level of profile, they don't seem to have helped their albums/singles sales.

    The question over Jack Daugherty's role in the production of their sound is still a rather hazy one - I'm still not very clear whether he had much creative input into their sound or not - but another thing to bear in mind in the change in sound from their early albums to the 'post-Daugherty' albums from 1973 onwards is that there are no songs written by Richard and John Bettis from the Spectrum days. Granted, these weren't always very good ('Druscilla Penny' etc), but they did have a slightly rawer sound that wasn't replicated in the later Carpenter/Bettis compositions on, say, A Kind of Hush - if anything, the Carpenter/Bettis tracks on this album are amongst their softest-sounding.

    I'd agree with newvillefan on the point that they could have done with taking a few months off, if only to get some perspective and absorb some outside influences. As it was, the continual pressure of touring/studio/promotion/touring seems to have created a form of tunnel vision in their musical outlook that resulted in a real drift away from the pop mainstream by 1975/76 and led them to repeat the same tricks they'd been employing before.
    David A likes this.
  6. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Excellent analysis !
    (1) I might add that I believe the duo stopped "visiting" the DJ's --in person--at the radio stations,
    although there were a few phone-in interviews, if memory serves me accurately.
    (2) The 'tunnel' vision could stem (partially) from the fact that spending many hours in a 'recording studio'
    is not the same as being out in the public for many hours, thus, 'performing' the music 'live'.
    (3) Apparently 1970-1975 the duo outperformed in singles-sales to album sales, in the USA.
    1976-1981, the album sales outperformed the singles-sales, outside of the USA !
    (This I take from the press kit which accompanies the LP Made In America.)
    (4) Karen commented that Richard was "the worst she has ever seen him" during the making of Horizon.
    I have never really understood that remark.
    (5) The Singles 1969-1973 LP took all of two weeks to "do" (this, from the Fan Club Newsletters).
    That album, by all accounts, stayed on top the charts for virtually a year. The natural inclination to
    "look for the next hit single" really caused some sort of tunnel vision, in my opinion.
    Strong songs such as Trying To Get The Feeling Again, Ordinary Fool, Where Do I Go From Here....
    those songs should be just as much in the "public's ear" as the Big-Hit (1970-1975) Singles.
    (6) The review which remarked "excellent Jack Daugherty Production" for A Song For You,
    and, Richard's subsequent response to that remark, seems to have been blown far out-of-proportion by him.
    Now & Then, in contrast (or--I've not seen in print) never had a byline that read: "excellent Richard Carpenter
    production".....because, compared to the former, it isn't !

    In short, there are questions aplenty in their career !
  7. I think the AllMusic review hits the nail on the head when it speaks of “this record was where the real rot began to set into the Carpenters' fortunes, in terms of remaining connected to rock”. From “Hush” forward, their sound was less spontaneous and had far less “edge” (not counting the attempt to reverse things with Passage.) I think audiences just got bored with them (especially in the age of rock, disco, punk, etc.). Whether it was fatigue or perfectionism, their music began to reflect it. What started as “easy listening” became “drowsy listening”.
  8. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Whilst the direction Jerry Weintraub took them off in was questionable, the TV specials were nowhere near as draining on them as what Sherwin had them doing. Those specials took around three weeks to film (plus the studio sessions for some of the music), whilst they’d previously been spending 174+ days a year on the road (at the same time as recording entire studio albums). I know which I’d prefer even if I was in great health.

    The question of Daugherty’s input is still very one sided. We’ve all heard Richard’s side, whereas Jack never really got to tell it from his side (except in court behind closed doors). His son Michael addressed the issue at length on behalf of his father in a statement to the LA Times in 1994, accusing Richard of trivializing his father's role and stating that his father was important to the duo's sound.

    Carpenters’ Tools
    October 16, 1994

    Regarding "Trust Us, This Is Real," [an article] on the alternative-music album tribute to the Carpenters (Sept. 11):

    Writer Paul Grein's question "And what does the man who produced and arranged the Carpenters' long string of hits think of 'If I Were a Carpenter'?" was posed to the wrong person. The man who produced the lion's share of the Carpenters hits was my late father, Jack Daugherty.

    Daugherty, then a staff producer at A&M Records, produced the Carpenters' first five albums and first 10 singles, all of which went gold and most of which have probably gone platinum by now. Nine of 12 tracks on their quadruple-platinum greatest hits collection "The Singles 1969-1973" were produced by Daugherty, a 10th track co-produced by Daugherty and the Carpenters.

    Perhaps Grein's question is excusable. If Ray Coleman's biography "The Carpenters--The Untold Story" is any indication, Richard Carpenter seems intent on trivializing Daugherty's inestimable influence in the creation of the Carpenters' sound.

    The purpose of my writing is to draw attention to Daugherty's achievements as one of the most successful producers of that era.

    My father would have enjoyed knowing that the sound he fashioned more than 20 years ago continues to be appreciated by so many. As he wasn't a huge fan of modern music, he also would have appreciated the irony in the fact that 11 of the 14 titles on "If I Were a Carpenter" are remakes of songs that he produced.

    Los Angeles

    Carpenters' Tools
    Carpe diem likes this.
  9. Someday

    Someday Active Member

    "I was born to belong to the lines of a song and make them my home."
    This beautiful sentiment will always hold a special resonance for me, and I'm sure, for all us dreamers (and musicians alike).
  10. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    So happy to see such discussion (and plenty of love) for this much-maligned album. It's been a favorite of mine since day 1. It features so much to enjoy. I won't bore by repeating my previous postings in this thread, but I think that even title song "There's a Kind of Hush (All Over the World)" is a Carpenters-by-the-numbers up-tempo hook-laden hit!
    John Adam and Carpe diem like this.
  11. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    The way that Karen was hugging on Jack Daugherty's arm in that "This Is Your Life" episode left no doubt that SHE thought very highly of him. The fact is he is named "Producer" on the labels of the majority of their best selling songs, leads one to believe he's not the incompetent buffoon that Richard tries to make him out to be.
    newvillefan likes this.
  12. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    The song One More Time...Love the melancholic piano intro. The intimacy of Karen's "basement" vocals. This song is a prime example of what Herb Alpert described (I forget the exact quote); "Karen sitting next to me singing in my ear". And I love her pronunciation of "Baton Rouge" in that second stanza. And the strings coming in. Great arrangement by Richard.
  13. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I tend to believe that Daugherty was instrumental in their early years but as Richard’s confidence and ego grew, he began to resent him. Let’s not forget, Richard has a huge ego. Many of my friends watching documentaries and interview clips have been quite taken aback at interviews in later years where he’s insisted that “you can’t say the Carpenters weren’t good - you just can’t” and called anyone who did “ignoramuses”. Those are his exact words. As early as 1972 he actually said to Jerry Dunphy on camera “well, I don’t want to sound like an egomaniac or anything, but...”.

    The Coleman book painted a wholly one-sided picture of Jack Daugherty, that nobody at A&M could work out why he had his own office, roster of staff etc without producing anything other than Carpenters records. Well, I think Herb and Jerry were a lot cleverer than to allow someone to run around the label with a team of staff, a company car etc if they weren’t acutely aware of what that person was contributing back. I think there’s a lot more to the Jack Daugherty episode than we’ll probably ever know.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2018
    David A and Carpe diem like this.
  14. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    I don't mean to come down on Richard, but in the Dunphy Special, their is a certain arrogance in which Richard conducts himself. He is sitting there in his turtleneck waxing philosophically, while his sister is mixing drinks for Dunphy and her parents. By this point in time, Karen was the star, and it drives me nuts the way she continually downplays herself; for example: "I didn't know how to do anything, nothing!"
    David A and newvillefan like this.
  15. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Carpenters Fan Club Newsletter #46, December 1975:
    "...a new single is in the making,and a new album
    is expected to be released some time in the Spring.
    No title for either is evident, yet...."
  16. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Jack Daugherty had his own recording for the label called JACK DAUGHERTY AND THE CLASS OF NINETEEN HUNDRED AND SEVENTY ONE.

    It's a straight-ahead jazz album and featured many of the musicians who backed Karen & Rich in the early days:
    Carpe diem likes this.
  17. Has anyone ever thought A KIND OF HUSH was named to be similar to A SONG FOR YOU?
  18. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    I don't see it as "coming down on Richard" to state the obvious. Richard was (is) incredibly talented and played a huge role in the Carpenters' success. He was (is) also very egotistical and arrogant, one simply has to listen to his words when he speaks in interviews and such. I've said before; these aren't traits unknown to many creative people; I know some.

    Where it's relevant, I think, is when evaluating it's impact on their career. I found this renewed discussion of Daugherty and his impact on their music, fascinating. Like many, I've only heard Richard's side of that. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Richard/Carpenters won the lawsuit filed by Daugherty, no? Not that that means Richard's view is accurate. Oh, to have a transcript of those court appearances.

    I'm almost embarrassed to say that it never really hit me that Daugherty was with them during their biggest period, and after his departure a downward career spiral ensued. Coincidence? Dunno. But interesting.
    Carpe diem likes this.
  19. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    All it means is a judge agreed with the case put forward by A&M’s lawyers, not necessarily that Richard was right. From what I’ve read of him, Jack Daugherty seemed like a genuinely nice guy. I know that doesn’t necessarily equate to being a hit record maker, but I think it was incredibly decent of him to turn up at Karen’s funeral. Richard said he found that “incredibly moving” but would it have caused him to regret how Daugherty was treated? Probably not. I think it was Frenda Leffler who said in Randy’s book, recalling his lack of support over the solo project, that he has to live with that and it probably doesn’t even phase him.
    David A likes this.
  20. Just wondering if you ever met Richard to make the judgement that he "is also very egotistical and arrogant." On the dozen or so time's I've met and talked with him he was anything but the opposite of this judgement. In fact, he was kind, humble, and very nice to me. I think what one judges as "egotistical and arrogant" might be actually be "pride" in his accomplishments.

    I highly doubt Jack Daugherty had any creative input into the Carpenters' sound. That is predominantly Richard (brains) and, more practically, Karen (muscle). This has been well documented. Mr. Daugherty, as "producer," may have been in a more administrative role; booking studio musicians, securing licensing agreements, taking care of copywrites, etc. Had Richard (and Karen) begun taking on these responsibilities, too, then perhaps it was appropriate to question why Mr. Daugherty was there...collecting a salary...and not "producing" any other act on the A&M lot.

    But to state that Richard "is egotistical and arrogant" is not accurate. Other than in his own admission that both he, AND Karen were that way early on when they first found success, there is no evidence of this later on or even for Richard today. This is a prime example of why this forum has a reputation for "Richard bashing."
    ars nova likes this.
  21. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    If you think this forum has a reputation for anything, you should spend some time on other forums for the likes of Queen, Fleetwood Mac, Madonna and others. On those you’ll find members insulting each other, taking sides, taking offence, swearing and all round general bitchiness on display. This one is tame and well behaved in comparison.
    Murray and Geographer like this.
  22. As Carpenter fans, obviously we're a lot more civil, mature, and refined than are fans of Queen, Fleetwood Mac, and, especially, Madonna. {;{D
    newvillefan likes this.
  23. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Actually, in regards to the album A Kind Of Hush--
    far from 'bashing' Richard on this score--I simply differ from his opinion of the album !
    That is, I appreciate "the entirety of the product," irrespective of any "hit" single material.
    There is no denying--at least to my 'ears' that a dramatic musical change occurred on
    the Carpenters' albums after Daugherty was fired.
    That is not 'bashing' Richard, it is simply a fact.

    Where have those earlier musical influences gone ?
    (1) The "call and response," say, as heard on 'Superstar'
    (2) The harpsichord, the trumpets, the 'jazziness' of earlier material ?
    (3) Listen to the drumming, from the early albums, then listen to Horizon, Hush, MIA,
    Why the dramatic change from Hal Blaine ? He left around the same time as Daugherty, coincidence ?
    (4) Even the structure of background vocals have changed from the earlier material.

    If 'bashing' is equivalent to "inquiring" then, I suppose there are
    no further questions that need to be asked/or answered
    regarding Carpenters' career.

    As I have said before, no single source is adequate to answer all possible historical questions.
    I must own 500 books on Quantum Mechanics--and, still, there remain Questions.

    Carpenters' Career get exactly one authorized source--Coleman's 1994 Biography.
    That, my friends, is not even remotely adequate for a duo whom I personally believe
    deserves a very high place in the entire history of pop music.
  24. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    I appreciate your view and understand where you are coming from. However, we can both be right. Someone can be arrogant and egotistical about their work, and also proud of their work. They can be nice people who are kind to others, especially if in doing so it doesn't compel them to deal with criticism of their work.

    No, I do not know Richard; nor do you, really, unless your interactions with him go beyond what you've suggested. My opinion is based upon what I have read and heard over many years, from many people who DID know him, including, importantly, Richard's own words. It is also quite likely that Richard has evolved and changed over the years. He has had kids; raised a family; and had time to reflect on he and his sisters' career.

    I tried to go out of my way to compliment Richard's work and achievement, which are indelible on music and the creation and sound of the Carpenters. I also pointed out that creative geniuses often have this trait. No malice was intended, just looking at the issue of Daugherty and whether Richard's ego back then, may have led to firing a guy who had had an important impact on their sound. I do not know the answer to that.
  25. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I thought Richard and Karen produced with Jack from 1973 onward and only earlier songs released in later years had his name included. If I’m not mistaken, Yesterday Once More was without Jack in the credits. Now and Then has only Karen and Richard on production credits.

    Hush has sone nice music but the album was not strong using their own philosophy of the next one has to be better, despite the feeling that as die hard fans it is a favorite. And with their world tours they had the perfect platform to launch new music, but they were tired as stated in Richard’s own words years later citing heath factors, as well. Thank God their love for recording gave us the Christmas Offerings. Richard even stated their focus should have been on recording and not as many tours. If they had had Weintraub manage them just a few years earlier things may have been different, but we don’t have facts to support it for it did not happen.

    Celebrities have agents and spokespeople to protect against misunderstandings. Just the fact that they allowed interviews showed they cared and tried to be as genuine as possible.

    We lost Karen as our favorite singer but Richard lost his sister and his family never knew her and this fact is felt daily in his family. We can protect her image by sticking to facts so this forum is an example to the others. Karen valued Richard. And, Richard valued Karen. I believe he wanted to create the perfect sound for her as she tried to give perfection not just for herself, but out of her love for Richard, as we learned in Randy’s book.

    We have read that people who met them and worked with them were amazed at their talent and work ethic. I wish I could have been there but instead, we have records and videos. I wish I could listen to something tonight I have not yet heard, but I can relisten to songs with another ear, so to speak.

    Plus, by sticking to the facts, we keep from embarrassing ourselves in later years when we learn different and find ourselves feeling guilt for not stating things accurately. Plus, by sticking to the facts, we have people like Chris May and Harry who can comfortably share and participate while providing nuggets for us.

    I sometimes feel frustrated that we don’t have all the answers, all the songs, and that we can’t rewrtie history and have even wanted to blame people and situations for the loss we all feel, and feelings can hurt, but facts can help direct misplaced emotions and protect ourselves and the people we care for, and most importantly the integrity of this board and the people of fame who participate and in turn, we all add something of value for posterity.

    I wish I could remember exactly what Mike Curb once said about Carpenters. Mike Curb, who can be considered the best in the Business said that they competed in the playing field and worked hard with commitment to their craft and deserve recognition, or something similar. I am sure he could write many books. I think I’ll research to see if he has!

    Jamesj75 likes this.

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