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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. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    That recording is crystal clear, the high frequencies haven't dissipated. Just beautiful to listen to. Perfect recording.
  2. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    It is a very soft and easy album similar to 50’s albums by Julie London and Doris Day. And Breaking Up Is Hard To Do should never have been recorded in my opinion. All of this hides it’s handful of gems that were never heard by many in comparison to albums just 2 years earlier. Music styles were turning in 1976 to Fleetwood Mac, Queen and Heart with a little more rock and others with more rhythm and blues, yet the Carpenters turned a little more soft with bland arrangements on most of the songs. A Boat To Sail and One More Time are great, but You deserves better in arranging for Karen’s voice was awesome.
  3. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

  4. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Very similar arrangement. Carpenters changed some words - some needed changing and some really didn’t. The ending on Edelman’s version is just awful. It just fades out. Otherwise, it sounds pretty good. I do miss Richard’s vocal arrangement and the poor fade-out choice will keep me from listening to Randy’s again.

  5. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    INTBIL Single Review
    Record World June 05, 1976

  6. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    I agree that Karen's vocal on "I Need to Be In Love" is exquisite. But, listening to 'American Top 40' as a pre-teen as this song was climbing the charts, I had the impression that it wasn't really for me. A bit too slow, lacking a zappy, catchy hook and with a 'mature' theme that I couldn't relate to. Even at that young age, I wasn't surprised when it didn't peak very high.

    Over time, though, "I Need to Be In Love" came to be one of my favourite Carpenters performances. In 1977, I must have listened to the "A Kind of Hush" album hundreds and hundreds of times, including this majestic song. Maybe it wasn't bubble-gummy and poppy enough to compete with the light-weight hits of the day, but it's stood the test of time - much better, for me, than the jaunty smash, "Please Mr. Postman", from 18 months earlier - and is still one of my favourites, to this day.
  7. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    Please Mr. Postman has a lot going on in it and is an extremely fun song that can't help put a smile on anyone's face. Just try to recreate it, and it is a difficult task to create something simple, well! I Need To Be In Love had the choir. The obvious harp was already a topic of elimination for pop radio and the choir did the rest. The song is so beautiful that it did not need all of that in a single. The album version could have stayed as is, but it needed more voice to ear for radio in 1976. It was also a summer single and more voice and signature Carpenter harmony with only Carpenter voices would have helped it. Karen had a quality that was appealing in vocal overdubs that Please Mr. Postman had plenty of. I'll never understand why she was not utilized more front and center, with less instruments surrounding her, as in the golden hits, as she was the star with the one of kind voice that held the attraction for radio play. Again, it was great for projects, but singles needed more one on one time using instruments that contemporary listeners could pick up and play with a handy instrument for recreation. The version that she sang on the Bruce Forseyth Show was simply tantilizing and would have soared better against Disco for its emotional value. It was more voice to listener. Plus, their live shows were focused on more previous hits and little showcasing current songs. Their albums Horizon and Hush had plenty of material that could have been utilized. That should have been the eye opener! They were still great concerts, but commercially they did little to promote current or forthcoming projects. The biggest drawback, that Harry once pointed out, was that there was not a recorded live version of this song.
  8. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    Great points Craig. I wish that Richard could have somehow got the rights to the live recording of INTBIL from the Bruce Forsyth show and released it on a compilation. I wonder if Richard has even watched it or heard this live recording since Karen passed away. They recorded so much during their career but he wasn’t really involved in this live track so does he even remember it exists? He’s obtained rights to use recordings from Ella, maybe the cost is too high to get rights to a U.K. broadcast of releasing a live recording on a future Carpenters compilation.
    Brian likes this.
  9. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    I agree that it would be great to have the performances from 'The Bruce Forsythe Show' released, Rick. I've got a properly licensed and authorised video and laserdisc, released in the UK around 1990, with 'Please Mr. Postman' from the Bruce Forsythe Show on it. I presume that Richard had to give permission to have that released. He seems to have a good hold on the reigns.

    Then again, maybe not. John Bettis said in a recent interview that if the record company wanted to release whatever, they would, no matter what the artist thought. And, as you suggest, maybe he doesn't have the same control in regions outside the USA.

    Having said that, Richard, I believe, was involved in production of a DVD set of the three BBC concerts that was to be released in Japan around 2006. This set even got close enough to production that it was up for pre-order on Amazon.com. However, it got pulled at the last minute. A spokesperson from the company releasing it said he presumed the artist, (Richard), had become dissatisfied with the product.

    I mention all this because I reckon that Richard is probably well aware of all the TV footage and recordings produced in the UK. I can see him releasing the audio from The Bruce Forsythe Show, because it's so good, but I can't imagine him releasing the visual footage, simply because Karen looks so ill - thinner than we've ever seen her. She looks like she's well and truly down to the 'old 75 pounds', as she termed her lowest weight - or lower. But, still, she sounds terrific.
  10. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I think Karen is thin, but her energy and song still has looking good. She carried the Carpenters well, as Richard just just cancelled the last tour and no one actually knew what was to become of the Carpenters. She headlined with brilliance!
  11. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    ^^ "She headlined with brilliance!" Absolutely agree. At that point in time she was a seasoned "pro" at the front of any stage and in complete control.
    CraigGA and David A like this.
  12. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    She did, and her vocals are sheer perfection, but she looks as if she should have been in hospital at that very moment on some specialised emergency programme to save her life.
  13. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Interestingly enough, while I am not generally a fan of the song
    I do enjoy two things about the song (other than Karen's lead vocal):
    (1) the great background harmonies
    (2) the utilization of harp, as there are two harpists performing in the song;
    this may be the only song in Carpenters' entire catalog where two harpists are credited.
    Jamesj75 and CraigGA like this.
  14. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Another Hush LP song that tends (?) to be underrated:
    Boat To Sail.....
    Now, if that final lyric "DaShannon is back.." could be removed, I would love this song.

    This is a song that I believe would sound awesome if stripped to its bare necessities.
    Karen's nuances are spectacular, as are the background vocals.
  15. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    As my go to Carpenter record recently, I play "Hush" more than any other. Karen's vocals are lovely and outstanding! I hate to go on and on about One More Time, but I will...JUST SUBLIME!!
    Jamesj75 and Mark-T like this.
  16. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    IMHO, One More Time is an underrated gem!
    Jamesj75 and Carpe diem like this.
  17. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    As I re-listen to the song Sandy, it occurs to me that it is only the "flute" solo/break
    that is a bit underwhelming to my ears.
    There are certain aspects to the song which I genuinely enjoy.
    Karen holds the breath of certain lyric to great effect.
    The background harmonies I very much enjoy.
    However, return of the flute concludes the song--again, too soft for my ears.
    Otherwise, I'm warming to it.
  18. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I like the music but never warmed to the lyrics - they are whimpy and trite: nothing like a Paul Williams song. It is a song that mimicked what the critics echoed. There are so many better original songs.
  19. Kaisu

    Kaisu Member

    I like Sandy... The melody sounds good and it has something to say, to me it isn't just another filler. The lyrics echo great loneliness although they are manipulative also. The "I" (or whatever you want to call it) in the song only tells what Sandy can do to him/her and how Sandy makes him/her feel better, so he/her can be like a child, and rely on Sandy. It's the same old theme in the Carpenters songs: relying to someone else to make you happy, otherwise your sad and lost and boohoo. That doesn't mean I don't like Carpenters songs though!
  20. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    It had not registered with me, until now, that Cubby O'brien is drumming on Sandy,
    whereas, I Have You and I Need To Be In Love (the other Carpenter/Bettis tunes on the album)
    both have Jim Gordon on the drums.
    Again, Sandy seems just a bit misplaced.
    Not bad, simply more lightweight.
  21. Hmmmm....there's something about Sandy...I thoroughly enjoy this album cut and is one of my favorites on the album; however, for the life of me, I can not pinpoint why. It's a pretty "lightweight" song and seems pretty thin and too "dialed-in" on the arrangement; but to me, it is an irresistible song. I think Karen's vocals are big key to the mystery; but then again, nothing "special" from her, either. So why do I like it so much? Anyone else have the same thoughts/feelings like this?
  22. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    What irritates me the most about the song - and I've seen this mentioned already - is the "oscillation" of they keyboard sound that permeates the entire song. It's worse listening through headphones. The sound vibrates back and forth between your left and right ears and what's worse is that it's not even in time with the rhythm of the song.
  23. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    I don't actually mind that. At least it's a bit different, something sorely lacking on the rest of this album.

    'Sandy' isn't a top drawer song by any means and the chorus is as sappy as it goes, but Karen's vocals on the two verses are just gorgeous, which is what saves it. It's far superior to 'I Have You' to my ears.
  24. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I actually rather enjoy the "modulation" (oscillation) in the keyboards in Sandy.
    In fact, the more I listen to the entire album (the songs in their sequence) and although
    the album is a far cry from either Horizon or Passage (the before and after, if you will)
    the album (so it seems to me) is not so bad.
    A tad too soft, definitely....
    but--as an album--is it bad ? Certainly not.
  25. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    You make an interesting point of A Kind of Hush sandwiched between 2 great albums. I always wondered why Made in America was so weak when so many great songs were recorded for it, yet not chosen. And, the ones that were chosen did not have the magic of the ones from the 70's, yet in later years we heard all the great songs that could have been in 1981. Karen was thin in 1980 but still looked pretty, but in 1981, those programs on you tube from that period, wearing the same clothes, but dreadfully thin. She then went to therapy, where Richard said more weight was lost? She complained to the doctor about not feeling well and was hospitalized. Then she was fed with medical inducement, yet afterwards she still fought to maintain that new weight. Everyone hoped for the best! Anorexia Nervosa has to be a horrible disease to have taken such a gifted and talented woman on top of the world down to the point described in Randy's book. Hearing all their beautiful songs in all their glory seems to make these songs more endearing knowing the cost at which they were given to us. I feel that there was a reason she could sing as was once described as youth with wisdom at such a young age and I am thankful that voice was captured and is still celebrated today. It has filled the years with great music for our music libraries!

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