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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. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    It is true what Karen and Richard themselves said - that when they first broke with 'Close to You', hard rock was very popular. There was also quite a strong presence of blues-influenced music and soul at the time. You can see that it could be true that critics and factions of the public might have sort of resented them and groups like Bread for swinging things back around to a lighter sound. And with 'A Kind of Hush', their sound got lighter still, on the whole. It's a very light album, really.

    The other day, I was listening to the American Top 40 from around the time 'Close to You' hit number one. There was a lot of heavier rock in the charts at the time.

    I love a lot of the soul and harder-edged rock of the sixties and early 70s but I love the sound of The Carpenters, too. While I don't feel that 'A Kind of Hush' is anywhere near their finest hour, it does have a couple of stellar recordings on it, ('I Need to Be In Love' and 'One More Time'), and it's an album that I was very fond of when I was young.
  2. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I can certainly agree with your assessment. Critics kept trying to categorize them as Bubblegum and Sunshine, but they are outside that grouping. Some of their fans may have been fans of those groupings but their reflection touched on more serious venues. As Richard put it, they were just simply pop. As I see it, their music dabked in jazz and blues influences as well as classical features with a soft rock flair.
    Brian likes this.
  3. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I always think back to that year--1976--
    I recall the Single-45
    There's A Kind Of Hush sitting on the racks of the "hit bound" section at the store.
    Even then, I felt that the 45-Sleeve should have featured the duo's photograph--
    although, at my age then (14) I am not sure I knew they were siblings. Certainly I had
    no idea that Karen was a drummer and Richard a pianist.
    But, the point for me is that I loved that Single.
    But, also, I was not the demographic actually purchasing the records,
    or for whom dj's were spinning the song on the radio.
    Now, as an adult, I still love that single !
    But, again, I know now that it is technically a "remake."
    I still believe it is a very creative remake.
    Strangely enough, the intervening years have not diminished my opinion of the song,
    as I still get a kick out of listening to it.
    Jamesj75 and Chris Mills like this.
  4. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    From a business perspective, A&M Records would have wanted an album full of chart topping hits, but Richard had different thoughts. ' "You can be a pop star for a week, I'm gonna be a musician forever." ' (The Carpenters. The Untold Story. Ray Coleman. Page 225.) Explains a lot of how Richard approached the concept of producing an album.
  5. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    I’ve been thinking recently if “Sandy” might’ve been better had it been a Richard lead. It might’ve had more impact had a male been singing it as the lyrics seem to be about a guy pining for the love of a young girl.
    jaredjohnfisher likes this.
  6. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Well, I (for one) can not contemplate Richard doing Lead vocals on this song.
    It may not be a great pop song, but Karen's vocalization--her nuanced singing--
    can hardly be substituted with Richard's leads.
    Listen to the manner in which Karen holds her notes performing this song,
    I can not imagine Richard doing justice to the lead vocals.
    (Me, having just re-listened to the "Time" LP !).
  7. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I will say, the more hear
    One More Time,
    the better it becomes.
    Carpe diem likes this.
  8. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I like the song once it “gets going”, from the line “And all the images dance by...”. I agree with Richard that it’s much better suited to the CD format. It’s that quiet, I think the vinyl pops and crackles would get in the way.
  9. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Was this an upbeat duet? My guess is probably so.
  10. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Yes Gary! I listened to it again last night and I can't find one flaw in her vocals. Her delivery seems effortless, like she isn't really trying. The arrangement is perfect also (the strings coming in on that second stanza sends shivers down my spine). A glowing example how Richard can get it soooo right!!
  11. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    One of the finest moments on the whole album IMHO...
    Geographer and Mark-T like this.
  12. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

  13. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I've been (re) listening to one of my favorite songs: There's A kind of Hush.
    In doing so, I re-read the Liner Notes for the variant appearing on The Essential Collection:
    "Remixed in 1985, with some of the synthesizer parts removed."

    Now, in reading the Forum's Resource regarding the song, There's A Kind Of Hush,
    --as found on The Essential Collection--
    we read: "Original album mix with synth stabs at :50".

    So, I am a bit confused.
    The Essential Collection utilizes the 1985 remix, not the original album mix.
    Not to mention, "some synth parts removed." (which is also not the original album mix).

  14. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    One of the main reasons we wanted to DO the Resource was to get things correct. There is much misinformation out there, and this is not a unique case of liner notes being wrong. The facts are that:
    • "There's A Kind Of Hush" as originally on its album had two short synth stabs at around :50
    • Richard remixed it in 85 and removed those synth stabs (original A&M CD has them removed, but not the Remastered Classics disc
    • When placed on ESSENTIAL COLLECTION, they used the original mix with the synth stabs, but the liner notes are misleading at best, saying that it was remixed in 1985.
    I suppose you could give the liner notes the benefit of the doubt by equivocating that it doesn't say specifically that the remix is actually *found* on ESSENTIAL COLLECTION, although the convention has always been that if mentioned in liner notes, it's likely present on the disc.

    So what you hear on ESSENTIAL COLLECTION is the original album mix.
    GaryAlan likes this.
  15. adam

    adam Active Member

    A Kind Of Hush..chart facts.

    New Zealand.15
  16. John Adam

    John Adam leis around my neck


    Certainly not a favorite R&K album, but the cover is pretty and the music is beautiful, and Karen sounds nice! Does it sound like I'm bored? Maybe a bit. Despite being my least played Carpenters album, it does contain one of my all time favorite singles, "I Need To Be In Love." Worth the price of the album alone. I've always liked "There's A Kind Of Hush," not hearing the original until way after I heard the Carpenters version. I think that might be my favorite "remake" single of theirs (and Postman!) The other songs are OK, but "Goofus and Breaking Up" might be two of the worst tracks they ever committed to tape. How about the outtakes? Richard was not at the top of his game on this one, and that's OK, at least he tried! Better album next time..........
    Geographer likes this.
  17. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I delight in re-reading the threads, as I do this one.
    Now, to my point--or, rather a reiteration of my viewpoint:
    Goofus is a great album cut !!
    No--it is not a Single "hit"...and, probably should not have been released as a single.
    But--the arrangement is fantastic...the background harmonies are great...
    and, Karen sings the song with finesse.
    A fine piece of work.

    Here is Guy Lombardo:
  18. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I would love to know who made the decision to release Goofus as a single, how it ended up being supported by the label and, more to the point, what state of mind Richard and Karen must have been in to think it was a good idea. It brings me back to the comment in the Coleman book, when discussing the plan for Karen to go solo, that "nothing else was working". It can only have been released out of sheer desperation.
  19. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    According to one of the fan club letters, supposedly they received a lot of letters from fans requesting 'Goofus' as a single. I don't know if I believe that or not - this supposed demand for it wasn't backed up by people actually buying the single and I'd say it's the last track on the album I'd have chosen (not that it was overflowing with single options in any case).

    I suspect they may have thought it had a chance as a 'curveball' option, rather like 'Sing', although they obviously overlooked the fact that unlike the situation when 'Sing' was released as a single, they weren't in a sufficently strong position commerically to pull off a hugely risky single like 'Goofus'.
  20. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    In one way I think releasing this as a single sounded the death knell on their career and began their slide into career decline. They’d just about scraped through with the Hush album, which received mostly lukewarm reviews from many reviewers. But this was a step too far in the wrong direction. After this, they never regained the heights of their earlier successes. I think Touch Me When We’re Dancing only tepidly reintroduced them to the charts because it was so long since their last activity that it probably garnered some interest due to the curiosity factor.
    Jarred and John Adam like this.
  21. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^I respectfully disagree.
    The career was quickly declining prior to June 1976--release date of Goofus.
    Unfortunately, from all I am able to gather--the 1975 'Sedaka incident' really affected the career.
    And, that episode had nothing to do with releasing a poor-single-choice.
    (Of course, disco and punk did not help matters--don't forget Capt&Tenn on the rise, also !)
    I still believe that no matter what had been released--at that juncture--
    it would have made no difference to the career.
    Listen to the creativity behind Goofus--
    as an entire song--not, as a 'hit single worthy release' !
  22. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    What hard evidence is there of their decline being linked to the Sedaka incident? I’m not aware of any. Goofus is the track that ruined their unbroken string of top 40 hits in the US.

    I’ve tried, believe me, and it’s still a :thumbsdn: from me :laugh:
  23. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Google used to have a "Newspaper" search form,
    wherein they had scanned Newspapers going back to the 1970s (at least).
    Unfortunately, Google disbanded that effort years ago.
    So, those scans of local newspapers are no longer available.
    Be that as it may--I did do an exhaustive search (when it was available)
    of Newspaper articles from that era (1975-1976).
    I can ascertain--even though you can not see those scans on Google now--
    that there was a huge backlash due to the Sedaka episode.
    There followed a definite career decline.
    True, that documentation is hard to locate (now), yet, I assure you,
    the evidence I have seen !
    I have to stand by my comment: Goofus release did not precipitate the career decline.
  24. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I don’t disbelieve you GaryAlan, and you’re one of our most well researched members of this forum, but this is the first I’ve ever heard that the Sedaka incident precipitated their career decline. There were so many other factors at play at the time, such as Karen’s health in 1975, the cancelled UK and Japanese tours, the drop in quality of the album material chosen by Richard in 1976 (of which Goofus is a case in point), the fact they were both worn out by this stage...the list goes on. I don’t think it’s possible to pinpoint that one small episode as the key factor in the career slide. Were these articles written perhaps for smaller, regional publications that would not necessarily have reached the mainstream but may have been enough in numbers to make it seem as though their effect could have been wide ranging? Because as far as I’m aware, the incident happened, Sedaka milked it for a brief period and then it was all over and done with. The duo even went on to record one of Neil’s songs for the 1976 album so the acrimony was short lived. Richard himself has also never referred to that incident in interviews as the key reason their career stalled (even when the subject matter was directly raised in the 2007 BBC documentary Only Yesterday).
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
    GaryAlan likes this.

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