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

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 5 7.0%
  • ****

    Votes: 17 23.9%
  • ***

    Votes: 40 56.3%
  • **

    Votes: 8 11.3%
  • *

    Votes: 1 1.4%

  • Total voters
    71

GDB2LV

Active Member
I like the backing vocals better than the lead. Interesting to hear other artists recordings of songs they made.
Thx.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
One of the highlights of being a member of this Forum is how it opens my ears, eyes and mind,
to the Carpenters' recordings. For instance, I believe that I have listened to the entire
Kind of Hush album more this week than I have in years past.
In fact, when I do listen to Karen and Richard , these days, I listen to ENTIRE albums,
all in one sitting. And, I do so with autonomy--that is, I try to ignore what came before and what came after.
If all I did was compare Hush to Horizon, I would miss much of what is meaningful on the 1976 venture.
If all I did was compare Passage to Hush, I would --again--miss the positives for the 1976 venture.
But, taking Hush LP for what it is, time-period in which it was recorded, circumstances surrounding the recording,
the changes taking place in the duo's career and lives....
I have to re-assess the entirety, and say it is a pleasant listen.
The diamonds are there (One More Time), diversity is there (Goofus),
and, I am growing more fond of Sandy. Then again,
I am growing more fond of Man Smart, Woman Smarter...but, that's another album.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
Here is something I had not read before (or, recalled):
Billboard Magazine May 6,1978, on the
Seals and Croft album Takin' It Easy, regarding
One More Time: "...three members of the Carpenters' band do background vocals
and a pretty MOR arrangement of One More Time,"
Someone was asking me what I thought of the Hush album, and I brought up this very point. :)
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
On Hush LP , I like Can't Smile Without You. I especially like the duo's alternative version.
I recall NOT liking Manilow's release as much, and it became a well-known hit of 1978.
Even more interesting, Wham was sued mid-80's for lifting/ripping the melody for their song
Last Christmas (settled out-of-court).

So, let's face it:
The song is a hit.
The Carpenters' were not wrong about the song.
Another positive spin for LP
Kind of Hush !
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
Manilow's release as much, and it became a well-known hit of 1978.
Even more interesting, Wham was sued mid-80's for lifting/ripping the melody for their song
Last Christmas (settled out-of-court).
Wow I never knew this. But it's really a stretch - so many melodies can sound vaguely alike (how can they not with so many songs?) and this wasn't even close to lifting to my ears.
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
On Hush LP , I like Can't Smile Without You. I especially like the duo's alternative version.
I recall NOT liking Manilow's release as much, and it became a well-known hit of 1978.
Even more interesting, Wham was sued mid-80's for lifting/ripping the melody for their song
Last Christmas (settled out-of-court).

So, let's face it:
The song is a hit.
The Carpenters' were not wrong about the song.
Another positive spin for LP
Kind of Hush !
Never knew about the 'Last Christmas' litigation. I can see a very vague resemblance but it doesn't sound like a clear case of plagiariam like 'My Sweet Lord' was borrowing from 'He's So Fine'.

They weren't wrong about 'Can't Smile Without You' but the version on the album is a bit flat-sounding, so in that sense they didn't get it right first time on this one. Had the improved revised version from the 'Calling Occupants' single featured on the album, it might have been a more credible contender for a single, and thus have improved the album as well.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
"I Can't Smile Without You"
I had to re-listen to Manilow's version. I must say, I find his version most unimpressive.
In fact, perusing Billboard Magazine I was surprised to find how popular his song was !
I won't deny Carpenters' original LP version is not as impressive as their 'improved' version,
but, for all the 'talk' about how Richard Carpenter (apparently) failed to find 'hit material'
in the later part of their career--well, this song shows that Richard was still able to discern
an excellent song.
Allowing for its apparent faults, I still believe the ALBUM,
A Kind of Hush....is much better than it is generally given credit for.
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
I listen to "Hush" more than to "A Song For You" or "Horizon". So many little gems on it. I'm having great appreciation lately for the song You. Exquisite Karen vocal, but the goosebump producing moments on that track come from the excellent background harmonies...
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
Interesting that you've used the name EVERGREENS in several recent posts. As I recall, that Japanese compilation was rumored forever to be coming and it was to be called EVERGREENS, but when it finally got close to reality, it was changed to BY REQUEST.

carpbyrequest.jpg
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
Good memory! Yes, it was a fellow named Bennett Turk who was a member of Ran's old board. If my memory serves, he was from the Philippines or some other Pacific Rim area.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
The name Evergreens comes from the fact that evergreen trees are green year around. In northern climes, the sight of green on the trees is a sort of promise of spring. In terms of music, an evergreen is a song that holds its popularity forever.
 

GDB2LV

Active Member
I forgot they changed the name closer to release date. It was originally going to be called Evergreens. It got delayed for a long time before being released in Japan. The Paul Williams one is called Evergreens though.
Thanks for the info and correction.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
There are two songs on this album, I call them the "YOU" songs: I Have You and You.
To my point: they are fantastic songs ! Karen's leads are fantastic !
You: Piano intro (and, throughout), the break, strings finishing.
I Have You: String intro (and, throughout), no break, Karen's doubling near the end, finishing with Karen's lone vocal.

There is much which recommends this ALBUM.
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
There are two songs on this album, I call them the "YOU" songs: I Have You and You.
To my point: they are fantastic songs ! Karen's leads are fantastic !
You: Piano intro (and, throughout), the break, strings finishing.
I Have You: String intro (and, throughout), no break, Karen's doubling near the end, finishing with Karen's lone vocal.

There is much which recommends this ALBUM.
than #
'You' is actually quite a pretty song and is one that several non-fans have highlighted after hearing the album. It doesn't sound like a big hit to me, but it is perhaps slightly less MOR than 'I Need to Be in Love' and might have fared slightly better with radio had it been a single.

I've never cared for 'I Have You' though - an unremarkable song and a fairly pedestrian performance. A good case study of what was wrong with much of the tracklisting on A Kind of Hush.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
an unremarkable song and a fairly pedestrian performance. A good case study of what was wrong with much of the tracklisting on A Kind of Hush.
The same could be said for much of the album, which as you say is part of the problem.
 

Toolman

Simple Man, Simple Dream
At the least, it needed more variety. I've plucked songs from AKOH and put them on mix CDs and been a little surprised at how much more I like them in a different context ("Boat to Sail" and "One More Time" being the best examples). But when you've got one soft, mid-tempo ballad after another after another, a sort of monotony sets in that has little to do with the quality of the individual performances.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
The album is perfectly titled:
A Kind Of Hush....let's face it, that sets the tone for the entire concept.
We look at the song-set: arguably, three of the songs are upbeat (Hush, Goofus, Breaking Up).
So, that leaves slower ballads, 70 % of the album. Of those, three refer to a lover/companion: You, Sandy, I Have You (beautiful strings, harp).
Of the remaining songs, I Need To Be In Love is a song of lost hope, despair.
Then we have: One More Time (beautifully introspective) and Boat To Sail ("to free me" , great guitar work and nice piano finish).
Finally, Can't Smile Without You, a fine ballad.

So, I have to strongly disagree with the consensus so far,
this is a fine album. Certainly it is not monotonous.
 

Jamesj75

Well-Known Member
So, I have to strongly disagree with the consensus so far,
this is a fine album. Certainly it is not monotonous.
Thanks for fighting the good fight, GaryAlan! I appreciate your analysis of the 70/30 composition of ballads versus up-tempo tunes. That's pretty standard for Carpenters' studio albums, isn't it? In fact, 80/20 is certainly in their wheelhouse (arguably Horizon, Made in America). And I also appreciate your treatise of "hush" being a "concept" --- I never thought of it in those terms.

As you know, I am certainly on board with your perspective. I feel I have defended the title song and the album as a whole for my entire tenure here, and, frankly, it's getting tiresome... I do understand that fans can differ on their favorites (and least favorites): "to each his own," as they say. I just wanted to offer you some backup.
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
The album is perfectly titled:
A Kind Of Hush....let's face it, that sets the tone for the entire concept.
We look at the song-set: arguably, three of the songs are upbeat (Hush, Goofus, Breaking Up).
So, that leaves slower ballads, 70 % of the album. Of those, three refer to a lover/companion: You, Sandy, I Have You (beautiful strings, harp).
Of the remaining songs, I Need To Be In Love is a song of lost hope, despair.
Then we have: One More Time (beautifully introspective) and Boat To Sail ("to free me" , great guitar work and nice piano finish).
Finally, Can't Smile Without You, a fine ballad.

So, I have to strongly disagree with the consensus so far,
this is a fine album. Certainly it is not monotonous.
I'd have to disagree with you there. I wouldn't call it monotonous, but the overall feel of the album is too samey. The three mildly upbeat oldies are all quite similar-sounding in style, while the majority of the other tracks (with the exception of 'One More Time') are all very soft-focus and fuzzy in their style. This is as much down to the production as the songs themselves (both factors are at fault here), but overall there's a near-complete lack of dynamism across the board.

And I'd agree with Toolman that this means that a couple of stronger tracks like 'One More Time' and 'Boat to Sail' get rather lost in the mix, whereas their strengths might well have been more obvious in a different setting.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^Appreciate your commentary !
In the end I suppose it boils down to subjectivity:
When I listen to this album--all the way through, at one sitting, songs sequentially--I thoroughly enjoy the listening experience.
It is a "hush" to my ears (hush syn: quiet, calm).I stand by my description that this is a "concept" album, of sorts.
I have always contended that the title song, There's A Kind of Hush, is a great production of an oldie (same for Goofus)
it does not matter that it is a cover, it is produced and performed very well.
But, again....subjectively, I enjoy listening to the album,
in one sitting, sequentially, in its entirety.
 
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CraigGA

Well-Known Member
If You and Can’t Smile had better arrangements and the soft version of Breaking Up was recorded it would have helped greatly. Goofus is a perfect album song and One More Time and Boat To Sail are my favorites. I Need To Be In Love needs a bridge.
 
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