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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. byline

    byline Active Member

    Definitely agree with what you and others have written; this paragraph, in particular, jumped out at me because I, too, felt when looking at that photo that something was clearly wrong. And I had some inkling. I had read the short "Random Notes" blurb in Rolling Stone about Karen's health issues and weight loss (I believe that's the first time I read the term, "nervous exhaustion"). But it was all so vague that I didn't realize she had an eating disorder. (Strange, too, because a couple of years later I would march in a drum corps color guard with a young woman who had anorexia nervosa, which then prompted me to write a paper about it for a university nutrition class.) Anyway, the irony of all this is that there were much better photos from that session which could have been used for the album cover artwork. The photo of Karen playing with a kitten with Richard looking on, the photo that was used for for the "Interpretations" cover (still with the forced smiles, but they're not looking directly at the camera, so that minimizes the "cheesy" effect). Yet the photos that were chosen were the ones that hinted at darker things going on behind the scenes.

    For me, the only song that stands out on this album is "One More Time" ... and it is one of my favorite songs ever, so it saves the album for me. But I no longer have the album in my collection because "One More Time" appears in the 40/40 collection. In retrospect, A Kind of Hush suffered the same career blip that all artists go through, but at the time this felt to me like a real downward slide in momentum, and it was ... but for reasons I had no inkling of. The sad thing is that because of what Karen and Richard were going through behind the scenes (and also because of the fickle tastes of the pop music public), they were never able to fully rebound, and the blip became more significant.
  2. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Once more, for my appraisal, I transport myself back to 1976 when I first listened to AKOH.
    First thing that struck me was the dramatic difference vocally between it and the Horizon LP.
    The inner sleeve photo was particularly distressing, Karen just did not look well.
    Karen, as I now know, had been ill, but back then I knew nothing of it.
    I did enjoy Hush, You, I Need to be in Love, I have You, and even Goofus!
    I could not get the local radio station to play INTBIL , and they were an MOR Format.
    No one I am aware of, at the time , would even admit to listening to them!
    But, again, it's not a bad album..just lacks energy, and pales in comparison to previous efforts by the duo.
    The music critic who said it's "..an overdose of pretty.." was wrong,
    you can't have too much of K&R.
    Must Hear This Album likes this.
  3. Patrick34

    Patrick34 New Member

    TAKOH had been one of rare the songs I could record (from France) on my cassette recorder, so I listened to this hit hundreds times. It was the hit. I still like much that version of the Herman Hermit's title. Some months later I found the album in a rack and purchase it, in 1976. It was the second LP I got, after The Singles 1969-1973.

    The songs I love more from this album are You (great love song), One More Time (which makes me want to know Baton-Rouge...), Boat To Sail (pretty jazzy). ININTBIL is a superb Richard's melody, could have been a standard.

    But I agree with GaryAlan, listening to this album I also found a vocal difference compared with Horizon, as if something had turned bad for Karen.
  4. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I took another listen to the Hush album, today.
    Well, first, I note that my USA pressing leaves the piano intro off of I Need To Be In Love, which leaves an asymmetry in the song, as
    the very end of this song finishes with piano. This is an earlier 'audio master plus' cd, so I was surprised that I missed that on earlier playbacks.
    I Need To Be In Love is a terrific vehicle for Karen, I wish America had propelled it to top 10 on the charts.
    Next, One More Time, has the most barren arrangement of any tune on this album, but Karen's vocals shine here. Beautifully done.
    The Sedaka tune I can really do without, though the other, jazzier arrangement might have fared better for the LP.
    You and I have You, are quite nice, and nicely arranged, in different ways.
    And, of course, there's the divisive Goofus, Well, I'm perhaps in the minority, because I really like this.
    and Boat to Sail are alright, but unfulfiling to my ears.
    Can't Smile Without You
    needs some pizzazz, but, is alright.
  5. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I guess you could say by looking at my Avatar that I love the series of photographs done for this album. Even the photo inside the sleeve. By any chance, does anyone have a large pixel image of my avatar? If so, I'd love to get it.
  6. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Here is a nice Hush picture taken from the songbook Carpenters Complete Volume 1
  7. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

  8. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    An interesting tidbit:
    I believe the song You from Hush LP has somewhat of mythical status in the Philippines.
    There are various YouTube videos prominently featuring the tune from tributes in the Philippines.
  9. jaysee

    jaysee New Member


    Don't know if this is an improvement for you, but this is the largest (483 x 787) I have:

  10. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    YES! Thank you!
  11. Someday

    Someday Active Member

    I always liked the inner sleeve. Not sure that Karen looks ill, just "wistful". And RC looks great in his safari suit :tongue:
    Must Hear This Album likes this.
  12. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I listened to this album again today- as the first of three Carpenters disc. It was followed by Voice of the Heart, then Made in America. As much as I love the disc (Boat to Sail, One More Time, Hush and I Need to Be in Love), its as soft as the photography (which I love -see my avatar). Voice holds up much better, and MIA seems like it could be part of a two disc album with this one. I only wish INTBIL had the bite of Rainy Days and Mondays. Could have been incredible and unforgettable.
  13. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    Why did I HAVE YOU garner the flip side of 2 singles? I used to like the flip side of a 45 to have a sneak peak at the forthcoming works or at least a stellar album track. This lil gizmo was neither.

    Must Hear This Album likes this.
  14. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    I agree, Jeff. 'I Have You' has always kind of bored me. A sleepy track from a sleepy album. I'm guessing it was used as a B-side twice because Richard and John Bettis could score on the royalties. Who knows?
  15. ullalume

    ullalume Well-Known Member

    That's what I'm thinking. Of the 32 singles released up to Voice of the Heart (according to Randy Schmidt's Book) 21 featured B-sides composed by himself, Bettis, or band members. Good on him, I'd do the same, most likely.

    Regarding "I Have You", I actually really like it.
    A&M Retro likes this.
  16. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Richard often used the trick of putting a Carpenter/Bettis song on the single B-sides, so they would enjoy the royalties too . There are loads of examples as Neil mentioned above:

    Ticket To Ride / Your Wonderful Parade
    We've Only Just Begun / All Of My Life
    For All We Know / Don't Be Afraid
    Goodbye To Love / Crystal Lullaby (both Carpenter compositions!)
    I Won't Last A Day Without You / One Love
    There's A Kind Of Hush / (I'm Caught Between) Goodbye And I Love You
    I Need To Be In Love / Sandy (both again!)
    All You Get From Love Is A Love Song / I Have You
    Touch Me When We're Dancing/Because We Are In Love
    Make Believe It's Your First Time / Look To Your Dreams
  17. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I like the song too- and I love the photo sessions...
  18. arthowson

    arthowson Active Member

    if I had to choose only one pic, it would be the Lovelines album cover. Love that photo session
    Must Hear This Album likes this.
  19. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I hadn't noticed before, but did today, that the Japanese vinyl of this LP has the entire opening/intro to
    I Need To Be In Love, whereas my US Pressing of the Hush album does not.
    I'm always finding these little differences on the Japanese Vinyl.
    Quite interesting.
  20. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Whoa. You have a US vinyl pressing that's missing the opening? Or do you mean the older A&M CD pressing from the US?

  21. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Okay, am I getting old, or what!
    Thanks for catching that slip-up, Harry!
    Indeed, it's the older A&M CD without the piano introduction!
    I am now getting to the point where all the variations on differing formats are merging into one another.
    So, thanks for keeping me on my toes!
    aaflyer98 likes this.
  22. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    I was hoping something hadn't slipped by me!

    That's why we created the "Resource". I like it because it remembers things I've forgotten!

    aaflyer98 likes this.
  23. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Took this album for a 'spin' early this morning, as I do not listen to it as often as I should.
    I am struck by the beauty of the song "I Have You".
    Not only a Carpenter/Bettis track, but Karen's vocals melt all over this song,
    with a lush arrangement and heartfelt lyrics.
    One of the best of the album.
    Again, Jim Gordon (on drums) is terrific, and Gayle Levant on Harp.
  24. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Just a little technical note on Carpenters recording of "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do." I was playing around with the "missing" cymbal hits and found that they are still there, just greatly reduced in volume. If one uses something like Audacity and isolates just those two cymbal hits in the left channel and then amplify the volume, they return to where they've always been.

    It's hard to tell just what Richard's view is on this "edit". Obviously at one point in his life, he wanted it gone, and at another point he allowed it back in. The two early cymbal hits are missing on the original LP pressings, stay missing on the early A&M GOLD SERIES discs, then they appear on the Remastered Classics and JAPANESE BOX SET. But those two instances are both supposedly a return to what was - Remastered Classics supposedly recreating exactly what happened on the LP, and the JAPANESE set supposedly recreating what existed on the Japanese single. The song wasn't on a US single, so it's hard to get a read on what Richard's most recent view is on the song - other than he must hate it altogether, as it never appears on compilations.

  25. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Audacity lets you separate out instruments and vocals? Interesting. Maybe someone could delete all the choir work on the VOTH tracks.
    A&M Retro likes this.

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