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

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 5 6.6%
  • ****

    Votes: 19 25.0%
  • ***

    Votes: 41 53.9%
  • **

    Votes: 10 13.2%
  • *

    Votes: 1 1.3%

  • Total voters
    76

Another Son

Well-Known Member
I was still a pre-teen when 'A Kind of Hush' and 'I Need To Be In Love' were singles but was already a huge fan and was very aware of chart action, keeping up with the Top 40 each week and listening to the radio every day.

With a pre-teen sort of approach to music, I at first connected better at the time with the upbeat vibe of 'There's a Kind of Hush' than with the slower, adult-orientated 'I Need to Be In Love'.

I already had hits like 'For All We Know', 'Yesterday Once More', 'Goodbye to Love', 'It's Going to Take Some Time', 'Sing', 'Hurting Each Other', 'Top Of the World', 'I Won't Last a Day', 'Please Mr. Postman', 'Only Yesterday' and 'Solitaire' indelibly stamped on my mind by then and, on the first couple of listens, was a bit disappointed with 'I Need to Be In Love'. I didn't think it was catchy enough and thought it dragged. However, I soon got into the song as it climbed the American charts, was a bit disappointed in its low peak and by the time I bought the 'A Kind of Hush' album the following year, loved the recording.

From that time to this, 'I Need to Be In Love' has been one of Carpenters' songs that I think is unbeatable. Having said that, I do like the 'Bruce Forsyth Show' live version of the song. My opinion since adulthood has been that 'I Need To Be In Love' is in an entirely different class and realm from 'A Kind of Hush'.

By the way, even though 'Solitaire' was slower in tempo as well, it never occurred to me that it was too slow. I was immediately captivated and mesmerised by that song on first listen, with the chills and goosebumps, etc. That recording, for me, has always been magical, from first listen until now.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I keep going back to this album ! Once I get started, I am unable to stop.... certain folks are disappointed with the album for being too soft, too elevator, too muzak....call it what you will. But, I listen to a song like
I Can't Smile Without You (which "fits" perfectly on the HUSH album):
Barry's version, as we all know, was a top hit-single---he took a "sad" song and turned it around into a rousing anthem.
Where Carpenters' concluded their version with that 'whistle,' Barry brought it to the the start of the song.
Where Carpenters' had their usual background harmonies in the "right" places, Barry changed that.
Where Carpenters' had subtle piano and strings, Barry has an overbearing piano, clapping, and has altered the harmony segments.
Karen and Richard presented a subtle, sad and beautiful version. Barry presented a rousing, loud, almost happy song.
I find it painful to listen to Barry's version ( just my personal preference).
Watch Barry here:
and here:
 
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newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I listen to a song like I Can't Smile Without You (which "fits" perfectly on the HUSH album)
I can’t stand any version of this song. It’s got too much of a novelty feel to it for me to enjoy it, similar to The Rainbow Connection and Sing.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^One of the things that bugged me about
Rainbow Connection
--when it first came out on the As Time Goes By cd---
was its sequencing after the powerful song
California Dreamin'

That placement merely reinforced the weakness of the arrangement for
Rainbow Connection,
but...it did emphasize the evolution of Karen Carpenter's vocals, from 1967 to 1980.
So, I do not consider Rainbow Connection a novelty, I do not consider any of their songs as novelties---
simply different from each other: diversity.
As I have detailed elsewhere, the song Sing
is brilliant.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
So, if you really want a terrible version of
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, look no further than
The Partridge Family:
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
Yep. It was their last really good hit record. They actually had a couple of good albums and a few really nice radio friendly top 40 hits. I still have all my vinyl and CDs to listen to occasionally. I saw the Cowsills whom they were fashioned after last Saturday night. RIP David.
 

AM Matt

Well-Known Member
Partridge Family remake went to # 28 (Billboard Hot 100) in August of 1972 & # 30 on Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart. That song is on the 3rd season when Danny wants to win in the horse derby which is the episode "Nag, Nag, Nag" & the Partridges play at the carnival fair. There is a STEREO version on "Playlist: The Best Of The Partridge Family" appearing for the first time!! Also the song "I'm On The Road" (from 1970 "The Partridge Family Album") sounds MONO but if you hear it in headphones, it is STEREO. Matt Clark Sanford, MI
 

AM Matt

Well-Known Member
Speaking of The Cowsills, I downloaded on itunes their final album "On My Side" on London Records (went to exactly # 200 for 1 week on the Billboard Top 200 Album Charts) on May 8, 1971. The MONO 45 single "On My Side" (single edited 45 single ran 2:30 & went to # 108 in April of 1971) while the stereo album version ran 3:00 because of instrumental guitar playing near the end of the song!! It is a must have for Cowsills fans!! The Cowsills in 1971 broke up because of poor record sales. Reunited in 1999 for "Global". Bill & Barry have died as well as their mom Barbara who died in 1985. Matt Clark Sanford, MI
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Oops....had to bring this album up again !
The more I listen...the more I like the album....
The two "you" songs are simply beautiful to listen to,
"I Have You" is one of Richard and John's best compositions
and "You" remains a wonderful Randy Edelman song.
The Hush album is like a lullaby to my ears,
nothing wrong with lullabies.
Ultimately, I believe the album is underrated.
 

Jamesj75

Well-Known Member
Oops....had to bring this album up again !
The more I listen...the more I like the album....
The two "you" songs are simply beautiful to listen to,
"I Have You" is one of Richard and John's best compositions
and "You" remains a wonderful Randy Edelman song.
The Hush album is like a lullaby to my ears,
nothing wrong with lullabies.
Ultimately, I believe the album is underrated.
I am so glad that you, GaryAlan, have reignited the discussion of this wondrous, yet underappreciated, album. The "You" songs are particularly strong. I've always thought that, with "I Have You," we are blessed with Karen's self-harmony in the chorus. I remember being fascinated by early listenings of "Rainy Days and Mondays," wherein Karen sings, "Hanging Around," then a separate Karen vocal repeats the line, as though there are two Karen's. With "I Have You," we, in essence, have two Karen's, or Karen in two parts. Just an overabundance of blessings. And "You" was sitting there, beautifully, in 1976 on that, as you say "lullaby" album, imploring not only "inspiration," but also release as a single. Just gorgeous songs, both of them!
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
James, I will never understand the negativity toward this album.
While it is true that every song here is not single-worthy, and, true enough,
it is not as "deep" (in the basement vocally ) as Horizon, nor as cutting-edge as A Song For You
( "I Need To Be In Love" is certainly distinct from "Goodbye To Love") fact is: it's a nice ALBUM.
I think Richard's subsequent commentary (1994 and beyond) has colored expectations regarding the album.
He says he was not physically up to par, yet the 1976 TV-Special was full-steam ahead and he certainly looked fine there.
Richard says that A&M executives (the "A") subtly expressed misgivings about content.
I would love to ask Herb Alpert how he feels now about the album !
Goofus, for all the bashing it gets, is one of Richard's best re-imagined songs in their entire catalog. It's a great arrangement.
One More Time, is still a great vehicle for Karen's voice. An underrated gem.
Boat To Sail, another subtle listen, is another vehicle for Karen's nuances.
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do is, at least, a fun jaunt.
Every album can't be another "A Song For You" and every song can't be "hit" single-worthy material.
It is what it is, for its time, and I sorta enjoy this album on a rainy day.
Not earth-shattering, but, a pleasant way to pass 35 minutes.
 
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Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
I look at the album, A Kind of Hush much how I look at Olivia's 77' album Making A Good Thing Better. Neither are filled with mega hits and neither get a lot of attention or mention from most fans. Both contain a lot of slower type songs and most were just really great album cuts.

However both these album for me have tracks that really showcase the beauty of both Karen and Olivia's vocals in lesser known tracks.
Such as You, One More Time, I Need To Be In Love, I Have You and Making A Good Thing Better, You Won't See Me Cry, If Love Is Real, Slow Dancing.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
I was in my car the other day, needing to make a long drive. I took along Hush and Horizon. Both sounded excellent. Although Hush is softer with less edge and more background vocals, there is one cut that stood out to me: One More Time. I listened to it several times and I realized again what a gifted vocalist Karen was! She immersed herself into the story here, making it come alive. And I noticed her pronunciation on certain words really brought out the skill in her interpretation, particularly the "zh" sound in "Baton Rouge". Beyond lovely! Richard's arrangement is no less special. The subtle interplay of piano, strings, and the harp at the end of the song add to making it an instant classic.
 

Geographer

Well-Known Member
I was in my car the other day, needing to make a long drive. I took along Hush and Horizon. Both sounded excellent. Although Hush is softer with less edge and more background vocals, there is one cut that stood out to me: One More Time. I listened to it several times and I realized again what a gifted vocalist Karen was! She immersed herself into the story here, making it come alive. And I noticed her pronunciation on certain words really brought out the skill in her interpretation, particularly the "zh" sound in "Baton Rouge". Beyond lovely! Richard's arrangement is no less special. The subtle interplay of piano, strings, and the harp at the end of the song add to making it an instant classic.
Definitely, "One More Time" is the stand-out track on this one for me.
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
Nice to see 'One More Time' get so much praise. It was my instant favourite upon first listening to the album back in the early 1990s, but until the last few years it was one of those hidden gems that seemed to go under many fans' radar.

Karen was often at her most effective on the more simple and direct tracks, and this is a perfect case in point. For once, even the oboe doesn't feel out of place on this!
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
Seals & Croft - One More Time from '78.

I don't think it's nearly as effective as Carpenters version.
I agree - it isn't anywhere near as effective. This arrangement swamps the song. It's a song that really needs very little added to it as the meaning of the lyrics is much better conveyed directly without any distractions in the arrangement and production.

Richard must have picked up on this point too, as really it's the only track on A Kind of Hush that doesn't have the hazy and sleepy production typical of other songs on this album.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Seals & Croft - One More Time from '78.

I don't think it's nearly as effective as Carpenters version.
I gotta be honest. The only thing I like about Carpenters' version is Karen's lead. Dash's lead on the S&C version is thin and his voice does absolutely nothing for me. Karen's is far more nuanced and better in absolutely every way. The acapella intro on the S&C version is absolutely gorgeous and I'm surprised it's not getting any love. The arrangement on Carpenters' version is, like so much of that album, sleepy and uneventful. It's all very pleasant but it goes absolutely nowhere. It hits one emotional note and stays there. S&C's rises and falls and is far better in the arrangement department. S&C really did something with the song and Richard just kinda phoned Carpenters' version in - relying on Karen's voice to completely carry the day while doing very little with the tune as a whole. I've heard it a couple of time but it's nothing that sticks out to me. Glad you all enjoy it, though, and that's what matters.

Ed
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^I really get a kick out of reading various posts on this song, One More Time !
Ed, I found your post and opinion quite interesting ! I totally disagree with you, but that's okay !
I find the Seals & Croft version difficult to listen to and grates on my ears. Awful in every particular !
Still, you make some interesting observations between the two versions.
 
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