• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are now available. The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy can be ordered here. A big thanks to the authors and Richard Carpenter for their tremendous effort in compiling this book! Also, the new solo piano album Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is available for ordering here.

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

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 6 7.1%
  • ****

    Votes: 19 22.6%
  • ***

    Votes: 46 54.8%
  • **

    Votes: 12 14.3%
  • *

    Votes: 1 1.2%

  • Total voters
    84

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
Music Week UK
Jun 26, 1976

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Another Son

Well-Known Member
It is clear that Richard used Lenny Welch's earlier version of 'Breaking Up is Hard to Do' for inspiration when he re-arranged the song for Neil Sedaka's 1975 single release. Listen to Lenny's version from 1969 and Neil's version, arranged by Richard, (below).


 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
It is clear that Richard used Lenny Welch's earlier version of 'Breaking Up is Hard to Do' for inspiration when he re-arranged the song for Neil Sedaka's 1975 single release.

Inspiration? It’s pretty much a carbon copy. Richard once said he didn’t complete their 1978 take on Thank You For The Music because he doesn’t copy others. Hmm...



 
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Another Son

Well-Known Member
Inspiration? It’s pretty much a carbon copy. Richard once said he didn’t complete their 1978 take on Thank You For The Music because he doesn’t copy others. Hmm...




Hi, Newvillefan. Thanks for responding.

I think that Richard's arrangement for the slow version of Neil Sedaka's 'Breaking Up is Hard to Do' is quite different from Lenny Welch's version. Yes, both versions have the same tempo and they have the same vocal introduction, but, from thereon, Richard's arrangement is original. The piano part is quite different, there's very different use of guitar, the orchestral parts are different and, whereas Lenny Welch's version transforms through a number of styles, including almost a 'swing' section, an almost soulful section and a heavier section where the drums and the background vocals pick up, Richard's arrangement remains firmly in what I would call the '50s lounge music' genre. (Forgive my lazy naming of the particular musical styles).
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
I always thought Richard just did the string arrangement only on the ballad version of ‘Breaking Up Is Hard To Do’ for Sedaka.

As for ‘Slow Dance’, that sounds just like the original. Richard gets a pass during that period due to his incapacitated state, which probably explains the sameness to his arrangements of songs he and Karen found elsewhere.
 

ars nova

Well-Known Member
I always thought Richard just did the string arrangement only on the ballad version of ‘Breaking Up Is Hard To Do’ for Sedaka.

As for ‘Slow Dance’, that sounds just like the original. Richard gets a pass during that period due to his incapacitated state, which probably explains the sameness to his arrangements of songs he and Karen found elsewhere.
my memory is the same. i had the sedaka album, and i am sure richard is only credit with strings. i thought that was odd, because an instrumental riff at the close of the song is straight out of the carpenters handbook.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
As usual, I am forever "re-evaluating" Carpenters' recordings.
One song I listened to last night was "I Have You."
This song, in my opinion, is absolutely gorgeous !
The song itself is mature and sophisticated. The string arrangement is heavenly.
I suppose one could argue that it falls outside of the "pop" genre, being a bit too soft,
but, it is still beautiful.
 

LondonRobert

Well-Known Member
Listened to this album just now.
Isn't at the top of my choice when picking one of their albums, but I think I will play it more often.
Boat to sail, one more time, you - beautiful songs and stunning vocals.
Changed my mind about the album...
Why is it these days i buy an album and listen to it 3 or 4 times but with Carpenters it's nearly every day.....
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Hi all,

What is the best-sounding CD release of A Kind of Hush? I was just giving it another listen last night, and I noticed that there's what sounds to me like a mid/bass problem on many of the tracks. I was listening to what I think is the late-1990s CD release. The only way I can really explain it is that, at numerous points on the album, it sounds like the bass speaker is blown out (listen to ~0:13 on "There's a Kind of Hush" -- the later mixes I know of don't have these artifacts).

Thank you,
Cuyler
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
As for the artwork, I really don't know. The front always makes me cringe a bit. I don't have the LP or the CD so I don't know what the inner album looks like. With the whole steamy window thing, I can never help but think of that comment made during an interview about the way the Carpenters were marketed. I think was actually John Bettis, who said something along the lines of "What are they, brother and sister or husband and wife?". The cover of AKOH really makes it hard to tell.
Your comment kind of makes me laugh particularly because the comment "steamy window" reminds me of Pablo Cruise's 1976 album Lifeline, where the band members were all shirtless and wet posing together. The fact that these two albums are from the same year is not lost on me.

I think A Kind of Hush was the Carpenters' stab at yacht rock ("Boat to Sail" is quintessential), which is amazing since "yacht rock" wasn't a term that existed prior to the 21st century. But the Carpenters picked up on it just as "yacht rock" was beginning to become a thing, as the musical geniuses they were. (On a personal note, the album is a bit too slow-fast; that is, the upbeat songs like "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" is still slow, even though yes, I know that Neil Sedaka's original "fast" version is even slower than the Carpenters' version.)

I personally quite like the album artwork for A Kind of Hush. I believe that the cover photo was taken by Ed Caraeff (just like Horizon), and the font usage is very consistent (there's a consistent aesthetic throughout the packaging). I believe this album and Passage also had customized labels in the center of the records too. Prior to that, A&M just gave the Carpenters the generic A&M template on the label itself (I'm referring to the part of the actual record where the spindle hole is cut out and has the track listing).
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
A KIND OF HUSH has always been a bit problematic sonically. I recall getting two promo copies from the radio station I worked for - and both of them had a bump in the vinyl on the first track. It may not have been that way for everyone, but both of mine had that problem.

Then the A&M CD came out in the 80s. That CD featured a remix on "A Kind Of Hush", a single edit remix on "I Need To Be In Love", a sped-up version of "You", and some missing cymbal hits on "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do".

When the remastered CDs arrived, A KIND OF HUSH was restored to its LP versions, but the title track has that distortion you speak of, but at least the rest of he album was the way it was supposed to be. It's still no sonic masterpiece though, in direct contrast to its predecessor, HORIZON. I always thought it had a bit of a gritty or muddy sound throughout.

The packaging though was top-notch, from the inside of the jacket with the reprinted white on yellow "CᴬᴿᴾᴱᴺᵀᴱᴿS" logo, to the front and back covers being near mirror images, to the special labels designed just for the album.

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Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
A KIND OF HUSH has always been a bit problematic sonically. I recall getting two promo copies from the radio station I worked for - and both of them had a bump in the vinyl on the first track. It may not have been that way for everyone, but both of mine had that problem.

Then the A&M CD came out in the 80s. That CD featured a remix on "A Kind Of Hush", a single edit remix on "I Need To Be In Love", a sped-up version of "You", and some missing cymbal hits on "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do".

When the remastered CDs arrived, A KIND OF HUSH was restored to its LP versions, but the title track has that distortion you speak of, but at least the rest of he album was the way it was supposed to be. It's still no sonic masterpiece though, in direct contrast to its predecessor, HORIZON. I always thought it had a bit of a gritty or muddy sound throughout.

The packaging though was top-notch, from the inside of the jacket with the reprinted white on yellow "CᴬᴿᴾᴱᴺᵀᴱᴿS" logo, to the front and back covers being near mirror images, to the special labels designed just for the album.

View attachment 6597
My sentiments exactly! @Chris May, do you know if A Kind of Hush was similarly recorded on 30 ips tape? Or did the Carpenters revert back to 15 ips tape for this album? In some ways, it feels to me like the Carpenters took a gigantic leap forward in sound from Now & Then to Horizon, then a couple steps back from Horizon to A Kind of Hush, then another few steps forward for Passage.
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
My sentiments exactly! @Chris May, do you know if A Kind of Hush was similarly recorded on 30 ips tape? Or did the Carpenters revert back to 15 ips tape for this album? In some ways, it feels to me like the Carpenters took a gigantic leap forward in sound from Now & Then to Horizon, then a couple steps back from Horizon to A Kind of Hush, then another few steps forward for Passage.

A Kind of Hush was recorded on 24-track, 2" tape at 30 ips.

As far as the dynamic range issue you point out with regard to the mixes, I write about this in the discography section of the book Mike Cidoni Lennox and I wrote, which will be released in October! :wink:
 

GDBY2LV

Well-Known Member
I own that promo package too. It’s a nice set. They overused the pictures through the next few years, and after Karen passed though. There’s a similar one for Horizon.
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
Carpenters A Kind Of Hush 1976 Press Kit
I've not seen this before, interesting how they used outtake photos for the cover art.

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Thanks for posting this. Nice set.

Every single one of those photos from the photo session for the image on the album's inner sleeve is better than the photo that was used on the released album - clearly A&M's art department was once again on a mission to compromise the final product!
 

Jorge

Well-Known Member
It is clear that Richard used Lenny Welch's earlier version of 'Breaking Up is Hard to Do' for inspiration when he re-arranged the song for Neil Sedaka's 1975 single release. Listen to Lenny's version from 1969 and Neil's version, arranged by Richard, (below).


I like Gloria Estefan's version of this song. Carpenter's version would have been way better with her arrangement.
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
I like Gloria Estefan's version of this song. Carpenter's version would have been way better with her arrangement.

I have to admit, I didn't realise Richard's 1975 arrangement for Neil Sedaka was based on the earlier Lenny Welch version.

Gloria's version is very nice - also based on the Lenny Welch arrangement, but with even more of a 'jazz bar' feel. Apparently it was a song she was often requested by audiences to perform when she first joined Miami Sound Machine in the mid-1970s.

Oh, to have heard Karen sing this arrangement rather than the redundant uptempo version that ended up on A Kind a Hush!
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Per a discussion on the Horizon thread, sharing this "tinker."


"One More Time," slowed down by quarter of a semitone (-0.719%) from the AM+ DIDX disc.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Here is the fast version of "You" from the AM+ DIDX disc slowed down by half a semitone (-1.434%). The original version hovered somewhere between D major and D# major (Eb major). Slowed down, it returns to D major.

 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
I have a feeling that some of the tape machines ran a hair too fast. I’m finding that many of the songs on the 30 ips discs run about 0.6% to 0.7% faster than standard pitch. That translates to about a quarter of a semitone, which is not substantial, but it’s enough to change the mood of a song.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
"Boat to Sail" slowed down by a quarter of a semitone (-0.719%):


Reflecting upon other people's comments, I am wondering if someone (I don't know who) decided to speed up tracks from this album and Horizon because the natural or actual pace of the songs was perceived as "too sleepy," so they sped up the beat enough to make it sound "less sleepy" but not so much that a pitch change was noticeable to the average listener.
 
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