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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. ****

    10 vote(s)
  3. ***

    34 vote(s)
  4. **

    7 vote(s)
  5. *

    1 vote(s)
  1. george_b

    george_b Member

    The creativity within "Goofus" goes back to 1931. It has been released by various artists over the years. Have you used this site before, it is useful:
    I agree that it reflects their own experiences in the way you explain, but it was not a likely hit single for them.

    "Mr Guder" was self-penned (Carpenter.Bettis) and it DOES document their own experience when they were a duo at Disneyland.
    I admire the mood changes, contrasting rhythms, their vocal and instrumental arrangements, Richard's keyboards (but then I come from a classical background as he did)

    I was getting into popular music just before the "British Invasion" of America. Herman's Hermits were well known at the time
    for their great northern music hall type songs like "Mrs Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter", "No Milk Today" and "Leaning on the Lamp post".
    "There's a Kind of Hush" was in the same vein.
    Tapdancer likes this.
  2. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    thanks for providing an interesting perspective. (I find much in common with your analysis.)

    I would add , though , that the self-penned Mr.Guder , relates more specifically to Richard and John's
    Summer 1967 experience working at Disneyland, not Karen and Richard's career experience.
    (Whereas Goofus--to me--- encompasses a more general expression of the duo's work up to 1976.).

    Regarding the mood changes, rhythms, harmonies and keyboards, I concur; as you are quite correct.
    Great harmonies in Mr. Guder ! (I love the ending, for instance.)

    My thesis of contrasts in creativity rests primarily on instrumentation:
    Mr.Guder utilizes Keyboards, Bass, Drums and Flute. (I simply do not like the flute solos, love the drums and keyboards, though.)
    Goofus utilizes Keyboards, Bass, Drums, Guitars, Tenor Sax and Tuba. (No flute, and I love saxophones plus the use of Tuba.)

    Needless to say, I never felt as endeared to Mr. Guder.
    (Were it not for Karen's drumming and vocals in that song, it would hardly register with me.).
    Goofus, though not an original Carpenter/Bettis composition, is a creative arrangement of the song,
    from an unexpected direction by the duo. (Of course, it works best as an album cut, not necessarily a hit single.)

    But, I am in the minority regarding Goofus !
    Must Hear This Album likes this.
  3. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Interesting commentary regarding,
    1987: Treasures, Richard Carpenter,"...has a relaxing, warm feel that works very well for Karen."
    1994: Coleman, Page 211, Sandy..."a pretty enough little song, an ode from John Bettis to Karen's hairdresser..."
    1999: 30th Anniversary, Richard Carpenter, "....among my favorites from this album."
    2003: Essential Collection, Richard Carpenter,"...has worn well with me over the years, as I like the melody and
    chord progressions and feel the gentle lyric really suits Karen's style well."
    2009: 40th Anniversary,Richard Carpenter, "... three stand out.....a lilting original that is perfect for Karen's voice."
  4. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Experimenting today:
    Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,
    from the 40th SHM Set and the
    Japan Vinyl Carpenters' First Ten Years.
    (Japanese Pressings , both Vinyl and CD).
    This was a pleasant surprise, as the Vinyl incarnation of the song
    lingers longer on the saxophone at the very end, making for a much better
    listening experience. Also, call me crazy....the Vinyl is richer and clearer
    than the aforementioned cd version of the song.
    Not much of a fan of the song (previously) but, now, I hear the song in a new light.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  5. I don't get all the hate for "Goofus". Maybe it shouldn't have been a single, but their cover of this track seems to work as a wry comment on their own success, as well as an unapologetic affirmation of the kind of music they were choosing to make. As a sort of statement, this is impressively self-aware and clever, actually, but apparently no one got the joke (or wanted to...). Anyway, the harmonies are great, the melody is catchy, and the production is quite interesting (particularly the offbeat ending)... What's not to like? :wink:
    Chris Mills, GaryAlan and Bobberman like this.
  6. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    There is plenty to like about Goofus. I happen to like the humor of it. And to me it shows that even Karen and Richard have a sense of humor. Just by them recording this. ( i always enjoyed their inclusion of comedy/ novelty type numbers to their albums they wouldnt be quite the same without them.)
    Jamesj75 and GaryAlan like this.
  7. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Yes, Bobberman, it took a great sense of humor,
    if not guts for the duo to record--and then to release
    as a single, Goofus !
    If the duo felt the Carpenter/Bettis penned I Need To Be In Love was a sure-fire hit.....which it turned out not to be......
    despite its having all of the elements that heretofore had went into crafting a Carpenters' hit single,
    then I can see where Goofus came into their mindset.
    immediate predecessors, A Kind of Hush and I Need To Be In Love---as singles--
    probably were disappointing for the duo in terms of chart performance.
    And, by the way, as I've related previously, I called the (easy listening) radio station to try and get them to play
    I Need To Be In Love---on one night ten times, easily---and they flatly refused play it !)
    Bobberman and Jamesj75 like this.
  8. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Active Member

    Gary, I'm not sure I'd agree with you that 'I Need to Be in Love' had all the trademark elements of a Carpenters hit, given the (aptly named) MOR Chorale's unwelcome presence on the track - it certainly sounds more 'MOR' to me than most of their previous singles. 'All You Get From Love is a Love Song' sounds more like the 'trademark'-sounding hit that got away to me.

    I've given up trying to understand why 'Goofus' was released as a single. Even though I'm not keen on a number of the songs on A Kind of Hush, 'Goofus' is the last track out of all 10 that I'd have chosen if I were picking singles.
    JBee likes this.
  9. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I concur, Rumbahbah,
    in that I should amend "all of the trademark elements"
    " many of the trademark elements " !
    I believe you are right, the Chorale immediately relegated the song
    I Need To Be In Love
    to 'MOR' status.

    I ask:
    If, at the time, the Chorale parts had been removed---and then the single released--
    would that have changed the reception of the radio programmers ?
  10. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Carpenters played Toronto August 1976,
    here are words taken from the Concert Pamphlet distributed at the venue:
    Richard Carpenter...."our new album--A Kind Of Hush--and our new show, express our change of attitude.
    We have a new outlook, there's a new feeling of happiness and enjoyment....we've begun a new Carpenters' era."
    "It's become easier to create again." An indication is the Carpenters Eighth A&M album.
    "...the new tunes came easy...I write on inspiration and I'm really pleased with the new tunes, especially
    I Need To Be In Love."
    "We feel there is something for just about everyone, especially in the new album..."
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  11. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    I agree with your assessment, GaryAlan. One point I would add to this goofy --- I mean "Goofus" --- discussion is that "Goofus" is somewhat of a novelty song. "Sing," in a sense, was also a novelty song, with the prominent children's choir and the simple lyric. And let's remember: during the 1970s, novelty songs were sometimes successful. For instance, Ray Stevens made a career out of the novelty song. So I can imagine the Carpenters' brain trust saying, "Why not?"
    byline likes this.
  12. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    ^^ Agreed- except by 1976 they were not as hot as they were three years earlier.
  13. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Just had my earphones on while I'm working. "Boat to Sail" came on right after "All You Get From Love is a Love Song".
    They both sounded GREAT back to back. I know the Hush album takes a good bit of flack among fans for its less than stellar song choices, but I gotta say, even after almost 40 years- I still love this song.
    toeknee4bz likes this.
  14. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Boat To Sail is a stunning album track amongst mainly sleepy fillers. Karen's backing vocals during the instrumental break are just divine, a real chill factor moment for me.
  15. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Me, too. The background vocals are among their best- and Karen sounds spectacular throughout.
  16. theninjarabbit

    theninjarabbit Well-Known Member

    Reading all of the comments recently regarding songs such as "Sandy" and "Boat to Sail", I think it's time I sit down and give Hush a proper listening to. It is the only album with which I haven't done so. Perhaps, my initial judgments were a bit harsh...

    Gotta love this forum!
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  17. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Yes ! I did a re-listen to the entirety of the Kind Of Hush Album, also.
    Not such a bad album....
    One More Time, as I've often reiterated....what a gem !
    Boat To Sail.....excellent harmonies...
    You and I Have You....very pretty.
    I've always loved the title song, perhaps I'm in the minority (as with...Goofus !).
    Get rid of the chorale on I Need To Be In Love, and, its Top Ten ?....
    Sandy, its okay....but...
    (The remaining two songs I do not care for.)
    So, that's 80%..... definitely a like....
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  18. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I always thought INTBIL would have rib better received if it had been arranged with more power a la Rainy Days and Mondays.
    goodjeans and Jamesj75 like this.
  19. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I Need To Be In Love needed a bridge. It fell too much into the single formula, and almost felt as a ditto to Solitaire. By this time in their career, there should have been a stronger song choice and a song better than the last one. If it would have come out in 1972, it might have been better received. I just think the public expected more from stellar artists. After all, it had to break through and compete with the disco rise. One of the best things for fans is that there was a new album and the Carpenters could regain their career after Karen had rested from the exhaustion that put their touring on hold. It was a time to celebrate despite the smooth soft tunes. I always liked Goofus as album filler and liked the songs from the past that Richard and Karen resurrected. The harmonic structure is fantastic. I can even remember the song chosen for the Lawrence Welk Show singers that year in television land. Maybe there is some history there behind the scenes. The Hush album was easily played with my uncle's favorite stack from the 50's tunes of Patti Paige, Doris Day, and Rosemary Clooney and blended in as part of another time in history than 1976, as well as, showcasing Karen as a classic singer.

    As an aside, I don't like the Chorale singers either, and it feels as if the use of them parallels with the Chorale singers of the 50's and 60's used on albums and TV show theme songs. To me, Karen's voice is more intimate without them. But, in their defense, it has been said by many that Richard tried to paint a perfect frame for Karen's voice and I believe all those efforts were for Karen.

    JBee likes this.
  20. Eyewire

    Eyewire Well-Known Member

    I'll have to give this another spin as well and reevaluate. For some reason I tend to skip not only this album but also the songs on this album which appear on the various compilations.
    theninjarabbit likes this.
  21. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    The more I listen to
    One More Time,
    the more I love this song !
    Too bad I can't get into Sandy...the harmonies are great, though....
    This album puzzles me on a number of levels:
    (1) Why I Need To Be In Love wasn't scaled back in its arrangement... say, as sparse as One More Time.
    (2) The jazz/slower Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, why was it not selected ?
    ) The alternate Can't Smile Without You, again with the superior arrangement.
    (4) Ordinary Fool...was this recorded in time for this album's release ?
    (5) Sailing On The Tide, it was not recorded until 1977 ? Why so?

    The album --as we have it-- is nice.
    Much about this album is very good.
    In fact, I like it quite a bit.
    But, seems as if there was a missed opportunity for another great album (i.e., Horizon).
    CraigGA likes this.
  22. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Two gems definitely missed off the album. I always hear Karen singing the slow, bluesy version of Breaking Up Is Hard To Do when I listen to Neil Sedaka's version. I think it's emphasised even more because Richard arranged it, so it's as close to a Carpenters slow version as we're going to hear.

    If memory serves correctly, the song was tracked in 1975 but left on the shelf until 1977 when the lead, backing vocals and other instruments were added.
  23. K.C. Jr

    K.C. Jr Well-Known Member

    I just listened to this album last night, and I have to say that while it seems light to begin with, it really does have some heart. "I Need to be in Love" made such a huge impact (especially in the later years), but I find that "One More Time" and "You" have just as much, if not more, strength and meaning. They are definitely single material.
    I also absolutely love "Sandy"; it is one of the best and often overlooked gems. Although I never could understand why Karen sings lead vocal, even though she sounds amazing..:confused:
    The title track and "Boat to Sail" are just so sophisticated to me. Pure bliss to hear, and the "Hush" always puts a smile on my face.
    "I Need to be In Love" - didn't someone once say it was majestic and had a "soaring beauty"? I agree. Almost perfectly proceeding it is "Can't Smile Without You", which I find to be very touching, particularly the line, "Who'd believe you were part of a dream that only seemed light years away?"
    The two most debated tracks, it seems, are "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" and "Goofus". Count me as a lover to both! I personally feel that the sudden pop of energy after the very sweet "I Have You" was a good move. Going out with a bang, so to speak. And as for "Goofus", well, let's just say that cornfed chords appeal to me :wink:.
    Overall, the disc is very relaxing and has some great moments. I love the ultimate flow of it, the way everything fits together. Soft? Sweet? Fluffy? Possibly. Not the best as an entity? Not quite up to par? Well, I would say that's just an opinion. It has a quiet beauty, and I think that is what makes it so attractive.
  24. LondonRobert

    LondonRobert Active Member

    brilliant comments KC
    i always used to think hush was a bit 'bland', but i have warmed to it a lot over the years.
    Jamesj75 and K.C. Jr like this.
  25. K.C. Jr

    K.C. Jr Well-Known Member

    Thank you very much, Robert! :)

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