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Official Review [Album]: "A SONG FOR YOU" (SP-3511)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Apr 12, 2013.


  1. ***** (BEST)

    38 vote(s)
  2. ****

    12 vote(s)
  3. ***

    3 vote(s)
  4. **

    1 vote(s)
  5. *

    0 vote(s)
  1. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Thanks, again, Harry for elaborating upon my query.
    One might say that a modern consumer has an entirely different perspective than one who
    'grew up' in the 1970's watching those Carpenters' specials on television and listening to those songs on the radio--
    in an entirely different light than what is presented through today's technology.
    Little wonder that my own perspective has evolved through the years, as what I remember as a teenager in the 1970's
    is distinct from the listening environment promulgated from vinyl through compact disc and onward to digital streaming.
    Also, of course, with the alternate vocal takes and remixes offered throughout the 1980's, 1990's and onward, it is little
    wonder that a Carpenters song I hear today can evoke memories which are different from when I first heard the song.
  2. I couldn't wait so I purchased a vinyl copy of this wonderful album because my CD hasn't arrived yet and writing reviews by the help of mp3s it not a good idea.
    A Song for You for me is a huge milestone in the career of Carpenters. Sonically, it was a big step ahead, and musically they were trying to make an perfect record. This method was succesful. Overall, this album maybe the most-crafted one and most songs easily could have been hit singles.

    A Song For You - very picturesque number, a very good album starter. Melodic, lyric..easily should have been a hit

    Top Of The World - one of the band's best track. They knew how to write and adapt country music. The album version is a gem, in my opinion it is as good as the single cut. For me it is one of the big landmarks of the record.

    Hurting Each Other - it resembles a little bit to 'Superstar' in its darker. Very evocative, good song.It was a wise choice to release this number on single.

    It's Going To Take Some Time - not an easy song, because it slowly climb into your ears. I like it.

    Goodbye To Love - the best song on the record, a perfection in four minutes! The guitar solo is perfect as well as Karen melancholic vocal and the organ at the end and the harmony vocal is also awesome. This track is on my TOP5 Carpenters song list!

    Intermission - very unusual short track but very moody.

    Bless The Beast And The Children - nice tune with stong instrumentation.

    Flat Baroque - a perfect istrumental...my third favourite on the record...it really shows how talented Richard and Karen were.

    Piano Picker - Richard were the masters of arranging and he had a good taste for jazz..moody little number, I feel it a little filler in the album.

    I Won't Last A Day Without You - My fourth favourite on the record. I do not understand why the band did not release it as a single earlier. Fantastic production!

    Crystal Lullaby - a nice, tender ballad...not a single release but a very moody song.

    Road Ode - another ballad, different rhythm...a kind piece, well.made instrumentation...

    A Song For You (reprise)- it adds a nice frame to the album.

    Overall, their best album since its release, a result of a well-built-up career. A milestone. A gem.
    70sFan likes this.
  3. Charlie D

    Charlie D Active Member

    I know that this is controversial, but does anyone feel that Karen's vocal performance on "Goodbye to Love" is a rather emotionally uninspired? Its more of the arrangement and lyrics that move me more than her vocals. It seems that she's so focused on the intricate breathing this song in particular requires, that she neglects to invest real emotion or feeling. Near the end after the first guitar solo her vocals improve probably because she's used to the breathing.
  4. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Same for me. I've always found the vocal...bland. Hence the reason I don't listen to it at all. It's the vocal choral overdubs and guitar solos that bring it to life.
    Charlie D likes this.
  5. Charlie D

    Charlie D Active Member

    Exactly, it's those other parts of the song that give it that pop. The ending that combines those two is goosebump inducing but it's not really Karen's
    lead that makes it compelling. I do get a bit of feeling when she sings "...but for now this is my song..." but overall it is pretty bland. And this is one song that I wish she had put her heart into, to hear that aching yearning. If she re-recorded it around 1975 with a different breathing approach it could have been one of her greatest performances.
  6. Charlie D

    Charlie D Active Member

    At The New London show footage from 1976, they do the song and during Tony's solo at the end Karen belts outs against the guitar and you just feel that blast of emotion under the guitar fuzz. You wish that she was allowed to do that on some studio recordings. She was boxed in vocally in many ways on the records, and you want to hear tha pain in her voice especially with a song as powerful as Goodbye To Love.
    song4u likes this.
  7. 70sFan

    70sFan Member

    Cordell, everything you said I feel. It was a masterpiece. I always loved the Ruby and the Romantics' single Hurting Each Other, but Richard and Karen perfected it. I was so happy when later they covered Ruby's "Your Baby Doesn't Love You Anymore". I also loved the original "Top Of The World". I was thrilled that the original album was released in the remastered classics CD's. Also, anything Carole King writes can only add enjoyment to any album.

    This album actually gets better every time you listen to it, so after 43 years of listening pleasure, it has become my most favorite Carpenters album.
  8. 70sFan

    70sFan Member

    I always loved the fact that the inner sleeve was made of 100% recycled paper. Way to go Karen and Richard!
  9. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    Here is what typical 24-track tape machinery looked like to give you some idea. You can actually count the heads for each track that passes along the head (instruments, vocals, etc)

  10. 70sFan

    70sFan Member

    Chris, that is amazing to see, thanks for sharing!
  11. theninjarabbit

    theninjarabbit Well-Known Member

    I love this album so much, I have it on my computer, purchased it on CD, and found it on vinyl. :D

    Like many here have said, it's a masterpiece and deserves to be called such. You can tell time was invested into recording, song selection, and production. Pulling off six or seven top five singles ain't too shabby either!

    "A Song For You": Leon Russell songs have proven to work well for our duo. The length of the song might've been pushing it for single release, but I believe it would've done decently had it been selected. Needless to say, the vocals and arrangement are superb- great introduction for material to follow.

    "Top of the World": My all-time favorite Carpenters song. Period. Growing up with the 1990s remix, I was pleasantly surprised to discover the 1972 cut. For that reason alone I prefer the later remix and even the '73 single mix, but the original itself works just as well. Karen's lead is mellifluous and magical (I love especially how she sings the word "happiness") and I love the use of steel guitar. Perfection with a country twang. :cool:

    "Hurting Each Other": This is a quick-rising favorite. The way the instrumentation slowly builds from only piano to tympani, drums and strings/woodwinds... superb!!

    "It's Going to Take Some Time": is it strange to say I only know the Carole King version because of this one? :)

    "Goodbye to Love": My gosh ...what words do I use to describe this one. The Carpenters garner my respect for many reasons and this is one of them: sticking a slick guitar solo in the middle of a lilting ballad? BUT OF COURSE! Tony Peluso might've been iffy on his DJ shtick but his guitar playing is no joke. The overdubbed vocals, Karen's lead, and the arrangement are nothing short of magical as well.

    "Intermission": I swear, when I played through this album the first time, I had to play this track at least three times to make sure that's what they were actually singing. They sing it so seriously and that's what makes it hilarious - I get this big grin every time it plays. Well done.

    "Bless the Beasts and Children": You can't even tell this was recorded earlier than the album- it fits right in.

    "Flat Baroque": nice showcase of Richard's fancy fingerwork. Karen does nicely on drums too.
    "Piano Picker": even though I usually skip this, I find I know all the words anyway. :D

    "I Won't Last A Day Without You": This one deserved to be a late albeit perfect single release. Another fantastic Williams/Nichols song the Carpenters made their very own.

    "Road Ode": the standout non-hit track. The arrangement and vocal set the forlorn mood... the horns at the end take me somewhere else. The remix Richard did just elevates this song further.

    "A Song For You (Reprise):" a neat concept to bookend.

    That's my review. For those of you who read to the end, I applaud you. :goodie:
  12. 70sFan

    70sFan Member

    Actually, I applaud you! Your review was enjoyable to read.
    Jeff and theninjarabbit like this.
  13. theninjarabbit

    theninjarabbit Well-Known Member

    Whoops! I forgot "Crystal Lullaby"...and I thought I had A Song For You memorized... :laugh:

    "Crystal Lullaby" at first did not stick with me. After many listens, however, I've taken a liking to it! It just has this mystique to it I can't explain- perhaps it's the warmth of the piano and lovely melody.

    If something as good as this didn't make the cut to be a single, it speaks volumes about the sheer brilliance of the album itself.
    70sFan likes this.
  14. 70sFan

    70sFan Member

    Exactly right.
  15. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Billboard Magazine, January 15, 1972,Vol.84,No.3, page 46 :
    "A recent drive at Screen Gems Music has been their campaign for Oscar consideration
    of the Carpenters' Bless The Beasts and The Children.
    Screen Gems was among the first music publishers to utilize their own national promotion
    staff to supplement the promotion of record companies. Last year with some 15 road men working on the
    project under the director of promotion Danny Davis, Screen Gems succeeded in getting the
    Carpenters' A&M hit Superstar turned over to the B-side movie theme after the A-side had run its course.
    This effort actually succeeded in generating enough airplay and sales to hold the Screen Gems song
    on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart for its own run."
  16. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I can't think of another single release in any catalogue (double A-sides excepted) where the single was flipped to the B-side which then enjoyed its own success.
    Jeff likes this.
  17. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Was any consideration given--at the time of recording--to releasing
    Bless The Beasts and Children as an actual A-Side Single ?
    (Or, put another way, was any other song considered as the B-Side to Superstar ?)
    I see the song was nominated Best Album Original Score for Motion Picture 1971.
    Certainly it is a stronger single contender than It's Going To Take Some Time (IMHO).
    Certainly this great album should have won a Grammy. (IMHO).
    Was this album on a anyone's radar when Grammy Nominations were being considered ?
    70sFan likes this.
  18. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Interesting, so I thought,
    that the Flute Solo in
    It's Going To Take Some Time
    is of virtually the same time length (19 seconds)
    as the flute solo in
  19. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    This did happen occasionally. In the A&M world, Herb Alpert's song "Third Man Theme " was supposed to be the A-side (and usher in the Going Places album) but the B-side song "A Taste of Honey" got such strong reaction in concert that they started promoting it and succeeded in "turning the record over."

    A non-A&M example was the Doobie Brothers' song "Another Park, Another Sunday" -- it was released and became a middle-sized hit, and then a couple of radio stations started playing the flip side, "Black Water" which caught fire and became a #1 single.
  20. In 1971 I purchased Rod Stewart's single of "Maggie May" and later found out it was actually the B side to the original A side "Reason To Believe", which had already charted on the Billboard Hot 100 but received no airplay in my area. About that same time I purchased the Carpenters' single "Superstar" not knowing the B side would soon take on a life of its own. In a few months the B side took off and reached the Top 10 in my local market. I was thrilled because I loved both songs and I didn't have to buy another single! For a kid that .67 cents savings was huge! :)
    sussex salvo likes this.
  21. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    Happened fairly often with the Beatles. When the single "Something"/"Come Together" was released in '69, both were considered "A" sides and charted at #1.
  22. I've never heard any confirmation of it, but there's at least some cursory evidence that Carpenters first single a-side might have once been considered to be "Your Wonderful Parade". All records have catalog numbers, of course. They also have a number for each side, often referred to as a matrix number.

    "Ticket To Ride" is catalog number 1142, with a matrix number of 1882.
    "Your Wonderful Parade" is catalog number 1142, with a matrix number of 1881.

    1881 is the lower number, and the a-side of a single is supposed to be the lower number.

    Now, if you have the single, look into the dead-wax where numbers are hand-scratched into the stamper and vinyl. On the "Ticket To Ride" side of my vinyl, it says "A+M 1882-15", but the "2" is actually written over top of a "1". To me, this all says that there was at least confusion as to which side was going to be the a-side, and that a final decision wasn't made until the single was almost ready for release.

    Don Malcolm, 70sFan and GaryAlan like this.
  23. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    In the 1975 A&M Compendium, Richard Carpenter comments that had
    Top Of The World
    been released earlier, sales of this album would have been Millions more.
    Lynn Anderson released her album-- of that name-- in June 1973.
    The album did well, as did her cover of the title song.
    My opinion differs a bit from Richard Carpenter:
    the release--as a single-- of, It's Going To Take Some Time
    did little to promote the strengths of this album.(IMHO, The song is too lightweight.)
    Would the duo have re-cut their (pop) version,
    different from their (country-ish) album version,
    if the Anderson country cover had never been on the charts ?
    (Would the duo have given the song a second look without that momentum?)

    Just some idle speculation, today.
  24. Jeremy

    Jeremy New Member

    Probably not. Richard has said in the past that neither he nor Karen thought the song was good enough to be a single until after Lynn's version became a hit. Her version opened their eyes to its potential. Had she never covered the song, the Carpenters would have never re-cut it and they never would have released it as a single.
  25. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I think they might have considered it eventually as there were other factors at play. Audiences applauded it when they announced it in their live shows (much to their bemusement), it went gold when A&M Japan released it as a single and (this is my favourite), kids kept coming up to front door of the Newville home asking Agnes and Harold when it was being released as a "little record".

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