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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)
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  1. ars nova

    ars nova Active Member

    yes, there was a sticker over the shrink wrap, two hearts with a b/w graphic of the interior photo, it was an " includes the hits " attention getter.

    oddly enough, at the time, I didn't notice the " valentine " theme, however, when I saw THE SINGLES, first thought, " tombstone ".
  2. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I noticed on the Recording Resource page the following notes about the track A Song For You:

    "Original album mix: contains audiotape problems in the opening lines
    A SONG FOR YOU LP, Remastered Classic CD and original A&M CD

    1985 remix:
    stereo piano, audio problems fixed, reverb added, heavier bass, sax solo is re-done"

    This prompted two questions in my mind. Firstly, what are the audiotape problems that were present on the album version?

    Secondly, I've never heard anywhere that the sax solo was re-recorded for the 1985 remix. I don't hear any difference between the two and find it hard to believe Richard would mess with the entire sax solo when it's so perfect in the first place.

    Can anyone shed any light?
  3. Listen carefully to the opening of "A Song For You" on either the A&M CD or the Remastered Classic.

    On the first line, on the word "my", if you're listening with headphones, you'll hear a sudden shift of Karen's voice to the right channel.

    On the next few words listen to the phrase "life and times". Somewhere around the word "and", you'll hear what sounds like a pinched piece of tape. (Recall your days with mangled cassettes.)

    You'll hear the same kind of sound on "I've sung a lot of songs" on the word "songs". And again on the second piano chord after "bad rhyme." Yet one more occurs on "singing this song for you" at around 28 seconds in.

    The sax solo plays the same notes, but it is surely a different take - or different recording.
  4. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    Harry, your right I can hear all that on the original A&M CD, in fact if you listen closely to the 28 sec spot when Karen sings "singing this" was this ever really fixed completely in that spot because I still hear the wabble even on the 40/40, Gold Greatest Hits Disc 2 and The Essential box set. I mean it's only a second but I still hear it but the rest of it was fixed.
  5. What's interesting about those audio anomalies is that they are also there on the original LP pressings, but they are exactly the kind of sound that a slightly imperfect piece of vinyl might give, so it was entirely "overlookable" back then. But when you're expecting your perfect sound forever CD to be perfect, those kind of anomalies are kind of glaring.
  6. John Tkacik

    John Tkacik Active Member

    Your locket sticker is a newer version from the one I have. Mine only has "Hurting Each Other" and "It's Going To Take Some Time " listed
  7. I don't have the actual sticker, but found that image in the A SONG FOR YOU sheet music book.
  8. Can I ask regarding the MFSL version of this please?. I have the "Compact Disc Collection" white binder collection No 16, is the album exactly the same as the MFSL cd in every way as I have wanted that album for ages but it is very expensive to buy nowerdays. Thanks also can anyone direct me to the cover which Richard didn't like please to compare to the three I have here at home?. I have a textured one with a flip over cover , the same in Japanese pressing and a later smooth cover without lyric inner liner.

  9. The COLLECTION version of A SONG FOR YOU is an exact sonic duplicate of the MSFL version.
  10. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    A Song for You (1972)
  11. Thanks for that information and also thank you to Harry in the post above for saving me some unnecessary spending there!.
  12. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Prompted to re-listen to A Song For You, trying once again to listen to the MFSL disc.
    I gave up on that endeavor. Not often that a disc disappoints me, but, this MFSL disc is a mess.
    I purchased mine years ago (when it first hit the market) and was disappointed then, too !
    As the cover includes the words "Original Master Recording," I was excited at first.
    Then, this:
    Top Of The World....Single Mix
    It's Going To Take Some Time...remixing engineer Robert De La Garza
    Goodbye To Love...remixing engineer Roger Young
    Intermission....remixing engineer RY
    Bless The Beasts and Children...remixing engineer RY
    I Won't Last A Day Without You...Single Mix

    I am still unhappy with this release...all these years later....!
  13. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    I agree, as the title track is also the remix. I mean, technically they didn't lie as this was all taken from the 2-channel master that was constructed with those remixes. But at the time, back before you had the entire catalog reissued with all of the original mixes, one could misconstrue this as an "original album master" rather than original master recording.
  14. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I was really disappointed way back when I bought this as well, for the very same reason. At the time I only had the vinyl albums, so I thought what I'd purchased on CD would be identical to the LP I owned.
  15. I read I think earlier in this thread, or possibly somewhere else on the forum that Richard really liked the MFSL mastering , I really like it myself to be honest as well. It just sounds good to my ears, I get what you are saying about the mix being a mish mash of different sources but the sound to my ears is wonderful on a good Hifi System. The original non MFSL vinyl album I have sounded a bit bland the other evening when I played it, my Japanese copy is at my parents I will have to give that a spin at the weekend.
    I have a few mobile fidelity vinyl albums, and I have read that sometimes the analogue tapes they get access to to use in their mastering projects can be so fragile they are considered to much of a risk to even use?. I don't know the history of the MFSL disc but I sure MFSL try and get access to the best tapes or digital transfers. Although I'm no way an authority on MFSL.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
  16. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    The fragility of tape doesn't just impact analog recordings but digital recordings. The first digital tape systems used for mastering CD's (or even recording) were Betamax and 3/4 U-Matic videotape recorders that were attached to a PCM encoder/decoder.
    But with that being said, it also depends on the tape stock used. I do transfers of videotapes for clients and I've had issues with certain tapes due to a variety of problems, but one that pops up frequently is dried up binders (the "glue" that holds the metal particles to the tape), and a lot of times a simple fast-forward/rewind of the tape allows for the transfer to go fine, other times it doesn't work. With U-Matic tapes AMPEX tapes are notorious for having essentially a 15-20 year shelf life, as even in the 90's, due to AMPEX's very dry binder mix (each manufacturer had their own mix for the binder), recordings from the 70's were lost (or could only be recovered from VHS/Betamax copies made in the 70's) because the metal particles would separate completely from the backing rendering the tape unplayable.

    On another note, on the Complete Resourcss page for 'Top Of The World' there is a note that the 1991 remix was used on the 1985 "Yesterday Once More/Only Yesterday/Gold" video. How could a remix appear on a video that came out 6 years before the remix occurred? Or did the 91 remix get placed on the "Gold" DVD?
  17. Interesting stuff, I used to own a Sony APR Professional Machine which I purely used to transfer analogue vinyl to Analogue tape using Ampex Tape etc as a hobby a few years back here at home, but I found a lot of my old tape suffered from shedding badly and occasionally left oxide on the tape heads to an alarming degree. Massive amounts indeed tried baking the tapes but it was a major faff and considering I was only doing it for fun I can't imagine what it must be like having to bake a 60s 4 track classic album or similar for archival purposes.
  18. Let me look into that.

    [Update: OK, found the problem. That sentence about the videos got misplaced. It should have been located after the "Single Mix" section but somehow got orphaned down there. All fixed. Thanks for spotting that.]
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
  19. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    Currently listening to A SONG FOR YOU from the album of same name. Playing a MFSL disc.
    CraigGA likes this.
  20. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    I've wondered if this is the reason the original master for "Christmas Portrait" was unusable in 1996, an Ampex tape had been used, and it just started to shed on playback, and even baking had no effect.
  21. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Reading the Forum's resource, I see where the "1985 Mix" of
    A Song For You
    "...sax solo is re-done..."
    Does that statement imply that the sax-solo was "re-recorded" in 1985 ?

    As I am going over various compilations, I do not see any documentation
    where this "sax solo is re-done" is explicitly mentioned
    for this Song: A Song For You
    Liner Notes....

    2002-Essential Collection- "Remixed in 1987"
    1987 Treasures-"This is a re-mix with piano re-recorded in Dolby Stereo"
    1985/1997 Anthology (2nd Press)-"This is a re-mix with piano re-recorded in Dolby Stereo
    specifically for this compilation."
  22. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I still don't think the sax solo for this track was re-recorded. It's identical to the original album version.
  23. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    My 1st take on the title track was wow! Karen had matured and she sang the heck out of A SONG FOR YOU. This is another CarpenterS track that has grown on me with every listen. In the 45 years since I bought this on release day no less I've heard this song a 1,000 or more times. Never tire of this tune. The ultimate interpretation.
    GaryAlan likes this.
  24. Song4uman

    Song4uman Active Member

    The title track is probably my favorite Carpenters recording. Love it.
    Jeff likes this.

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