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Official Review [Album]: AKIKO KOBAYASHI - "CITY OF ANGELS"

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Harry, Jul 1, 2015.

What is your favorite track?

  1. Rainbow, Rainbow

    0 vote(s)
  2. Put Another Memory On The Fire

    1 vote(s)
  3. Hold Me

    2 vote(s)
  4. How Could I Ask For More?

    8 vote(s)
  5. Beg, Borrow & Steal

    1 vote(s)
  6. Let's Fall In Love Forever

    2 vote(s)
  7. Suddenly Love

    2 vote(s)
  8. China River

    1 vote(s)
  9. Only The Angels Know

    4 vote(s)
  10. The Reply

    1 vote(s)
  1. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator Thread Starter

    Akiko Kobayashi


    Catalogue Number: Voss Records VCD2-72901
    Date of Release: 1989
    Also released as: CITY OF ANGELS
    Fun House Records 32FD-1099
    Track Listing:

    1. Rainbow, Rainbow 4:32 (Akiko)
    2. Put Another Memory On the Fire 3:42 (Curiale; Rothstein; Keller; Colluci)
    3. Hold Me 3:40 (Joey Carbone)
    4. How Could I Ask for More? 3:57 (Carpenter; Bettis)
    5. Beg, Borrow & Steal 3:33 (Lerner; Harriman)
    6. Let's Fall In Love Forever 3:33 (Oland; Rumage)
    7. Suddenly Love 3:56 (Oland; Akiko)
    8. China River 4:15 (Akiko)
    9. Only the Angels Know 3:56 (Pitchford; Gore)
    10. The Reply 3:02 (Oland; Carpenter)

    Bass: Joe Osborn
    Drums: Paul Leim
    Keyboards: Richard Carpenter
    Guitars: Tim May
    Oboe: Earle Dumler
    Flute, Alto and Tenor Sax: Joel Peskin
    Percussion: Paulinho Da Costa
    Synthesizer Programming: Jim Cox
    Flugelhorn: Ron Gorow
    Backing Vocals: Richard Carpenter and Akiko
  2. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator Thread Starter

    With the recent discussion mentioning Akiko's album produced by Richard, I thought it was high time we had Official Review threads for the three Richard -produced albums from the eighties. We'll start with AKIKO, also known as CITY OF ANGELS. I don't know which came first - I've only ever had the self-titled one.

    Also interesting is that some recent discussion centered on Ron Gorow, Richard's copyist, who shows up here on flugelhorn on "Only The Angels Know" !

  3. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Nice disc. "China River" always takes me away from it all- but I can so hear Karen singing "Only the Angels Know".
    Nelson R likes this.
  4. goodjeans

    goodjeans Active Member

    "Rainbow, Rainbow" and "Suddenly Love" are my favorites, but I voted for the latter because I swear that I hear Karen in the background vocals and it makes me feel good.
    Nelson R likes this.
  5. Murray

    Murray Well-Known Member

    I heard the last part of what turned out to be "How Could I Ask For More" being played on a local AC radio station. I was immediately struck by how much it sounded like a Carpenters record, and I could swear I heard Richard Carpenter in the backing vocals. During the next commercial break, I phoned the station and briefly talked to the DJ. He complimented me on my "good ears", and then told me the name of the album and the catalog number. I must have looked in every record store in town, but couldn't find a copy. I finally placed a special order, and waited... and waited... and waited. It took a full nine months before I finally had it in my hands! With such a long wait, I was expecting it to be a Japanese import, but it came from the USA. My how times have changed for music buyers since the internet. I would never want to go back to the dark ages!

    My impressions on first listen to the album, were that Akiko sounds a lot like Karen in places, especially when singing in Japanese (where the accent isn't an issue). I think this was a result of Richard's production, because on her later album of Carpenters covers, she doesn't really sound like Karen at all. I was surprised that so much of the album was in Japanese, of which I can't understand a single word, but it's still enjoyable to listen to. My vote goes to "Suddenly Love", but I also really like "China River" and "Only The Angels Know".
  6. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I never knew Ron Gorow played the flugelhorn!
  7. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    I voted for "The Reply" just for the line "the pages of our memory, are turning, in Berlin" :laugh:

    ok seriously...I think this such a beautiful song and tender...I can hear Karen nailing this with her intimate delivery making you feel like it's just her singing to you.

    A close 2nd would be "Only The Angels Know" another haunting Karen moment that I swear she's in there somewhere singing, backing vocals? maybe I'm just dreaming...:wink:
  8. [QUOTE="Chris-An Ordinary Fool, post: 140936, member: 322”] A close 2nd would be "Only The Angels Know" another haunting Karen moment that I swear she's in there somewhere singing, backing vocals? maybe I'm just dreaming...:wink:[/QUOTE]

    Holy God. “Only The Angels Know” does, indeed, have Karen in the mix. I know it’s not possible, but there it is...tingles. Especially the “whoo-whoo-whoo” part right before the final chorus fade out. I close my eyes and imagine a might-have-been, late-1980’s Carpenters album track. Also Basia. The sunny, samba vibe on this track could fit easily on Basia’s first two solo albums.
    Mark-T likes this.
  9. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator Thread Starter

    Upon first listening to the AKIKO disc, I was a bit disturbed. The vocals seemed "spooky" for want of a better word, and it put me off the whole album, so I've rarely revisited it. Others have consistently mentioned that they preferred AKIKO to either VERONIQUE or Scott Grimes' album that Richard produced. I have always gravitated towards VERONIQUE.

    But in gathering info for this thread, I had AKIKO on in the background and found it much more listenable than before - and those stacked backing vocals really do sound Karen-like. I still think I prefer VERONIQUE, but will be more likely to give AKIKO a spin once in awhile.

    My favorite track will probably be quite against the grain: "Hold Me". I've always been a sucker for a pop song in 12/8 time.

  10. song4u

    song4u Well-Known Member

    About the Akiko Kobayashi album, who is credited with background vocals? She does sound quite like Karen in her lower register. And when Richard sings up in Karen's range, so does he.
  11. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    It says Richard Carpenter and Akiko are credited for backing vocals.

    I agree with Murray above who mentioned that her other album, A Song For You which she covers all the Carpenters songs she sounds totally different and not like Karen at all. I kept thinking wow if she sounds this good on City of Angels, I can only imagine how she will sound covering the Carpenters hits. I believe it's like Murray said, Richard had no part of her A Song for You album and she didn't have him to bring out the best in her vocal with his arrangements.
  12. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I was at the gym today, so I plugged in my shuffle. As it is filled with favorites from the 50s through today, I was not expecting what happened.
    Randomly, it played Carps "Kiss Me" (one of my very favorites) followed by Akiko's "Only the Angels Know". They both sounded terrific- and yes, MustHearThisAlbum, I agree with you. I can imagine the latter would be what the Carps should have sounded like in the late 80s. Incredible.
    Must Hear This Album likes this.
  13. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure how many versions were made but I have a Japan pressing of City of Angels 32FD-1099 with an original OBI, it's interesting that on the OBI label says L.A. Recording '88

    I'm guessing that is to let the Japanese audience know that this was recorded in the U.S.A. and not in Japan? Anyone know?
  14. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator

    "Only The Angels" pretty much does it for me and always has - the vocals, songwriting dynamics, blend in the BGVs with Richard. I'm really surprised this track doesn't jump out more to others.

    Overall this was a nice album and for me a pleasant extension of where Richard was creatively post-'83 thru Lovelines.
    Must Hear This Album likes this.
  15. ullalume

    ullalume Well-Known Member

    I can't find the above song on youtube. Any links?
  16. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator Thread Starter

    Here you go:

    song4u likes this.
  17. ullalume

    ullalume Well-Known Member

    Thanks Harry
  18. ullalume

    ullalume Well-Known Member

    Actually, Harry, I can't see the clip. Any suggestions?
  19. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator Thread Starter

    Try it now. I think I forgot to hit the "publish" button.
  20. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator

    Agreed...there was an "eeriness" to the timbre in Akiko's voice when she doubled and had the tracks processed thru the verb, etc. VERY Karen-esque, but almost in a way to where you build this love/hate sort of relationship when listening back. So odd...
  21. ullalume

    ullalume Well-Known Member

    Cheers, Harry
  22. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    I don't really know much about her as an artist other than this album so do you think this helped her career or hurt it?
  23. ullalume

    ullalume Well-Known Member

    Having listened to this, I'm truly grateful RC got his "synth period" out of the way before he turned his hand to Lovelines. The idea of this kind of production around Uninvited Guest or Kiss Me makes me shiver.
    Brian and aaflyer98 like this.
  24. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator

    Agreed! When the Yamaha Corp launched the DX-7 series, this sound became a staple throughout the 80s and into the 90s - basically replacing its more organic analog predecessors, those being the Wurlitzer electric and Rhodes electric pianos. There are certain tunes that I actually enjoy the DX-7 as the lead synth. But for the most part, that sound became very dated. Richard went in an replaced keyboard tracks on several B-sides in the 80s (which can be heard on Treasures) and an occasional remix or two heard on From The Top. Just dated sounding and a bad use of the instrument when dealing with the doctoring of timeless records.
    ullalume likes this.
  25. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Just listening to parts of this album. It's another wonderful reminder of what a GREAT Producer Richard is!

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