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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)

    WYBIMLA Active Member

    Does anyone know where you can get a copy of this album? I found a compilation of Akiko songs on Amazon, but that's about it.

    Like when I heard some of his work with Veronique Beliveau and Smokey Robinson... it's nice to find these things and be able to hear that Carpenter touch once more.

    I think it also goes to show just how much Richard really missed his sister. I think it was very subconscious how he ended up working with Akiko.

    I'm glad he kept working for a while.

    I hadn't heard "Only the angels know" before. I was quite taken with it.

    Reminds me of the first time I heard "Kiss me the way you did last night". I thought I'd heard just about everything Carpenters up until that point.
    But, I was wrong, and sitting with headphones on and listening to that was great.

    It's a real "full" overdubbed vocal sound.

    To experience an unheard song like that for the first time is amazing. I haven't had that in a while and I may never have that again.

    Thanks for sharing!
  2. motownboy

    motownboy Active Member

    I love this album... I have had three copies of the CD plus a promo CD single of "How Could I Ask For More." I gave one to a friend who also fell in love with the album. "How Could I Ask For More" is about as close to a Richard & Karen song as we could ever hope to get after Karen's passing. Akiko and Richard's backing vocals, especially on "Only The Angels Now" is again about as close to K & R as one could expect... The last few years, I have developed a special liking for "China River.".... "Beg, Borrow & Steal" is my least favorite.

    Also, Richard's arrangement of "Only The Angels Know" is not entirely original as it was very much a copy of this version recorded by Linda Clifford on her 1981 album "I'll Keep On Loving You."

    Last edited: Jul 23, 2015

    WYBIMLA Active Member

    That's true I did notice that. There's some differences though with Akiko's version. As usual when Carpenters or a Carpenter is involved with a cover of a song it doesn't disappoint. Well... for the most part. Lol Anyways, it's a lovely song. Again Richard finds these offbeat songs and then adds something to them. I don't know where he found these things. haha But, it works!
  4. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator Thread Starter

  5. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    My version says City of Angels on the cover, I didn't know there were different cover versions?
  6. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator Thread Starter

    Here's the artwork for my copy with just AKIKO as the title:


  7. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    So was that a Japan release or a U.S? I don't remember my disc being a purple color I'll check when I get home but I know the outside says City of Angels.
  8. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator Thread Starter

    This was a US release on VOSS RECORDS. My fading memory tells me that our old friend, Ran, had this extra copy and sent it to me. My suspicions would be that the US release would be rarer than the Japanese release, but that's just supposition based on the fact that it probably didn't sell well over here.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2015
  9. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    I have the Japan release 32FD-1099 so the cover is different, her name Akiko is a different script and it's a gold color under that is her last name in block letters in a blue-ish color that sorta matches the color of the hair pull she has in the back, then the words City of Angels in printed in the bottom left corner. This disc is a mirror finish with purple lettering the track title does not contain the running time. My disc is also marked 1988 Fun House Inc. I have the original OBI as well. Is it possible the Japan disc was printed first 88 and the US was the following year 89? Mine does not say Voss records, in fact I can't find any record label except Fun House made in Japan.
  10. motownboy

    motownboy Active Member

    Obviously Richard heard the Linda Clifford album. I had this album when it came out because I loved the single "Don't Come Crying To Me." It took only one listen of Akiko's version of "Only The Angels Know" to jog my memory of Linda Clifford's version.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2015
  11. Charlie D

    Charlie D Active Member

    Does anyone know where you can buy or download the album? Its not even on Amazon that I saw. Is there a site where the tracks can be downloaded. There's only two on YouTube and I really want to hear the rest.
  12. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator Thread Starter

  13. Charlie D

    Charlie D Active Member

    Did this album sell much in North America or was it primarily marketed in Japan? It really does sound like Karen again, especially on the backing vocals where, like others, I can almost actually hear Karen herself, coulda sworn it was her. Akiko has a great voice and the arrangements Richard crafts for her really do sound like what the Carpenters would be doing in the late 80s, much better than the dated, less memorable sounds on Veronique.
  14. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    Akiko's Cd does not come cheap and I've never seen any place for downloads. It's a rare CD to find and when you do it comes at a price. I would make an offer to that seller since the option is available you have leverage as there is no OBI included. I got a kick out of their user name.

    There's another one on the bay for $20.00 from HK, so take your chances.

    Her other CD, A Song For You is also very rare to find.
  15. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    Charlie, this may help you....I found a few more samples from Akiko's CD from one of her greatest hits CD, this is a link from CD Japan they allow you to listen to samples provided from their sister site called Neowing.

    Most of it is in Japanese so you will want to click on Listen to Samples on the far right which will open their media player then click on the # to hear the song.

    #15 is China River
    #16 Only The Angels Know
    #17 Rainbow, Rainbow

    #12 is also of interest to Carpenters fans as Akiko covers Touch Me When Were Dancing
    Check it out here

    If that link doesn't work use the main link at CD Japan


    Then click on Samples at the very bottom of the page.
    GaryAlan likes this.
  16. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    Here is one of her hit songs, it's a mixture of Japanese and English lyrics, there are bits and pieces in her phrasing and words that do remind me of Karen's voice. "Fall In Love"
    To view you will have to click twice the play button and watch directly through You Tube.

  17. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator Thread Starter

    My favorite Akiko track is the single she did with Corinne Drewery of Swing Out Sister, the Antonio Carlos Jobim song "The Waters Of March." She sounds absolutely nothing like Karen Carpenter, or even like she sounded on the CITY OF ANGELS disc, but the track is playful, fun, and as always, catchy.


  18. Charlie D

    Charlie D Active Member

    If anyone wants to hear the entire first Akiko album message me because I can send you the MP3's by email or put them on YouTube.
  19. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Tidbit from the Official Carpenter Web Site:
    (Found under ....Misc 6, 5):
    Did you think Akiko Kobayashi sounded a lot like Karen?
    Did she remind you of it?
    Richard Carpenter:
    At times,
    and she wanted my production of her album to be reminiscent of Made In America.
  20. song4u

    song4u Well-Known Member

    It's a shame Harriet wasn't around before Richard retired. Her producer is wonderful, but I do wonder what Richard could have done with her voice.
  21. Charlie D

    Charlie D Active Member

    You mean it takes you away in a good way?
  22. motownboy

    motownboy Active Member

    Here is Akiko Kobayashi and Richard performing together in a studio setting.....

  23. Walkinat9

    Walkinat9 Active Member

    Last month I finally managed to get my hands on a copy of this CD and while listening to it, I thought it had Carpenters written all over it. Not to the least because of Richard's production, his backing vocals, Joe Osborn's familiar bass lines and the sound of Akiko's voice which at times comes close to the way Karen sounded around 1980. I thought I would only like a few tracks, but the whole CD is very enjoyable to me, I don't even need to skip tracks. Akiko sounds eerily like Karen in the background vocals (a long "haaaa..." in the song Suddenly love comes to mind right now, but on many of the other songs as well).
    I like how Richard's solo vocals open "Let's fall in love forever" and how I can even hear him singing a Japanese line in the background on "Hold me", possibly on the first track "Rainbow rainbow" as well! :wiggle:
    "How could I ask for more?" sounded to me a bit like a mix of "Two sides" and "When it's gone".
    "Beg, borrow & steal" almost could have been a track from Karen's solo album somehow, but more 80's sounding. I don't know, maybe it's the cowbell that was a bit "Lovelines"-like...
    The opening chord in "Rainbow rainbow" reminded me of Scott Grimes somehow, so I popped his CD in and I found almost exactly the same chord opening one of my favorite tracks on his album, "Call on me".
    The two songs on Akiko's album that were instant favorites for me are the carefree sounding "Only the angels know" and "China river". I didn't realize that "Only the angels know" was originally done by Linda Clifford, so I'll listen to her version in a bit...

    All in all I'm very happy to have found this CD!
  24. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    While recently in Japan, in my very basic, faltering and emergent Japanese, I asked for the Akiko CD in every second-hand music shop I went into. All the attendants recognised the name 'Carpenters' straight away, but there was some confusion about Akiko. There are a few artists of that name, including a very prolific and current one, ( so I had to find out the last name of the Akiko in question). Also, the Japanese people pronounce Akiko very differently from the way I do! (And all their other words, too! :) ) I didn't know how to say 'produced by Richard Carpenter', but all the shop attendants understood the English word, 'duet'. I didn't ever find the CD in Japan, but upon returning home, I ordered a copy online from the U.S. and it arrived last week. I quite like 'Only the Angels Know', 'China River', 'How Could I Ask for More', 'Rainbow, Rainbow', 'The Reply' and 'Put Another Memory'. A number of the other tracks have that boomy, prominent bass and quite thumpy drum sound that Richard also used on his 'Time' album. I'm not into that sound much. Also, on a number of the tracks, he seems to use a synthesiser keyboard, whereas I love his acoustic piano sound. Akiko can be a bit hit-and-miss with her notes. I think this album highlights how spot-on Karen must have been with her vocals, (as we all knew), because if Richard had electronically doctored her vocals to achieve those perfect tones and pitches, he would have done the same with Akiko, you would think. I think the three Akiko tracks that I can most imagine Karen singing are 'Only the Angels Know' and the two that Richard co-wrote:- 'How Could I Ask for More' and 'The Reply'. The album is pleasant, nice to listen to and good to have. I don't think it will become a fave, though........ Still, it does echoe the 'Carpenters' sound, which is a great thing.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2015
  25. Charlie D

    Charlie D Active Member

    The best tracks for me are "Put Another Memory", "China River", "How I Could I Ask..", "The Reply" and "Only The Angels Know". They just have so much warmth, from the arrangements to Akiko's voice. Some of the others sound pretty dated and don't work so well - almost none of Richard's "80s" productions sound any good. The titles I listed feel much more fresh and timeless, like his work with Karen.

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