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Official Review [Album]: "AS TIME GOES BY" (UICY-1060)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Sep 23, 2006.


  1. ***** (BEST)

    8 vote(s)
  2. ****

    24 vote(s)
  3. ***

    24 vote(s)
  4. **

    5 vote(s)
  5. *

    2 vote(s)
  1. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter



    Catalogue Number: UICY-1060
    Date of Release: August 1, 2002
    Format: CD

    Track Listing:

    1.) Without A Song (Music, Music, Music)
    2.) Medley: Superstar/Rainy Days And Mondays
    3.) Nowhere Man (Demo)
    4.) I Got Rhythm (Music, Music, Music)
    5.) Dancing In The Street (Space Encounters)
    6.) Dizzy Fingers (Music, Music, Music)
    7.) You're Just In Love (Music, Music, Music)
    8.) Karen/Ella Medley (Music, Music, Music)
    9.) Medley: Close Encounters/Star Wars (Space Encounters)
    10.) Leave Yesterday Behind (Outtake)
    11.) Carpenters/Como Medley (Perry Como Christmas Special, '74)
    12.) California Dreamin' (Demo)
    13.) The Rainbow Connection (Outtake)
    14.) Hits Medley '76 (Carpenters First Television Special)
    15.) And When He Smiles (1971 BBC Television Special)

    Album Notes:

    "The tracks in this collection span the years 1967-1980 and are culled from a variety of media: demos, outtakes, live performances, and television specials. The recordings encompass most of the Carpenters' recording career and are an eclectic mix, ranging from Dizzy Fingers to My Funny Valentine to Dancing in the Street. I feel my track-by-track notes will be more illuminating to the listener if they are prefaced with a capsule history of the Carpenters.

    In 1966, Karen and I had occasion to meet pre-eminent west coast studio bassist, Joe Osborn. Osborn had recently had his garage transformed into a recording studio and outfitted it with state-of-the-art recording gear, including a Scully 4-track recording console, Neumann U87 microphones and Altec 604 studio monitors. He and a partner were also the founders of a fledgling record label, Magic Lamp. Already on the roster were Johnny Burnette and Vince Edwards, amongst others, but Osborn was still looking for new acts to sign. As Joe routinely worked in the studios until midnight, Karen and I did not meet him until the wee small hours of an April morning. It was of little concern to us. Karen sang, I provided the accompaniment and on May 9, 1966 Karen signed with Magic Lamp as an artist, with me signing two days later to the publishing arm. Lightup Music. (Actually - neither one of us signed; our parents did, as we were minors, Karen 16 and I, 19.) Karen and I cut a number of sides in Joe's studio, but due to the lack of promotion and distribution, only one single by each of the label's artists was "released" before the venture folded in late 1967.

    Joe never lost faith in us, however, and in the early morning hours or on weekends, he would get behind the console and let us record; even playing bass on a number of tracks. By mid-1968, the "Carpenters sound" had been created, with all of us learning on the job. A demo tape ultimately found its way to Herb Alpert's desk in early 1969, and on April 22 of that year Herb's partner, Jerry Moss, signed Karen and me to A&M Records".

    Richard Carpenter, 2000
  2. thestitch

    thestitch Member

    It's funny you should post this topic, Chris. I played it while I was doing some major housecleaning yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it. While I certainly don't think it's of the same caliber as A Song for You, it surely ranks right up there as being one of the most interesting albums.

    I'm just as much a "Richard" fan as I am a "Karen" fan. He is such a masterful pianist who I could listen to for hours! I especially enjoyed his Close Encounters/Star Wars rendition.

    Then there are the duos with Ella and Perry. And the Rainbow Connection to which I am very partial.

    Also it was interesting to hear some of the earlier hits done in a different way with a different spin on them. One can certainly tell Karen's "young" voice from her voice later on in life. It has more depth to it somehow.

    I really did savor it yesterday and thank Richard very much for putting it together for us to enjoy.

    Jamesj75 likes this.
  3. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    This for me is an album that mops up what are probably the last tracks worthy of releasing. Curiously, although they come from almost every part of the Carpenters' careeer, it doesn't sound disjointed to me.

    What I didn't realise until the release of this collection is how much work they did behind the scenes on tracks that were purposely never meant to be heard. I was gobsmacked that they went to all the time and added expense of re-recording the Music Music Music tracks so that Richard and Karen had equivalent versions of the songs, with their own vocals on instead of those of their guests - just for their personal collections! Makes me wonder what else is in their personal collections!

    The other standout tracks are the re-recording of 'Superstar/Rainy Days', which benefits from the re-sweetened orchestra, plus 'Leave Yesterday Behind' and 'The Rainbow Connection'.Both of these really make me wonder, because Richard said in 1989 that Lovelines was the final Carpenters album, and yet here we are with another 15 magnificent tracks.

    Other favourites would have to be I Got Rythm because it's just so much fun to listen to (and to watch if you have the special it came from), and the lovely medley that Karen did with Ella. I love the special outtakes, they do the medley about 5 times, and it sounds perfect every time, but I guess something just wasn't exactly right and they went back and kept redoing it.

    The only songs that don't do it for me are the 1960s demos, the recordings are clearly inferior to the rest, and made to sound even more so when heard right after the MMM tracks in all their glory.

  4. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    This is an album on which I enjoy reading the booklet more than listening to the music. It's a pleasant album, but since it's made up of material that wasn't really meant to be released, it doesn't hold up for me. That's not to say it's bad...it just isn't as good as other Carpenters albums, nor is it meant to be, I suppose.

    But I do enjoy reading Richard's comments about the songs. I wish he would do a book, detailing all the albums song-by-song. He could go into the hassles they had with album covers, describe how they came up with titles, how the songs were selected, and how the various album concepts came about. It would be a very interesting read. A lot of this is covered in the various booklets in CDs and in the box set and on the website, but a lot more detail could be revealed.
  5. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Me too Mike! There are many artists who have gone into this in detail in books, but Richard seems very resistant to it. Maybe he didn't particularly enjoy his involvement in the Coleman book, I know it brought back a lot of memories for him, good and bad.

    This would be a more factual affair though I would have thought, and fascinating for anyone reading it, whether fans or not, because it would give an insight into the workings behind the group, something that appeals to the many readers of similar books on the Beatles, for example, which I have read although I am not an avid fan. ABBA have also done this, to a large degree helped and facilitated by Carl Magnus Palm.

    In the case of the Carpenters, it would probably work particularly well because of Richard's encyclopaedic knowledge and meticulously documented library at his home, both of which he could easily use as reference points.

  6. Dave

    Dave Well-Known Member

    Despite the "leftover" quality of this set of "Odd's and End's" it seems to be a still, very good set and worth the wait for those who still pined for something new...

    *** (Three) & a 1/2 -Stars! Though **** (Four) -Stars, if only it had been more Finished...!!

    Dave :angel:
  7. no1kandrfan

    no1kandrfan Active Member

    This was a wonderful 'bonus' when you consider, as someone else mentioned, that Richard had insinuated there was nothing left to release!

    While all the tracks are good, some of my favorites are "Dizzy Fingers" and "Nowhere Man". The "Karen/Ella Medley" is outstanding - 2 of the greatest voices music has ever known!

    Wasn't "Dancing In The Streets" considered for single release? If I'm not mistaken the fan club news letters mentioned this - of course it never happened. I always felt the song was too short.

    I really enjoy the album cover as well.

  8. Nowhere Man & Leave Yesterday Behind are wonderful to listen to, a purity in Karen's voice. New arrangment on Superstar/Rainy days and Mondays is fantastic...I especially love it when Karen sang at slower pace than original versions. Love the album cover too, sort of pastel and nostalgic.
  9. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    W/O A Song is the frontrunner for me. Partly cuz I was sooo surprised when Karen took the lead. Partly cuz the harmonies were exquisite.

    Hey, I've got my troubles and woes...

  10. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Such an interesting potpourri of music on this recording.
    It certainly gives a snapshot of all of the interesting types of music that K&R dabbled with.
    Also, it spotlights how Karen's delivery changed through the years.
    Nowhere Man and California Dreamin' are my favorite, here.
    Of course, the Como Medley is outstanding, too.
    Needless to say, another cd, with songs interpreted by K&R , unfamiliar to most of the general public.
    Too bad, as it deserves to be heard.
  11. I think this was a gift to all the fans and they should appreciate all and everything even if they don't like something. I don't love every single song they did but why can't we all appreciate and celebrate the greatest music to ever grace the face of this planet.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  12. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    Right and since the end has come....we should enjoy what we have been given because there will be no more. So glad Richard decided to release this CD. I have 2 copies, one is opened and the other is still sealed from Japan w/ OBI.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  13. Dave60640

    Dave60640 Active Member

    Love this collection! If it contained "Dance In The Old Fashioned Way" and "Make Me Laugh" it would be my favorite :wink:
    Mark-T likes this.
  14. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Caveat: This is not my review! It is written by (presumably) a music journalist.
    Do not read any further if you are easily offended!

    Review by Tim Sendra (ALLMUSIC)

    As Time Goes By is a collection of songs taken from demos, live shows, and television performances recorded by the Carpenters between 1967 and 1980. In his liner notes Richard Carpenter says this is a record for hardcore Carpenters fans only and he is right. The songs from the various TV specials the duo recorded are cute, mostly versions of standards like "I Got Rhythm," versions of the hits of the day, and Richard Carpenter instrumentals. Apart from the pretty take on the Wildweeds' country-rock-influenced "And When He Smiles," a song that should have been a hit for them if they had officially released it, the best of the lot is the duet on a medley of standards by Karen Carpenter and Ella Fitzgerald from 1980. While Ella is near the end of the road vocally, it is interesting to have two of the most precise singers ever trading verse back and forth. The "Carpenters/Como Medley" is also fun but much cheesier. The disc also includes a couple of songs that were previously unreleased ("Leave Yesterday Behind," a sweetly sung ballad recorded for a TV movie of the same name, and "The Rainbow Connection," which features a typically charming vocal from Karen as well as their versions of "California Dreamin'" and "Nowhere Man" from the original demos that got the band its record deal). The only problem with the outtakes and rarities here are that Carpenter felt the need to go in and fix, sweeten, or totally refurnish the songs. Perhaps he just has too much free time, perhaps he is an obsessive tinkerer. Whatever the excuse, the archival value of the songs has been tampered with and that makes the songs less valuable somehow. If indeed this set is designed with Carpenters diehards in mind, wouldn't they have liked to hear the original version of "Nowhere Man," the one-track mono version? Richard proudly boasts that he transferred the acetate disc to a 48-track, leaving him "47 tracks with which to play." Fine and dandy, but why not put the original on the disc and then follow it with the new version for comparison's sake? Or just listen to your new version at home and let the fans get a chance to hear an extremely rare and no doubt very interesting piece of Carpenters history? As for the tracks like "The Rainbow Connection" and the "Superstar/Rainy Days and Mondays" medley,Richard drenches his sister's vocals with strings and background singers when he should have left them alone. Maybe he just doesn't understand that people don't really care about his arrangements. What they care most about are his sister's vocals. As it is, he has done Karen and Carpenters fans a big disservice by tampering with artifacts that could have made for a very interesting disc. It still might be worthwhile to have for the material from the television specials and to hear Karen's voice again, however.
    ThaFunkyFakeTation likes this.
  15. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I don't think there's a single sentence in that review that's untrue. Spot on actually, especially with regards to 'Nowhere Man'.
    ThaFunkyFakeTation likes this.
  16. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Now, I need to find where I (mis-) placed that unsweetened "Nowhere Man" demo! It is a Gem.
    Seriously, thanks for taking the time to delve into alternative meanderings, as I locate them!
    Always fascinating, and informative, to get forum members' viewpoints on the extant literature.
  17. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Look no further! :). Infinitely better than the ATGB version.

  18. BrandonBarry

    BrandonBarry Member

    The demo unsweetened version is immaculate, and one of Karen's best readings. Seriously, her gift was in full effect even at that young age, I can think of singers twice her age then who couldn't come near that level of emotive feeling.
    byline likes this.
  19. byline

    byline Active Member

    While I understand this criticism, I will point out a possibility that's easy to forget: Richard still yearned to arrange for his sister. There's no doubt in my mind that he loved arranging for her. Not just arranging in general, but arranging for her. When that was stolen from him with her death, his only way of doing it was to rearrange previously existing material. We can criticize it on a listener's level, but for Richard, it was an act of artistic expression ... and I don't think it's too much of a stretch to describe it as an act of love for Karen. I try to be generous of heart with Richard, as much as I can be. After all, we fans lost a voice we adore. But Richard lost that and so much more.
    GaryAlan, Geographer and A&M Retro like this.
  20. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Certainly, I agree with that outlook, Byline.
    Indeed, at the time of its release (at the time of all of the post-1983 releases, in fact)
    I was more than thrilled to listen to anything that was made publicly available.
    That being said, as the years progress, and I re-listen to all of the available material,
    I do so with more of an 'ear' toward historical expediency/accuracy.
    In other words, I tend to prefer the un-remixed, un-doctored musical offerings, which
    give me a reflection of the 'times' , the conditions, under which a recording was actually first created.
    As an example, I prefer the Nowhere Man demo, even though I totally enjoy that which is
    available on the 'As Time Goes By' authorized release. And, again, removing the synthesizer from
    Those Good Old Dreams does not sit well with me, even though I still enjoy later remixes.
    (I often wonder if "Only Yesterday" was imagined first as an edited song(3m45s)--
    knowing that it was intended to be released as a single, then 'completed'
    for the Horizon album ( at 4m10s) ?)
    Ave Maria may have been written for choral parts, but that performance which was placed on Vinyl
    in 1978, interests me much more.
    With the advent of compact disc in the 1980's, I wonder if Richard would have done the remixing regardless.
    And, while I do understand Richard Carpenters' desire to do many things to the recordings---I'll never get rid of
    my vinyl !
  21. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    Speaking of vinyl, I sure wish 'As Time Goes By' had been released on LP.
    KevCav333 and GaryAlan like this.
  22. this is been in the car CD the last 3 weeks while traveling and it truly shows off Richard's musicianship and giving us
    half of a dozen NEW songs with Karen's voice - Loving it - with proper A&M promo this should have been Grammy nominated ~~DIZZY FINGERS - is baffling ~!
  23. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    And....I love the novelty ATGB encompasses.
    BrandonBarry likes this.
  24. BrandonBarry

    BrandonBarry Member

    The album cover is a beautiful, but very wistful snapshot; Karen sleeping peacefully with heavenly white light glowing behind her...and Richard turning away, out of focus and in deep thought which he keeps to himself. He couldn't have picked a more fitting "final" album cover.
    byline likes this.
  25. I dunno. I DO care, and like very much, Richard's arrangemets. And I think at the heart of it, especially with all the back and forth regarding Karen's solo album, that we are of one of two camps: Carpenters fans or Karen Carpenter fans. I am firmly in the former as I value what Richard did with Karen's vocals just as much as I like Karen's vocals. In many posts here it sounds like Ricard is cast as some interloper invading into Karen's vocals (how dare he?!). But for me, I find each individually good, but together it was "magic."
    Harry and byline like this.

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