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

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 8 10.7%
  • ****

    Votes: 30 40.0%
  • ***

    Votes: 30 40.0%
  • **

    Votes: 5 6.7%
  • *

    Votes: 2 2.7%

  • Total voters
    75

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
[Moderator: Posts about the KAREN CARPENTER STORY were moved to that thread in the Insider Forum.]
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Beyond a doubt, my favorite tracks on As Time Goes By are the early recordings:
NoWhere Man and California Dreamin'. Which point brings me to a question:
Why hasn't Richard cleaned-up and released Your Navy Presents sessions ? They are terrific and one of
the few instances where Mr. Guder is slowed in tempo, altered a bit and sounds great (Flat Baroque is also slower and better).
Their recording of Can't Buy Me Love is distinctive and also deserves notice.
While I am listening to early material, might also include the instrumental Strangers In The Night, it is creative.
Of course, the point in all of this is that Carpenters' were much more than just Close To You type songs.
 
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GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
The TV show Make Room For Daddy featured Tony Bennett singing Without A Song, Jan 1959.
Surely makes me appreciate--all the more--what Karen and Richard did with the song !
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
I am not a Tony Bennett fan but his performance gave me chills. I thought it to be solid and interpretative with a good arrangement.
But I always prefer Karen.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
The leads are opposite to the leads in Carpenters' rendition.
Judy Garland & Bing Crosby, You're Just In Love:
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Paul Williams discusses Rainbow Connection...Richard Carpenter mentioned at 8 min:

Fantastic interview of a legendary song. For all of his obvious talent, Richard's question to Paul about the song proved that he didn't get it. That alone should have told him not to go near it. He didn't get it and Karen sang it like she didn't either. Kermit's version is absolutely perfect. Sarah McLachlan's version is about as good as it gets otherwise. Have a listen:


Rather than get cute with it, Sarah kept it somber. She also put the lyric and her producer kept the music simple so she could put it across. She's also quite clearly involved with it. It still lacks the power of Kermit's but it's still very good.

It stands to reason that Kermit's original version is the only one that hit. It was a #25 hit when it was released.

Ed
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Sarah McLachlan's song "Into The Fire" (from 1991 "Solace") is my favorite song from Sarah!!

I'm not a huge Sarah fan but she has a phenomenal voice. My favorite of hers is from "Charlotte's Web": "Ordinary Miracle". Gorgeous tune. I'll look up "Into the Fire".

Ed
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I was just listening to “The Rainbow Connection” today, and I disagree. I think Karen did a good job on it for a work lead, especially where she builds up on “all of us under its spell, it’s probably magic”. Made me feel like I was in the sky surfing around a rainbow and started to ride up the rainbow on an updraft. And the toy piano helped add to the effects. (It’s too bad that for the CD single, or even the album, A&M and Universal didn’t use the 80’s MCA “Rainbow” label for the CD label, rather than the generic white label with cut outs for the words.)
 

Proudofyou

Well-Known Member
She sings flawlessly on anything. I just can't take the children's piano. It grates on my nerves like nothing else. (except Jambalaya)
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
So, I have never heard the entire Kermit rendition of Rainbow Connection until today,
I gave it a listen. Also, to be honest, I had not listened to Karen and Richard's version in quite a long while.

Notwithstanding that the Kermit original is perhaps without equal (Sarah McLachlan and Kenny Loggins do nicely,
I like the duet Kermit does with Debbie Harry),I will add that Karen's 1980 work lead is incredibly good.
Let me emphasize: it is a work lead !
The only thing I would change for Richard's arrangement is the choir--
it should be (imho) a children's choir--
although the O.K. chorale (added: 1999) is adequate !

Ultimately, Karen sings beautifully and I like Richard's overall arrangement.
In the direction Richard was heading at the time (1980) I can see why he chose the tune.
If you notice on Youtube, the Carpenters' version is highly viewed and well received (comment section).
I am glad we have it (even if Karen disliked it !).
 
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ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
So, I have never heard the entire Kermit rendition of Rainbow Connection until today,
I gave it a listen. Also, to be honest, I had not listened to Karen and Richard's version in quite a long while.

Notwithstanding that the Kermit original is perhaps without equal (Sarah McLachlan and Kenny Loggins do nicely,
I like the duet Kermit does with Debbie Harry),I will add that Karen's 1980 work lead is incredibly good.
Let me emphasize: it is a work lead !
The only thing I would change for Richard's arrangement is the choir--
it should be (imho) a children's choir--
although the O.K. chorale (added: 1999) is adequate !

Ultimately, Karen sings beautifully and I like Richard's overall arrangement.
In the direction Richard was heading at the time (1980) I can see why he chose the tune.
If you notice on Youtube, the Carpenters' version is highly viewed and well received (comment section).
I am glad we have it (even if Karen disliked it !).

So many things about Kermit's version are right; it's not just about Jim's vocal. It's also Paul Williams' production, the arrangement (w/ banjo front and center), Ian Freebairn-Smith's string arrangement - it's all just spot-on. The modulation to the last verse packs far more of a punch on this version than on any other by a wide margin. That it managed to become a decent-sized hit is pretty amazing in and of itself and just shows us the popularity of the Muppets back then.

That original version is just impossible to follow and few have been able to do it with any effectiveness at all.

Ed
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Out of curiosity, there are two Carpenters' "Why" songs that open with the word Why that spring to mind:
Close To You: "Why do birds suddenly appear..."
Rainbow Connection: "Why are there so many songs about rainbows..."
What are the opening notes/keys/range ?

It is interesting that Paul Williams' We've Only Just Begun opened the decade (1970s)
and his Rainbow Connection closed the decade.
Much as I like the later tune, it is the former Paul William's tune that is a knockout in my mind.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^Glad you caught that one !

So, three Carpenters' songs with "Why" openings:
(1) "Why do birds suddenly appear...."
(2) "Why are there so many songs about rainbows..."
(3) "Why does the sun go on shining..."

I am not a musician, so, I ask: what are those notes ?
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Little Girl Blue mentions
Rainbow Connection, quoting Paul Williams (page 234).
There is some ambiguity, as the book states "they wished to record Rainbow Connection...they loved the songs from the movie...
but, Richard was bothered by the syllabification of the song. (Schmidt).
"Richard wanted me to change some of it," Williams recalls (page 235).
Then, Schmidt writes: "they took artistic license and altered the rhythm and melody to suit their wishes..."(page 235).
The way this this written makes it appear as if Karen were fully part of the decision to make the changes to the song,
which goes against the idea that Richard made the song selection for the album Made In America-- independently
of Karen (since this is an outtake from the recording sessions for that album).
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I found this review of the album tucked away on the allmusic.com site. Quite an interesting - if acerbic - take on things and the ‘tinkering’ comment reminded me of the frustration of some regarding the RPO album:

As Time Goes By 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.


 
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