1. The new Carpenters recording with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is now available for preorder! Use this link to preorder, and help us out at the same time. Thank you!

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. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    I see what you're getting at, but I'm not sure the distinction is quite as clear-cut as all that. I have huge respect for Richard as a musician and much admiration for many of his arrangements (particularly from the 1969-1975 era). However, the thing that first attracted me (and I imagine to most of the public) to their music was Karen's voice. Granted, Richard's framing of Karen's voice was an important factor, but the voice sounded great on pretty much everything they recorded and was often the only saving grace on some of their later material.

    Up to 1975, I'd agree that together they were largely 'magic'. But beyond then, I'd say the magic became much more sporadic and that . Whilst I'm sure not everyone would agree with me on this, it's possible that Karen could have created something equally 'magic' with another producer (and on a few tracks I think she came close to doing this with Phil Ramone). Richard, on the other hand, relied completely on Karen in order to be able to produce this 'magic'.

    Coming back to the AllMusic review of As Time Goes By, I can understand the reviewer's frustration to some extent. We've discussed both Richard's and Karen's desire for 'perfection' in their recording and at times (such as in their live performances and in all the remixing done to tracks in the last 30 years) I'm not sure it's always been for the good. Sometimes 'imperfection' (or 'this is what it was') is more satisfying than something that's been reworked to get closer to attaining perfection (or 'this is what in hindsight I'd like it to have been'), particularly on the early demo tracks, which by their very definition aren't supposed to sound complete.
  2. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Once again, I am enjoying all of the interesting perspectives from thoughtful members!
    Geographer makes an interesting point regarding perception of two 'camps': however, as
    is my custom, I respectfully disagree. Keep in mind, there are so many things I have always loved
    about Carpenters' records--and, obviously Karen Carpenter's voice has been the 'glue' which holds it together.
    I also consider songs like Yesterday Once More, Goodbye to Love, Merry Christmas Darling, Only Yesterday,
    Top of the World.....as some of the greatest pop music ever recorded--these, just some of Richard's compositions.
    And, overall--with a few exceptions--I have always held Richard Carpenter's arrangements in high regard.
    Even so, it has always been that Karen Carpenter is one of the--if not, THE--greatest vocalist of all time.
    As for my reasoning for disagreement:
    Recall, the-
    (1) 1979 Billboard News article wherein Herb Alpert had to reassure that Carpenters were not splitting up due
    to Karen recording her solo album.
    (2) The same was reiterated ,forcefully, in the official Carpenters' Fan Club Newsletters.
    (3) Phil Ramone was told to keep the same in mind--no split.
    And, yet, in the end, she--or, rather, Karen's recordings were shelved, album cancelled.
    (4) Reason given: that Richard was ready to 'get back to work on a Carpenters' album'.
    (5) Read the June 1981 Press Kit for Made in America---it is Richard all the way--I do not hear any complaints about that separation.
    (6) And, there are more instances where the "separation" is made evident. (compare early concerts to later concerts, for instance)
    So, it is not "we" that created this perceived separation into two camps: it is Richard and Herb who promulgated this perception.
    Rumbahbah, also, brings up salient factors, and (especially) regarding the perfectionism, I agree!
  3. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    I bought this promo poster off ebay many years ago and finally had it framed a couple years ago. I checked Billboard for the US release in 2004 but could not find any promotion ads. This is a smaller sized poster and I have not seen any other promos for this album, so maybe this was the Promo Ad that ran for the US release. It's hard to see from the photo (I took with my iPhone) but there is an A&M logo and Universal logo on the bottom right corner. The poster which is not perfect (has some wrinkling on the corner) was professional matted & framed. The guy who owned the frame shop showed me many options and I decided to go with a darker blue frame accented with a chrome border inside and out that I feel gives it a retro car (chrome) look, the blue sorta picks up Karen's jeans and the chrome on the frame really pick up all the chrome in the car.

    Harry feel free to ad this close up shot to the resource site if you'd like.

  4. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Too bad about the grammatical error: It should either be "The collection spans..." or "The collections span..." and since this was a one-disc collection, the first one would be correct.
    byline likes this.
  5. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    Good point.
  6. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    Beautiful album artwork. K and R needed more Annie on board save HORIZON sessions.
  7. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Many of the non-American flyers, and album liner notes and sleeves,too,
    contain what we ( 'natural' born English-speaking) would consider 'grammatical' errors.
    I always assumed it was more an issue of translation/cultural issues, instead of
    true errors of syntax or grammar.
  8. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    Now that you bring up the grammatical error, I wonder if this could have been a Japan promo ad that ran in 2001 or was this a US promo ad from 2004? I took a close up shot of the logos on the bottom. Did the Universal logo for Japan differ from the Universal logo for the US?

  9. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    In the US, AS TIME GOES BY was released under the "Chronicles" division of Universal, but I think the logo for Universal remains the same.
  10. It would have been sweet to get a few more songs of Karen singing and Richard playing like the demo of "Nowhere Man." Maybe Richard could do that for an encore, strip away the instruments and just let it be him and Karen.

    P.S. I do love Richard's arrangments and the fact that he never had squeaky strings.
  11. arthowson

    arthowson Active Member

    Is Richard's fly undone? I don't think I've seen the full version of the photo before.
  12. byline

    byline Active Member

    I can't imagine that it was. I think it's shadows playing tricks, nothing more.
  13. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Two questions:
    (1) Rainbow Connection....is that the O.K. Chorale, or children's choir, in the background?
    I wish the song were structured more as the song "Sing", with children prominently placed in the arrangement.
    Was the song 'arranged' at the time of recording the lead vocals, or is the arrangement a product of how Richard
    Carpenter did things in the "choir" years ?
    (2) Leave Yesterday Behind....Again, I like the lead vocals. However the arrangement needs 'punch'. Was this an
    arrangement thought up at the time of recording the lead vocal, or in the much later period when it was decided
    to release--to finish--the song ?
  14. Charlie D

    Charlie D Active Member

    I don't think I've ever heard anything about when the arranging was done on "Leave Yesterday Behind". I feel that the basic structure of it was maybe thought of, but even in its final form its pretty low-key. Like other work leads Karen does a beautiful job here, and the song/arrangement has such a fresh, atmospheric quality to it. I always vividly imagine the wide open countryside at sunset with Karen wistfully gazing off into it. The lonely harmonica adds so much to the feeling of the lyrics.
  15. ScottyB

    ScottyB Active Member

    I actually really do like this album a lot. It's got that same "raw" feeling of their early albums (Ticket, Close & S/T). The thing that I was wondering though:
    This disc contains the song "And When He Smiles" from the BBC TV Special from 1971. It's a very clean version without the applause. However, on that same special, Karen was the only vocalist on "Love Is Surrender", with Karen covering the lead part that Richard had performed on the officially released recording. I was just wondering if there has ever or if there will ever be a release of this version; clean (without applause), just like "Smiles".
    Don Malcolm likes this.
  16. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    The Release Date listed at the beginning of this 'Review' Thread is
    August 1st, 2002.
    Is that date, instead ,supposed to be 2001 ?
    Just wondering.
  17. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    The Japan-issued Three song cd entitled
    Rainbow Connection
    for As Time Goes By
    appears to have an issue date of July 25th, 2001.....
    preceding the release of the album cd by a week.
  18. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    The first post in the thread has a typo. AS TIME GOES BY was issued in 2001 in Japan and 2004 in the US.
  19. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    International artists releases (1989-2003 June) certifications :
    Japan Sales of the Album,
    As Time Goes By
    100,000 Copies.
  20. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    I remember I was in high school at the time that The Rainbow Connection had been released in 2001, and looked up its chart information in Japan and the one site I had found that I could read had it in the Top 5. And then I remember getting my import copy through my local CD store in 2002, right around the same time that Spider-Man was in theaters. It's to bad that A&M never released The Rainbow Connection as a single in Canada or the US in 2004, since I wonder how it would've done on the charts (especially in light of, over the past decade, all the older artists that have had hits, like Barry Manilow in from 2005-2009 with his Decades discs, Rod Stewart with his American Songbook CD's, the Beach Boys in 2012, even from 2004 to 2015 Brian Wilson has had a number of solo hits). Maybe it would've been a Top 10 hit.
  21. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    The only problem is that there was zero promotion for the album from Richard. It's such a shame, because the album contained lots of gems. If he'd gotten behind it and recorded some promo spots or a special about its release, it could have really gained momentum. Plenty of the tracks on the album contained supporting visual promos, which would have made the job even easier. As it stands, it sank without a trace in most territories. To this day, I still wonder why he went to all the effort to release it if he wasn't prepared to help promote it. It was such an important album given its archival relevance.
    GaryAlan likes this.
  22. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    And it's also to bad that Richard never finished his solo Christmas album from the same period.
  23. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    The Liner Notes for
    As Time Goes By
    "....'old-school' pop-singers would not use headphones in the studio and sing to a pre-recorded track...."
    "....Karen and I, being Studio Animals, were used to both...." (i.e., "both" lip-sync and the studio use of headphones.)

    Which statement got me to thinking about the clip (1971) where Karen and Richard are in the studio, headphones on,
    finishing the overdubbing for Hurting Each Other.
    Now, when I used to wear headphones--and sing--I could not stay in tune. I could not hear myself sing with the headphones on.
    How did the duo accomplish this task ?
    That is, if both were in the Studio--singing back-up to Karen's pre-recorded lead vocal, with headphones on--
    How did they manage to stay "in-tune", to the pre-recorded Lead and to each other ?

    Another question, while reading these Liner Notes:
    There is no Lead for And When He Smiles,
    because---as Richard states--"...but, since Karen was the drummer, there is no 'work-lead'....."

    Does the statement imply that any time Karen was utilized for drumming, there was no "work lead" ?
    Perhaps, this is the explanation as to Why Karen is not used much for drumming on the recordings.
    If Richard desired--or wanted--"work leads" on every recording, then Karen would not be drumming for same.
    Just my pet theory of the day.
  24. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Karen would not sing the work lead while laying down a drum track for two reasons:

    1. The work lead would 'bleed' into the drum mikes, making it impossible to mix the drums later during mixdown or add effects without this affecting the lead. Richard would probably never have had her doing both simultaneously as the work lead ended up on occasion being used as the final lead vocal and he wouldn't have wanted to take the risk.

    2. Karen would probably have wanted to get to know the song and put some emotion and concentration into it. Despite her being an ace at doing both, I'm sure she preferred to be behind a mic and "give it her all" despite it just being a work lead.

    When they sang with the headphones on they would hear the vocals already laid down as well as the new line they are singing live, all fed through the phones, allowing them to 'hear' their own voice live against the pre-recorded vocal track(s). It does come with practice if you keep at it. Another thing some singers do is listen with the headphones on one ear but pulled off the other one, so they can hear their voice through the ear they don't have covered up.
    Mary Beth likes this.
  25. John Tkacik

    John Tkacik Active Member

    According to Rick Henry's research in his "Album By Album" publication, it sounds like "Leave Yesterday Behind" was recorded in a small amount of time in 1978. The tv movie that it was supposed to appear in was televised in May. So from start to finish, it probably had very little if any "shelf time".

Share This Page

Users Viewing Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 0)