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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. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I forgot to add "and vice versa". The drums would leak into Karen's mic making it impossible to isolate her vocal during mixing.
  2. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the information !
    I am still a bit perplexed.
    Karen, then, did not drum and sing "at once" when recording for a song on which she both drummed and sang lead ?
    Her vocals were always on an isolated track ? That is, a separate track from the lead vocals ?
    I suppose what I am asking is: did each session player do a separate recording of their part for the song,
    and, only in the final process was it all mixed together ?
    And, yet, we still have the flawless concert performances--everyone--every band member and vocalists--- in sync.
  3. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Once they were underway as recording artists, I doubt Richard would ever have had Karen drumming and laying down a lead vocal at the same time for the reasons I mentioned. Each track (vocal, bass, drums etc) need to be recorded in isolation so they can be cleanly mixed.

    Backing vocals would have been done one harmony at a time, then another and another until all the harmonies were complete. Sometimes they would be left on separate tracks, or sometimes all "bounced" onto one track to free up the other tracks for other instruments (strings, woodwinds and the like). This is why studios now have 48 track recording, which leaves plenty of room to create a wide stereoscopic sound.

    Basic elements (bass, piano, drums) would be recorded at the same time with the musicians all playing along with each other but in isolation from one another. Again, this is done so all tracks can be mixed and balanced individually. For instance, if your piano was recorded on the same mic (and therefore the same track) as your drums and the drums are too loud, you'd be unable to "turn down" the drums because they're locked into the same track as the piano: turn one down and you turn them both down.

    This is why everything is recorded separately and why a sound engineer is essential to any artist: they make the finished recording sound like it was all done at once in the same room together. The Carpenters had Roger Young and ABBA had Michael B. Tretow to help work this magic.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2016
    GaryAlan likes this.
  4. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Excerpted from
    Paul Williams Interview here:
    Paul Williams – Interview With A Legend »

    Q: what do you think you will be remembered for the most?

    I would hope that it is what’s found in
    “Rainbow Connection,”
    which has the most important line that I think I have ever written in a song
    and that’s:
    Who said that every wish would be heard and answered when wished on the morning star,
    Somebody thought of that and somebody believed it, Look what it’s done so far,

    Follow your faith to a better life and be good, you know, you give a little love, and it all comes back to you.
    Mary Beth likes this.
  5. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I read in the Liner Notes (and this re-affirms what Joe Osborne stated regarding the reason
    Karen did not drum more often on the recordings):
    And When He Smiles.....
    "...but, since Karen is the drummer, there is no 'work lead' ... this is a live recording."

    What I do find interesting is that in every instance where Karen does drum and
    perform lead vocals on a song, the result is incredible !
    A few examples....
    And When He Smiles
    Please Mr. Postman
    This Masquerade
    The Bacharach Medley
  6. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    There's no reason why she couldn't lay the drum track down and then get up and add a lead vocal at a later time, as she did in the very early days. I think the problem came when they started recording some very sophisticated material and they all preferred Karen to add a scratch vocal while they recorded the backing track, so they could get a better feel for how the songs should sound. She couldn't do both without her vocals bleeding into the drum mics.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2017
  7. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^And, additionally, I mention the entire Offering LP,
    while not indicative of later Carpenters' material,
    it manages to show Karen drumming and singing lead.
    I do wonder exactly how Offering was recorded in the studio--
    that is, how the vocals were laid along with the drumming, too.
    That is, were their not fewer "tracks" to physically record onto, when it comes to Offering,
    as compared to later albums ?

    I still ascertain that the 'myth' that Karen was not "strong" enough to record
    the drums, for the studio recordings, needs to be dispelled completely.
    Perhaps, as the result of her illness (post 1975) she did not have the energy
    to do both (lead vocals and drums) on the studio recordings,
    but certainly pre-1975 she did both in excellent form.
    Jeff likes this.
  8. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Karen would have recorded her vocals the only way they would have been able to, namely in a separate recording session after the basic rhythm track - including drums - had been laid down.

    The way they would get round not having enough tracks is to start recording the basic tracks (on a four-track recorder or whatever) and as they began to fill them up, "bounce" one or more existing tracks together into one new track to free up the spare track for something else, like vocals or strings. The only problem with doing this is that it becomes almost impossible to remix the tracks properly at a later stage because several instruments are "locked" into one track.

    Richard talks about similar limitations in the liner notes for As Time Goes By, with reference to the song California Dreaming:

    "Another demo from Joe Osborn's studio, circa 1968. This one, however, is on the one 4-track that Joe gave to me. Even though the most important ingredient on tape, the lead, is on its own track, the bass, piano, drums and string machine were all bounced to another track, leaving two open; for what, I can't remember. As a result, in 1999, we transferred the 4-track to 48-track and redid everything, including my electric piano solo. I finally got around to putting real strings on the track instead of those on the Chamberlain Music Master that was on the demo".
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2017
    GaryAlan likes this.
  9. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    We read that Paul Riser was "hired" to arrange the short piece which we hear on this album,
    Dancing In The Streets. We also know that he was involved with the song I Believe You--all in 1978.
    Now, my question is this:
    The spectacular performance on The All-American College Show--Dancing In The Streets--
    why is that audio still unreleased ? It is awesome all around.
    Did Richard Carpenter arrange that earlier piece ?
    It does everything which they were attempting in those later Concerts:
    It spotlights each performer individually (RC on keyboards, KC on drums)
    and the arrangement is creative, the vocals on target. Who needs more !
    Chris Mills likes this.
  10. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    It might have something to do with the mic Karen was using, her vocal sounded muffled.
  11. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I think the recording and actual performance are way below their usual standards. The microphone is either sub standard or defective because Karen's vocal is not clear at all and she's singing slightly out of tune at one or two points in the verses. Compare this to the voice of the presenter when he speaks - we can hear him loud and clear, so something was definitely off with the mic Karen used.

    The combined sound (and mix) of electric piano, upright bass and drums together is also less than effective and has always jarred with me.

    All in all, I'd say that's a performance he'd never release on an audio collection.
  12. ars nova

    ars nova Active Member

    I doubt carpenters held any rights to that performance.
  13. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I see where my enthusiasm for that earlier
    Dancing In The Streets
    is not shared by others !
    Which, of course, I understand:
    As, it is not, by any means, a polished--perfect-- performance, as Carpenters came to be known for.
    In fact, it seems reminiscent of the Ticket To Ride dichotomy:
    I love the Offering version, not because it is perfect, but because of its authenticity--for want of a better word.
    That earlier Ticket shows me how brilliant Richard was with arranging; it also showcases Karen's drumming,
    even if her vocals were still in development.
    So, the earlier Dancing In The Streets is very much a "work in progress",
    still it is creative and a pointer to that future sound.
    Perfect, or not, it is rather fascinating !
    Brian likes this.
  14. BarryT60

    BarryT60 Well-Known Member

    I like this album. Several new unheard gems... What a thrilling opportunity to hear Karen wrap her vocal prowess around new melodies! I recall getting the same excitement I had as a teenager - when hearing Leave Yesterday Behind, Rainbow Connection and the demo items for the first time. I actually staggered for weeks, the new songs... purposely, to stretch out the excitement.

    I sure don't mind RC sweetening the mixes on the old songs... I imagine that he too, had the same excitement taking the components and remixing, rearranging - to obtain a new fresh version of the original familiar demo issues.

    Two thumbs up on the ability to listen digitally to the Como and Fitzgerald duets also.

    Delighted the album was released, and looking forward to the last of the outtakes one of these fine days, should Richard ever change his mind... :)

    I'll never know what makes the rain to fall
    I'll never know what makes that grass so tall
    I only know there ain't no love at all
    Without a song
    newvillefan, Chris Mills and GaryAlan like this.
  15. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I was amazed and delighted we even got this album. I remember a radio documentary about the duo in 2000 - before the album's release - and underneath a particular piece of narrative was a snippet of this song playing... I knew it was Richard and Karen singing and I also knew it was a track I had never heard before. It wasn't even a song from the box set. I strained my ears but couldn't quite hear what they were singing, all I could hear was the rhythm, which reminded me of Those Good Old Dreams. Later that year when I finally got my hands on the long awaited collection of unreleased gems, I immediately recognised and was able to hear, in all its glory, what I'd heard months before: You're Just In Love.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
    Chris Mills likes this.
  16. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    Correct me if I'm wrong, wasn't it Elaine Paige who voiced the documentary/interview?
  17. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Yes I think it was! It must have been for BBC Radio 2, which I listened to a lot back then and which Elaine still has her own shows with today.
    Chris Mills likes this.
  18. Graeme

    Graeme Active Member

    It was. I seem to remember it also included part of the Karen and Ella duet that faded during My Funny Valentine. Tantalising! I think I still have it on tape or minidisc somewhere.
    Chris Mills likes this.
  19. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Yes I remember that as well, little snippets fading in and out and I was thinking where on earth have they got these tracks from? Obviously at the time I heard the radio special I didn't know this album was in the can and due for release in the UK.
    Chris Mills likes this.
  20. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    I'm sure the 1980 Music Music Music version of Knowing When To Leave was also played for some reason, can't remember why.
  21. Graeme

    Graeme Active Member

    Had a quick listen to the section of the documentary covering the early 1980s and Music Music Music but no sign of Knowing When To Leave.

    Actually, listening to the Karen and Ella duet you get to hear all of My Funny Valentine and it fades at the beginning of Someone To Watch Over Me. I'd forgotten how good this documentary was with the interviews with Karen (the amusing disagreement between Karen and Richard regarding how long it took them to relax when they took their first vacation in years leads into You're Just In Love). Worryingly I still think of the radio show as recent. Is it really around 17 years old?
    Chris Mills likes this.
  22. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    The 1968 All American College Show performance of 'Dancing in the Streets' is full of energy, character and musicality and demonstrates the talents of Karen and Richard. The 1978 version is dull and Karen's vocal ability is not evident. This recording is luck-lustre and unimpressive. I'd never made the connection that the same guy who arranged the 1978 version also arranged 'I Believe You'. He certainly lifted his game for that.

    I'm positive that Richard arranged the 1968 version. I can see that the audio quality of this may not be good enough for release. It would be great to have video of all the All American College Show appearances mastered from the original tapes and officially released, DVD quality, though.
    Eyewire likes this.
  23. Eyewire

    Eyewire Well-Known Member

    I prefer the 1968 version as well. It's not a perfect performance, but it's live, raw, and performed with so much joie de vivre. They really look like they enjoy jammin' with each other. The 1978 version is nice but a bit too polished for me.
    Brian likes this.
  24. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    I agree that the 1978 version is too polished. I actually don't like it. I find it mundane and characterless and I don't really like the way that Karen sounds. You're right about the 1968 version, too - not perfect, but fantastic for what it is.
  25. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    I'd agree with that. Really it showcased their instrumental abilities more than anything else.

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