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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. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    I am under no illusions that AS TIME GOES BY ever would have been any kind of big hit album, but I also feel that Universal kind of cut their own throats by issuing it in Japan years before they allowed it to be issued elsewhere. As others have stated, we all knew about it, and we all ordered it from CD Japan, or HMV, or other Japanese retailers. The albums was in our hands and in our collections long before it was finally issued in the US and UK and elsewhere. So it had no chance of attracting large audiences outside of Japan.

    I also agree that the disc plays like a succession of outtakes. It's composed of television soundtracks with guest stars, sometimes replaced; it's got old demo recordings spruced up for modern day as best that could be accomplished or expected; and it's got some medleys of familiar songs that allow us to hear familiar Carpenters songs done in a slight;y different way, not to mention some instrumental tracks. As such, it doesn't feel like a real "album". It feels like Disc Five of FROM THE TOP or THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION where we got to hear other snippets of commercials and TV show recordings.

    That doesn't mean I don't like it. I treasure it a great deal, and as I stated above, if nothing else, it was worth buying twice for "And When He Smiles".
    CraigGA likes this.
  2. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    I’ve always enjoyed ATGB very much. For me, finally hearing Karen’s performance of ‘The Rainbow Connection’ was in itself worth the price of admission.
  3. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    Do you think Karen could have done something similar to this? Could Karen surpass 2 million views? I think YES!!

  4. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    As Time Goes By I find has more of the throwback feel with its songs to the pre-1975 albums, where we were getting the "group Carpenters" rather than the "Karen of the Carpenters" that we saw with the 1975-1989 non-seasonal albums. I find it is more like A Song For You or Close To You or Now & Then with the Richard instrumental tracks and duets. It's to bad that You're Just In Love or Dizzy Fingers was not included as a "B" side on The Rainbow Connection CD single.

    As for the medley's, on both the self-title and Now & Then, as well as Christmas Portrait & An Old-Fashioned Christmas we had medley's, not to mention the two Live albums (and on Live In Japan we even had an outsider providing vocals). I mean, all of side 2 of Now & Then was the Yesterday Once More Medley, Aside from the Bacharach/David Medley and the instrumentals, all the other medley's had Richard vocals.

    And TV recordings, well, we've seen that ever since Christmas Portrait when Richard apparently recycled Carol of The Bells from the Perry Como Christmas Show appearance, and quite a few of the other tracks were from The Carpenters At Christmas.

    As for demo's, well we've had demos and portions of demos ever since Offering/Ticket to Ride in 1969 with All I Can Do and Your Wonderful Parade.

    So I actually think that it deserves to be an actual studio album, and not part of some compilation box set.
  5. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Karen didn't like the tune. I can't imagine why but she didn't. Richard's arrangement is painfully old-fashioned and "elevator". He seemed to treat the tune as a novelty rather than as the substantial piece of songwriting it actually is. As such, he completely missed it. Add to that the fact that Jim Henson's Kermit had a definitive version that has yet to be matched in emotional tone and there was really no need to do it at all. Very few have done it well (Sarah McLachlan's version is lovely but that's it for my ears). It's no shocker that it was left off a proper album.

    GaryAlan likes this.
  6. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    It's an official album in their catalogue for sure, but I'd never classify it as a 'studio' album, because it isn't. You've got material from a range of sources (demos, TV shows and specials, studio outtakes, live performances) from a range of timeframes (mid-late 1960s to 1980) and nothing linking them together other than the fact that none of them had been released before.

    The comment about some of Christmas Portrait having appeared on TV specials beforehand rather misses the point I think - these songs were recorded in the studio for the special rather than being performed on the show live, so they were really studio tracks. Things on As Time Goes By like the Perry Como medley and 'And When He Smiles' were not this type of recording (even if the latter is performed so flawlessly that it could have passed for a studio recording).

    There's no other album in their catalogue that features such a (at times jarring) divergence of styles as As Time Goes By either. To have a tracklist that has 'Star Wars/Close Encounters Medley' running into 'Leave Yesterday Behind', then into the Perry Como Medley and then into 'California Dreamin' is completely incohesive. It's not just the song styles but the sound and the quality of the recordings that varies. That's fine to some extent on a rarities/outtakes collection - indeed, it's perhaps to be expected - but wouldn't really be acceptable on a studio album.

    I think the key factor is to compare As Time Goes By with the other two posthumous collections, Voice of the Heart and Lovelines. On both of these, effort was clearly made to make the running order hang together and flow like a regular studio album (a task helped by the fact that most of the songs were recorded in 1978-80 - they didn't have to contend with trying to slot a 'California Dreamin'-type song in amongst these tracks), and by and large it works. The same cannot be said for As Time Goes By, hence why I'd put it in a separate category from them.
    newvillefan and GaryAlan like this.
  7. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Nice analysis, as always !

    The allmusic (by Tim Sendra) review makes interesting reading, too (I posted it somewhere),
    but here are excerpts:
    "...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 ...."

    "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."
    Rumbahbah and newvillefan like this.
  8. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    I recall that review - it's one of the few reviews to pick up (a) on the fact that 'remixes' often feature on more recent compilations and (b) that they aren't necessarilly a good idea in all cases.

    It's a bit harsh in tone, but I'd agree broadly with the sentiment. If you listen to the original demo version of 'Nowhere Man', for instance, the stripped-back instrumentation is much more effective than the 'sweetened' version that appeared on As Time Goes By:

  9. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    Somewhere Paul Williams explained that he wrote the song specifically with Kermit's speaking mannerisms in mind, where the words are a bit chopped off in delivery. Karen tries to smooth out the verses and make them less clipped, but it doesn't quite work -- the song wasn't written for that. I can see why it might have been a difficult one to sing and never sounded quite right to her ears. No fault of hers -- she was trying to sing a song that was written for a frog puppet.

    Contrast that with "Old Fashioned Love Song", written specifically for but rejected by Carpenters. I can't listen to the Three Dog Night version without hearing how perfectly everything about that tune would have suited Karen and Richard.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  10. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    And, who can forget this Paul Williams Medley w/Carol Burnett ?
  11. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    Sorry, I've got to disagree with you right there. As I pointed out many of their other albums have contained material from a variety of sources. As Richard points out on the official website, All I Can Do from Offering was the "demo in its entirety", while the only things recorded at A&M for Your Wonderful Parade were a new lead and strings, the rest was from their Magic Lamp demo.

    Again, I have to disagree with you there. Sure And When He Smiles is a "live" recording from the BBC, however, aside Perry Como's vocals (because the Carpenters did not own the special), the other medley's were recorded in the studio and even the Perry Como medley, Karen and Richard's parts are studio recordings. As Richard points out in the notes for As Time Goes By, Karen and him hired a remote recording studio to record Ella's vocals on their own tracks during the TV recording

    One thing with As Time Goes By that I think Richard was taking advantage of was the CD's longer play length versus LP's. But had he had the opportunity in the 70's to use CD's length, I think we would've seen more divergence in styles on their early albums like Close To You & Carpenters. Carpenters even closes in a similar fashion to As Time Goes By with a soft song right after a huge medley. Even up to A Song For You they were using tracks from their pre-A&M days. Even Made In America features a track that was meant for a completely different album (I Believe You), and even features 3 other tracks that, when compared to the rest of the album (Beechwood 4-5789, Touch Me When We're Dancing & (Want You) Back In My Life Again) don't even fit with the rest of the tracks or even I Believe You.

    But in a way I find As Time Goes By is sequenced like An Old-Fashioned Christmas. While An Old-Fashioned Christmas is nice and for the most part features some well picked tracks, Richard did not string it together like he and Karen did on Christmas Portrait. Aside from the opening 3 tracks, the rest of the album kind of starts and stops (Richard managed to integrate songs like Home For The Holidays into the Christmas Portrait: Special Edition better than he did into An Old-Fashioned Christmas where Holidays just kind of feels plunked into its spot between 2 medleys for no other reason than to possible provide some Karen vocals).[/I]
  12. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    Wow you guys are rough!!

    Karen’s vocals are so smooth and it’s such a lovely song, this track is not half as bad as some of you are making it out to be. I don’t want to hear her clipping the song or sounding like a frog, I want to hear Karen singing in her style putting her style into the song. It’s a fun and simple song not meant to break the top 10.

    I’d bet if she were clipping her vocals and sounding more like a Kermit there would still be people on here tearing apart this song and slaming it’s arrangement...that it will never surpass the original. My God Karen’s gone, we have a unreleased song and it’s still not good enough. I just don’t understand it. It’s almost like the fans would rather not have the unreleased tracks because to some there just not good enough for a Carpenters album. :confused:
    Geographer, Mark-T and Jamesj75 like this.
  13. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on this. Apart from Offering, no other album featured 'demos' in that sense - and as a debut album, it's quite common to re-use elements from demo tracks. The next few albums featured songs written earlier, but in no sense were these 'demos' as the versions on the albums didn't use any earlier recordings (aside from the choir version of 'Crescent Noon', none of which was reused for the album version, I don't think any other song on Close to You onwards had existed in any kind of demo form anyway). The stylistic bump between the Bacharach medley and 'Sometimes' on the Carpenters album is nothing compared to the numerous gear changes on As Time Goes By!

    Re Made in America, I have to disagree with you there too. The album does have a cohesive feel, generally due to the production (although it's arguable whether that's a good thing or not). Even though 'Touch Me When We're Dancing', 'Beechwood' and 'Back in My Life Again' are slightly more uptempo, they in no way stick out on the album. The only track that does feel slightly different is 'I Believe You', mainly because Karen's vocals sound much fuller and more present than on most of the other tracks, but thematically and stylistically it's broadly in keeping with the rest of the album.

    You might have more of a point on An Old Fashioned Christmas, which doesn't really flow so well either, although I think that's due to the paucity of songs with Karen's vocals that Richard had to play with when assembling it - really there wasn't enough material left to make a proper cohesive 'album' here.
    John Adam and GaryAlan like this.
  14. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I hate to be the harbinger of this newsflash, and,
    honestly I reiterate this point far too often, but, simply because I have misgivings about
    the overall structure or arrangement of a Carpenters' song does NOT--I repeat--does NOT
    imply that I am not thankful for hearing Karen Carpenters' VOICE anew.
    Now, I will add another two cents,
    in my opinion there is more a case of me enjoying Rainbow Connection (posthumously)
    than there is for me hearing Druscilla Penny or Mr. Guder one more time !

    Of course I want to hear everything Karen Carpenter has ever sang,
    that does not imply that a certain Carpenters' song will affect my emotions in the exact same
    manner as, say, Solitaire--or, Two Sides, or Trying To Get The Feeling Again.

    Is any song perfect ? Perhaps, not.
    However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with holding different opinions.
  15. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    I think it is. Sometimes almost feels tacked on, as if they really wanted it on the album ,but could not figure out where to put it, except after the medley and as the last track.

    Touch Me When We're Dancing, Beechwood 4-5789 & (Want You) Back In My Life Again all have an early-80's feel to them, in the realm of Air Supply style tracks, whereas the rest still feel like what the Carpenters were doing in the mid-70's. When You've Got What It Takes, I Believe You & Strength Of A Woman, to name a few, were generic tracks. Nothing stands out. Whereas on As Time Goes By, all the tracks have stand out moments, and really call you to give notice. Maybe it's because some where originally meant for Television, but I could see "Touch Me", "Beechwood" and "Back In My Life" having fit into these tracks.

    I think there was enough material (he even released some more Christmas tracks just a few years ago on the Christmas Memories DVD), plus this is Richard Carpenter we are talking about, the guy who put together the Rainy Days and Mondays, Superstar, Goodbye To Love medley on The Singles 1969-1973 album and the Close To You/We've Only Just Begun intro seque. I wonder if Richard was maybe tired by the time he got around to sequencing the album, or even if he was pushed for time because he was working on Christmas Portrait: Special Edition at the same time as An Old-Fashioned Christmas. And with As Time Goes By, I wonder if he was maybe pushing to get the album together for a deadline imposed by Universal, just like with Carpenters it was put together rather quickly because they just didn't have the time.
  16. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Sarah McLachlan had no trouble smoothing things out and she did so very well. Have a listen:

    I honestly don't think it's about the clipped delivery of Henson (Kermit); it's about Karen's dislike of the tune and Richard's completely wrong arrangement. Ian Freebairn-Smith got it totally right on the original version and Richard missed completely.

  17. theninjarabbit

    theninjarabbit Well-Known Member

    I hate to stray too far from the subject matter, but I find myself wondering about this sometimes! Artists have the right to decide what they record-- and hey, I think "Old-Fashioned Love Song" was destined to be Three Dog Night's hit-- but the outright rejection of this song must have hurt a little. Paul Williams was the co-writer of some Carpenters big hits... for him to say, "I have a song for you!" and for them to say "no, it's not a hit"... bitin' the hand that fed you in some way. Mr. Williams is such a cool guy, he probably took it better than some. As a tangent of a tangent, Micky Dolenz does a great version of "Old-Fashioned Love Song" on one of his solo discs.
    newvillefan likes this.
  18. theninjarabbit

    theninjarabbit Well-Known Member

    To return to subject matter, the bustling of this thread made me want to go back to "And When He Smiles"...a neat little gem! :D
  19. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I would take the Carpenters Rainbow Connection over any song on Made in America.
    theninjarabbit likes this.
  20. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    The line goes “why are there so many songs about rainbows”, but I can’t think of a single one apart from the Wizard Of Oz track :laugh:
  21. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    I'm Forever Chasing Rainbows
    Sunshine Lollipops and Rainbows
    Double Rainbow
    Rainbow, Rainbow (Akiko)
  22. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Look To The Rainbow
    The End Of A Rainbow
    Rainbow's End

    WYBIMLA Active Member

    ^Somewhere over the rainbow

    WYBIMLA Active Member

    I'm happy with ATGB honestly.
    As most of us agree it wasn't a studio album as we're used to.
    There's many artists that have live recordings and cr** way worse sounding than any of this.

    It's technical stuff we're getting into, and this is why Richard's felt so bad over the years having put a lot out (material he didn't feel suited for their style).
    It's hard for us to believe, The Carpenters of all artists would have made any bum recordings.
    Or stuff that's not on par with their Singles 69-73.
    But, they're like anybody else.

    We complain about the TV specials not being on DVD or not having more live albums available.
    This is it folks.
    The hard part of all of this is Karen is no longer with us, and we just have to be appreciative for what we have.
    And celebrate how Richard keeps trying to improve the catalogue to this very day. :)
    Don Malcolm, Mark-T and Bobberman like this.
  25. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Never heard of any of them except the second one on that first list. I must have lived a sheltered childhood, indoors away from rainbows :)
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
    Don Malcolm likes this.

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