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Official Review [Album]: "CARPENTERS" S/T (SP-3502)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Mar 8, 2013.


  1. ***** (BEST)

    18 vote(s)
  2. ****

    31 vote(s)
  3. ***

    7 vote(s)
  4. **

    1 vote(s)
  5. *

    1 vote(s)
  1. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    “CARPENTERS” S/T (a.k.a. 'Tan Album')


    Catalogue Number: A&M SP-3502
    Date of Release: 5/13/71
    Nickname: The "Tan" Album
    Chart Position- U.S.: #2; U.K.: #12; JAPAN: #47
    Album Singles: "For All We Know"/"Don't Be Afraid"
    "Rainy Days and Mondays"/"Saturday"
    "Superstar"/"Bless The Beasts and Children"
    Format: Reel/Vinyl/8-track/Cassette/CD

    Track Listing:

    1.) Rainy Days and Mondays 3:40 (Williams/Nichols)
    2.) Saturday 1:20 (Carpenter/Bettis)
    3.) Let Me Be The One 2:25 (Williams/Nichols)
    4.) (A Place To) Hideaway 3:40 (Sparks)
    5.) For All We Know 2:34 (Karlin/Wilson/James)
    6.) Superstar 3:49 (Russell/Bramlett)
    7.) Druscilla Penny 2:18 (Carpenter/Bettis)
    8.) One Love 3:23 (Carpenter/Bettis)
    9.) Bacharach/David Medley 5:25 (Bacharach/David):

    a. Knowing When To Leave
    b. Make It Easy On Yourself
    c. (There's) Always Something There To Remind Me
    d. I'll Never Fall In Love Again
    e. Walk On By
    f. Do You Know The Way To San Jose?

    10.) Sometimes 2:52 (Mancini/Mancini)

    Album Credits:

    Arranged and Orchestrated by Richard Carpenter
    Engineered by Ray Gerhardt and Dick Bogert; Assistant: Norm Kinney
    All Vocals: Karen and Richard Carpenter
    Keyboards: Richard Carpenter
    Bass: Joe Osborn and Bob Messenger
    Reeds: Bob Messenger, Douglas Strawn, Jim Horn
    Drums: Hal Blaine and Karen Carpenter
    Wurlitzer Electric Piano and Ludwig Drums used
    Album Concept and Design by Craig Braun Inc.
    Jackets mfd. by Sound Packaging Corp.
    Art Direction by Roland Young
    Photography by Guy Webster
    Produced by Jack Daugherty Productions
  2. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Aside from "Druscilla", it's a beautiful set.
    toeknee4bz likes this.
  3. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    I really liked this album when it came out. "For All We Know" had been a huge radio hit the prior fall; "Merry Christmas Darling" supplanted it in the rotation for the Christmas season; and then with the album's release, "Rainy Days And Mondays" began its reign on the charts.

    I devoured the entire album when I first got it, pretty much loving every track, but the standout - even more than "Rainy Days..." was "Superstar". As the side two side opener, it was just killer, and "Druscilla Penny" was (and remains) a welcome followup. (I like "Saturday" too!)

    If I have any criticism at all of the "tan album" as it's come to be known, it would be that it was one song too short, and that "Sometimes" was not that great of an album closer. After the prior two albums' "Nowadays Clancy..." and "Another Song", I would have expected and liked another rocker in that vein to close off the album. But it seemed they were just about done with that phase of their career.

    In the early CD era, I resented the fact that both "Rainy Days..." and "Superstar" were etched into that format's stone as remixes. I wanted the originals, and it took more than a decade to get them on the Remastered Classics series.

  4. song4u

    song4u Well-Known Member

    Love, love, love "Let Me Be The One". One of my favorite Williams/Nichols songs and tailor made for Karen's style.

    This is my second favorite Carpenters album, after Horizon. Superstar and Rainy Days are so full of Karen's emotion and angst, and far beyond her 21 years.

    I always think of the anecdote about Superstar that while on their dinner break, Richard wrote the lyrics on a napkin (as Karen didn't know them) and Karen sang it in one take. Amazing talent.
    toeknee4bz and Chris May like this.
  5. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Harry and I disagree on a song selection? Up til now, almost unheard of! :wink:
  6. LondonRobert

    LondonRobert Active Member

    After I 'discovered' the Carpenters in about 1983 when i was 14, a schoolmates father loaned me two Carpenters albums - this one and Horizon.What a great couple of albums to start with !
    I adore this album, there is just something so special about it - it feels 'young' to me and fresh and eager, if thats the right word! I even like Richards lead vocal tracks, which i don't always hehe.
    One thing that i slightly wish was different, is that i feel the medley is too quick, listening to the live version on live in Japan album makes me realise how much better it is, when slowed down slightly.
    After Superstar ( my all time fave Carpenters track ) , i absolutely LOVE ( a place to ) hideaway.......... Being a teenager and going through all sorts of complicated stuff, i felt that song was so apt!
    I then had a' saturday' <G> job at WH Smith in the record department and i ordered a 'new' carpenters album each week and bought it with my wages. Each week Horizon would come back as out of stock - i think they just didnt have anymore of the envelope style album. My friends father in the end said, if i bought him the cassette i could keep the beautiful album......... which i still have, i always thought that was very kind of him.
    I was very surprised when in London i saw an import album of 'Carpenters' which was the usual version, with just CARPENTERS in big letters, no image of the duo on the cover, and with the folding device - i bought it immediately and was so excited to see this version, not realising at the time that THAT was the regular version and it was us in the UK with the different one!
    AHH happy memories, how much more exciting things seemed to be then, when you had to wait to make purchases, even for records! I must be getting old!!
    Regards to all,
    P.S. When thinking of songs we would like at our funeral, if you are morbid enough to do that! , how many of us have considered 'sometimes'??
    toeknee4bz and Jamesj75 like this.
  7. byline

    byline Active Member

    Actually, hubby and I chose this song to be played at our wedding, as a gift to our respective families.
    LondonRobert likes this.
  8. LondonRobert

    LondonRobert Active Member

    Thats lovely byline, how nice to have it played at such a joyous and happy event at your wedding.
    byline likes this.
  9. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    Rainy Days and Mondays big finish what a masterful thrill! I remember hearing the 45 for the 1st time and I was hook line and sinkered even further into CarpenterS musical bliss abyss. At a mere 8 y/o I identified with the emotional delivery, lyrics and overall production value. This particular single is in my top five faves. Seems I never tire of hearing it. A true gem of artistic expression.

  10. toeknee4bz

    toeknee4bz Well-Known Member

    Glad to see that I'm not alone in my love of HORIZON and CARPENTERS as two of the best albums ever created by R&K. But honestly, it has nothing to do with the envelope [for me, at least]. It's all about the music. And I agree that the tan album is pretty top notch.
  11. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    I posted this elsewhere upon discovery, and it took me years to figure out, but the "envelope" flap on the tan album is actually supposed to be inverted to form a stand-up picture frame.

    CarpUnfolded2.jpg CarpUnfolded1.jpg

    And that's why when it was later reissued in the UK, they just used the unfolded picture as the cover:


    Walkinat9 likes this.
  12. Song4uman

    Song4uman Well-Known Member

    I grew up calling this the "envelope album"...that is what my sisters called it...
  13. song4u

    song4u Well-Known Member

    Back when I first had this record album, my friend had a Bobby Sherman album with the same stand up design. Must have been popular at the time. :cool:
  14. RainyDays

    RainyDays Active Member

    An amazing album that introduces the world to their classy logo and a few classics mixed in with underrated album gems.

    As for the "Richard tracks", I love Saturday and am fond of Druscilla Penny.

    The album cuts; the exciting yet personal "Let Me Be The One", the quiet and deeply intimate "Hideaway", the lovely "One Love" with its beautifully hopeful but sad lyrics/melody, and finishing off with a golden reflection with "Sometimes". And that Medley is simply perfect; fan and brisk.

    Then the breathtaking classic singles... The rich melancholy of her voice flows throughout these three songs like no one's business and it's as if she is still living these emotions. The video for "Rainy Days and Mondays" shows a absolutley stunning and radiant Karen on the drums and she sings the song like she's digging the depths of her soul.
    Tapdancer and byline like this.
  15. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Great album. All of the elements which make a great Carpenters' listening experience.
    Karen's vocals are deep and rich. Harmonies that soar. Melodious and soulful.
    The only caveats for me: the album could use another song, or two, and
    Druscilla Penny is not on par with the other material. But,at least it is playfully different.
    The LP, if I recall, had no inner lyric sheet, with merely a stock record sleeve.
    Otherwise, the Envelope formatted sleeve is rather interesting. Later USA issues did not keep the envelope format.
    The japanese LP is quite nice (Gatefold): Outer sleeve photo of K&R, Inner sleeve with large Logo (twice), lyrics, and an early Poster affixed.
    The inner photo is new to me, also.and I will try to scan it, eventually.
  16. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    The Carpenters Logo is also "raised" texture on the original jacket pressings. Scan0012.jpg
  17. song4u

    song4u Well-Known Member

    I like the version of "Let Me Be the One" that's on From the Top, with Karen speaking on it. :cool:
    John Adam likes this.
  18. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    Me too...in fact I think From The Top has to be my favorite box set ever made. I love it from start to finish.
    John Adam likes this.
  19. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    "The Carpenters were saccharine beyond belief. Yes, they were about the most un-cool “band” in the history of mankind. Yes, Richard Carpenter’s arrangements were sappy to the point of nearly ruining their songs. But Karen Carpenter had one of the most amazing voices in pop music history and that is what makes them still enduring to listen to. I don’t claim to be a huge fan of theirs, by any means, but I did grow up listening to many of their songs on AM radio. I guess they bring back that warm feeling of nostalgia (as do the songs of Tony Orlando & Dawn).
    This review comes from Rob Horning, from the
    PopMatters website (Feb. 9, 2006) and beautifully expresses the virtues of The Carpenters’ seemingly-cheerful, yet morosely-sad songs…"

    Interesting blog-read on this album:
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014
    toeknee4bz likes this.
  20. Guitarmutt

    Guitarmutt Active Member

    Well, here is the sound! That Carpenters sound. The experimentation is pretty much gone. There is really not much more to be said. Superstar is my favorite song here. I actually like all the songs , and I do not think the medley is too fast though I do find myself listening to the live full length version from Australia far more often.

    The name is perfect because it does feel like an arrival of sorts. I only gave it four stars though because I find myself missing that experimentation. Even with Druscilla Penny, I find this to be a bit too homogenous.

    But then they gave us 'A Song For You'!
  21. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    "Druscilla..." hasn't worn well on me. Lest you think I have it in for Richard's voice, I do like "Saturday" in spite of myself. LOL! I agree that they pretty much found their formula and went for it until "Passage." Still, the formula was new and it had plenty of steam in it. It's an excellent record and a nice way to get into them.

  22. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    'Druscilla Penny' is sort of like watching a car wreck. You don't want to look (listen), but you can't help yourself. I must say I do love the harpsichord.
    GaryAlan likes this.
  23. Tapdancer

    Tapdancer Active Member

    Richard, mate - You're such an idiot! Do you actually realise you nearly ruined all those songs with your sappy arrangements?? Do you? Not cool man, not cool.

    And if it wasn't for your kid sister's amazing voice, both of you would have been consigned to the dustbin of music history. Read the reviews, man! Yeah, consider yourself very lucky. In fact, you should have had nothing to do with the music. I mean, do you know anything about arranging? Anyone who was "where it's at" could have done a better job. And who knows? With Karen, they might have even had a Top 10 hit along the way.
    Last edited: May 22, 2014
  24. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Album reviews not withstanding ( i.e., Rob Horning's above):
    I have always been a staunch advocate of Richard's arrangements.
    Overall, I consider Richard Carpenter a musical genius when it comes to pop music arrangements.
    Although, some (especially the professional music critics_?_) decry his lush, sentimental arrangements, it has always been my personal
    opinion that his use of instrumentation and 'filling-up' a song with those lovely strings,keyboards, horns, oboes, drums (etcetera) always
    (or, nearly always) enhanced Karen's vocal delivery of their recordings. He enveloped her vocals with an added layer of beauty.
    I find it hard to fathom another who could have pulled off , so brilliantly, the arrangements of, say, We've Only Just Begun,
    Superstar, Only Yesterday, to name just a few.
    Obviously (at least, to me), they can't all be pop music masterpieces (and who maintains a perfect batting average,anyway?),
    but Richard Carpenter comes pretty close to perfection for my ears.
    If Karen is The Voice of Carpenters, Richard is the mastermind behind so many brilliantly arranged songs.
    Jamesj75 and Tapdancer like this.
  25. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member


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