• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are now available. The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy can be ordered here. A big thanks to the authors and Richard Carpenter for their tremendous effort in compiling this book! Also, the new solo piano album Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is available for ordering here.

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

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 25 34.7%
  • ****

    Votes: 38 52.8%
  • ***

    Votes: 7 9.7%
  • **

    Votes: 1 1.4%
  • *

    Votes: 1 1.4%

  • Total voters
    72

GDBY2LV

Well-Known Member
I guess it helps to have a nice home theater amp with a room full of speakers……… it is their best selling studio album, and my first Carpenters purchase in the summer of 1971. Couldn’t play it enough back then. I don’t listen to it as much as ASFY, or CTY, TTR, and Lovelines. It’s still a great listen once in awhile though. My only complaint is that it’s too short.
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
I guess it helps to have a nice home theater amp with a room full of speakers……… it is their best selling studio album, and my first Carpenters purchase in the summer of we 1971. Couldn’t play it enough back then. I don’t listen to it as much as ASFY, or CTY, TTR, and Lovelines. It’s still a great listen once in awhile though. My only complaint is that it’s too short.
As I have mentioned before, Rainy Days and Mondays sounds great with all the stacked voices present. Plus, I like the original drums. It was not my first but I sure played it so much as an early teen that I went through 2 copies from repeated play. For All We Know is one of my favorite songs. There isn’t much better. It’s funny looking back at that magical period. When playing them, the memories spring forward and the groove of the times feel rediscovered.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
I wish my vinyl sounded good, but the two vinyl versions I have were purchased in around 2005, when I was becoming a fan, and both sound beaten up from years in someone else’s collection and years in my collection with suboptimal turntable setups through the years.

I also have to admit, with this one, I’ve always listened to the CD because of my tinkering with the MYOKOM videos and matching the [digital] audio to the video.

(That “Hideaway” video with the thousands of views was mine from maybe 2007; someone lifted it from my old channel, before YouTube was acquired by Google, and it passed through a few generations of lossy conversation, and that’s what you see on YouTube today. I spent a whole lot of time trying to match up the audio to the video. Windows Movie Maker, anyone?)
 

lily-anne

karen carpenter's unrecognized daughter
this is my fav album! it contains so many of my fav songs - a place to hideaway, one love, bacharach/david medley and many more! i love every single song in this album, even druscilla penny! and tbh i always thought that druscilla penny kinda gives a little bit of the beatles vibe..? idk but i like that song. (not my favourite tho) and i purchased the first press of this album couple months ago so i play 'saturday' on every saturday morning XD
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
I don’t want to get anyones hopes up but I recently made a recommendation to a guy on YouTube who does genius remixes of classic songs (Radio Wollaton) and I told him about (A Place to) Hide Away and how it was never given a remixed treatment and he’s going to look into possibly doing his own. He makes songs sound as fresh as ever and really opens them to how they could sound with modern technology. This is such a gem in their catalogue that it certainly deserves to reach its full, sharpest potential.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
Speaking of remixes, this might be the best one of Superstar I’ve heard yet. Much better than the RPO mix with sounds like Karen’s voice is distorted. This one is rich and clear as it should be:

 

David A

Well-Known Member
Speaking of remixes, this might be the best one of Superstar I’ve heard yet. Much better than the RPO mix with sounds like Karen’s voice is distorted. This one is rich and clear as it should be:


While I don't agree that Karen's voice is "distorted" in the RPO mix, this is a very nice, crisp mix.
 

Chris

Well-Known Member
Yes, I hear something off with Superstar on the RPO album, a sort of "phase" effect(?) right from the first line. It's especially noticeable after listening to the remix you've posted. Bit of a shame really.

This album is kind of special as it was my first of the Carpenters. I was just getting into them when my parents found the CD hidden away and let me have it (they had never played it). Seeing that dreadful photo on the cover is nostalgic for me, remembering how excited I was back then to discover any new track.

These days, though, it's not an album I return to all that often. I think the main reason for that is that it's a bit on the short side, and also, the medley. This was to become something of a running theme in discovering the duo. As impressive as they always are... and they really are... some of the segments within are so good that I just wish they were full songs. On that point, perhaps a song from the "Zodiac" medley, like Trains and Boats and Planes or I Want To Be Free, could have bulked the album up.

I certainly can't argue with Rainy Days and Mondays or Superstar, and love the pristine (but no less atmospheric) 1985 remixes of both. Let Me Be The One is a gutsy little powerhouse of a track that there's no getting away from. When getting acquainted with the album, I was quite taken with One Love and vividly recall listening to it on repeat, just sinking into the track. It's dreamy like that, and gorgeous. Hideaway, a vision of a different kind, is full of that early Carpenters atmosphere and mystery and perfect for Karen. Yes please. Druscilla Penny is a novelty - I only really hear it whilst playing the album through, but do enjoy it, especially the harpsichord.

Gee, I thought I was going to come in lower but, after giving it a whirl and getting all of that off my chest, I ended up voting four stars. It may be short, but what we were given is pretty much all gold. Maybe I should give this one some more attention...

Yes, that would have been wonderful to hear a full version of "Trains and Boats and Planes" or "I Want To Be Free". I'd also have loved a full recording of "A House Is Not a Home".

Carpenters is a four star album for me too. It's near perfect, but as you said, I wish there were a couple of additional stand-out tracks, even though most of the material is excellent. I love that "Saturday" is right after "Rainy Days.." to brighten the mood and it works so perfectly with "Let Me Be The One" starting right after. There's not one track on the album I don't like.

Interesting to know that others are hearing the strange sound in the RPO version of "Superstar" as well. It's the only track on the album that I tend to skip because of that odd trill, fast warble sound to her voice and yes, I hear that phase effect too. I still wonder what happened. It's one of my favorite go-to albums since it was released. Just wish Superstar was as flawless as the rest.
 
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AM Matt

Forum Undertaker
The big groove line on side 1 almost scared me a little when I was 6 years old in late 1971 when my late mom bought that "Tan" album!!
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
A remix from the same person and I think it’s, again, probably the best of them all (though I do love that Richard kept the exciting cymbal crash towards the climax of the RPO mix):

 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Seeing that dreadful photo on the cover is nostalgic for me
You've reminded me that we didn't include the alternate cover of the album with the picture of the duo at the top of this thread. In the US, we got the plain fold-over cover that many call the envelope-style, when in fact, it was supposed to be a fold-over, stand-up, picture frame, revealing the cover image from the flat version that was issued in the UK, and I suppose elsewhere. (see post 11 of this thread). I've added it to Chris' initial post.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Yes, I hear something off with Superstar on the RPO album, a sort of "phase" effect(?) right from the first line. It's especially noticeable after listening to the remix you've posted. Bit of a shame really.

This album is kind of special as it was my first of the Carpenters. I was just getting into them when my parents found the CD hidden away and let me have it (they had never played it). Seeing that dreadful photo on the cover is nostalgic for me, remembering how excited I was back then to discover any new track.

These days, though, it's not an album I return to all that often. I think the main reason for that is that it's a bit on the short side, and also, the medley. This was to become something of a running theme in discovering the duo. As impressive as they always are... and they really are... some of the segments within are so good that I just wish they were full songs. On that point, perhaps a song from the "Zodiac" medley, like Trains and Boats and Planes or I Want To Be Free, could have bulked the album up.

I certainly can't argue with Rainy Days and Mondays or Superstar, and love the pristine (but no less atmospheric) 1985 remixes of both. Let Me Be The One is a gutsy little powerhouse of a track that there's no getting away from. When getting acquainted with the album, I was quite taken with One Love and vividly recall listening to it on repeat, just sinking into the track. It's dreamy like that, and gorgeous. Hideaway, a vision of a different kind, is full of that early Carpenters atmosphere and mystery and perfect for Karen. Yes please. Druscilla Penny is a novelty - I only really hear it whilst playing the album through, but do enjoy it, especially the harpsichord.

Gee, I thought I was going to come in lower but, after giving it a whirl and getting all of that off my chest, I ended up voting four stars. It may be short, but what we were given is pretty much all gold. Maybe I should give this one some more attention...
Is that CD version (Version 1) or one of the later remixes (Version 5?) that Richard did on RPO? I’ll have to get the CD out and see, since could Richard have done something with “Superstar” in one of the later updates that he made?
 

Chris

Well-Known Member
Here's an interesting mix of Superstar. Thought I'd ask you all for your thoughts on it. I've never heard it quite this way before. I really like it, even though her voice is a bit too far in the back. Is this a fan mixed version with additional elements added, or is this some rare authentic incarnation with back channels brought forward? Love the strumming guitar. Notice in particular the doubled, backing voices we don't usually hear as prominently on "to make you come again".

 
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GaryAlan

Well-Known Member

Getting close to the music that made Carpenters superstars...​

"...they recorded their second album, 1971’s Carpenters, known to fans as the tan album and regarded by many as their best."
Source:

How many news articles repeat this: that the Tan album was their "second" (it actually being the third album) ?

But, I digress.
My question is this: Who still considers the Tan album to be "their best." ?
Obviously, I don't and never did. But, I am interested in those who believe it is "their best" and why so.
As much as I admire Superstar, I gravitate more towards Rainy Days And Mondays.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Judging "their best" has to be purely subjective and will differ from person to person and group to group. We've done several polls here on the subject and time and time again, A SONG FOR YOU takes that title. And by some criteria, that's a pretty easy choice.

Number of hits: 6 songs that were charted singles
Favored album tracks: 3, which pretty much accounts for the rest of the album

So just on sheer numbers, A SONG FOR YOU will top them all.

But what of that tan album? Well, it had 3 bonafide hits, and a couple of favored album tracks. But at least two of those hits are Carpenters "money" hits - definitive tracks that one would expect to hear in any concert or program about the Carpenters. "Rainy Days" and "Superstar" are those two, and "For All We Know" is no slouch either, though in my book, a notch lower on the scale. Could the strength of the track one powerhouses make CARPENTERS" their best? Maybe for some.

But was surely their third album. The press is not always on the ball regarding OFFERING/TICKET TO RIDE. Indeed, even those who were around back then might count the retitled TICKET TO RIDE as not the first album. In terms of re-release date, when did it occur?
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
I was going to add that similar judgments of "best" can be made of CLOSE TO YOU and maybe NOW & THEN. We have a large contingent of HORIZON fans here too.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
I think it could be that for non-fans it’s the album where Karen’s dramatic abilities and Richard’s mise en scene really flourished fully for the first time with Superstar and Rainy Days - two songs that could also slide past their uncool image because of their harder edge (as opposed to the previous soft sounds of CTY and WOJB, where for me the music and vocals are just as arresting). Of course we know there’s plenty of lesser known examples on the previous two albums of their genius in action but someone who’s not deep in the fandom won’t be drawn to more obscure, subtle examples. Also the Tan Album is where Karen hit her first peak of maturity as a singer, her tone became richer and fuller, and maybe even more casual fans hear that difference on this album.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
It probably does not help that the previous two LP's were saddled with (arguably) poor cover photos and artwork,
because here, with the tan album, we get that now-famous lovely logo and a fairly plain-color cover (no photo on cover).
But, I argue that while Offering and Now & Then are quite distinct,
the trilogy Close To You, Tan and A Song For You albums are more alike
than not. I also wonder how many copies of the tan album flew off the shelves after
the duo won the Grammy for the album and a sticker announcing that fact was affixed to the cover.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Oh, by the way,
I want to clarify that I do not dis-like the tan album,
I only am interested in how it attained its lofty status when compared to the other Carpenters' LPs !
 
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