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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. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    As we've discussed before, live performances often tend to be sped up. It's a combination of nerves/adrenaline flowing, over-familiarity with the material, and the fear of losing the audience.
  2. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    This review highlights the 3rd album, "Carpenters"
    Audio Magazine Sept 1971
    written by Sherwood L. Weingarten

    David A likes this.
  3. Harry, as a young teen who took great care of the few albums he had been gifted with, I was mortified when my mother grabbed this Carpenters album out of my hands and proceeded to bend and manipulate it! She was demonstrating that it was, in fact, designed to be a picture stand, as you have reminded us here.
  4. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    Speaking of the picture on 'Carpenters' and Richard's dissatisfaction with their covers, I bet he was glad that A&M didn't choose the shot of him and Karen both sitting on the same swing seat! (See above, in the 'Weingarten' article). It's definitely got that cheek-to-cheek, sweeter-than-apple-pie look that he hated. It appears to be from the album cover photo session. It's a nice, whimsical, casual shot but not quite right to illustrate their music.

    I've seen commercially-produced posters made in the early 70s of two different shots from the 'Carpenters' cover session but they are both b&w and different from the cover. It's a shame that there aren't any colour posters around.

    I suppose you could always make your own.
  5. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    I was watching the Australian concert a little while ago and I had to laugh when Richard said that Karen was his sister and not his wife! I guess Richard & Karen must've been getting quite a few people assuming in casual conversation that Karen was his wife and he her husband.
  6. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Better late than never! Played the album in its entirety this morning. Great album. Not their best. I give that honor to A Song For You, so I gave it 4 stars. Any question as to whether Karen's voice had fully developed could be completely put to rest with this album. Her vocals are stellar to put it mildly. As near to perfection as you are going to come. Besides the mega-hits (and the should've been mega-hit), One Love and [A Place To] Hide Away stand out as underrated gems. Now the bad; Richard on lead vocals. Saturday is album filler at best and Druscilla Penny suffers from Richard's lisping, effeminate, overly-cute vocals :hide:. Seems like he was trying to recreate a Mr Guder moment but it didn't work. The Bacharach Medley should've been thrown out in favor of a stand alone Karen version of Any Day Now, A House Is Not A Home, or Make It Easy On Yourself; or even a Beatles tune (Good Day Sunshine?). We already had a full version of I'll Never Fall In Love Again on the Close To You album; it was somewhat redundant to hear it again. Not to entirely bash Rich, his arrangements on this album are spectacular (I just can't take his lead vocals for the most part).
    ThaFunkyFakeTation likes this.
  7. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    I agree that Karen's vocals on 'Carpenters' are astronomical.

    I have always loved '(A Place to) Hideaway', ever since I heard it in the mid-70s on 'Great Hits of The Carpenters, Vol 2, 1969 -1973'.

    I felt ripped off by 'Saturday' when I bought 'Carpenters' a couple of years later. It is so obviously filler, eons below the quality of most of the other tracks. 'Druscilla Penny' is of a similar standard, although I don't mind Richard's lisp at all and have never thought of his vocals as effeminate.

    I agree that 'Bacharach / David Medley' is a space-hog and that two good-quality songs featuring Karen could have taken its place. Karen and Richard knew the medley so well by then that they probably just walked in, set up and recorded it, (although then they would have had to over-dub the million background vocals).

    I don't believe that 'One Love' is up to the standard of the other better songs on the LP or that it's anywhere near the standard of Richard's better compositions.

    All-in-all, though, it's staggering to think that 'Carpenters' includes three such mega-hit classics as 'Rainy Days and Mondays', 'Superstar' and 'For All We Know', as well as beauties like 'Let Me Be the One', '(A Place to) Hideaway' and 'Sometimes'. And 'One Love' and 'Bacharach / David Medley' are quite good. 'Saturday' and 'Druscilla Penny' let the sides down. But still a great album.
  8. Personally, I always liked Richard's leads (or featured lines in songs), as well as his occasional instrumentals. This, I feel, is what made them "Carpenters" albums; the fact that both Karen and Richard were featured. For better or worse, the "variety" of the early albums was absent when their albums became more polished and featured the MOR/OK Chorales ('76 forward).
    Geographer, tomswift2002 and Brian like this.
  9. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    The 'should've been mega-hit' that you are referring to, of course, Carpe Diem, is 'Let Me Be The One'. Richard mentioned, I think in the liner notes for 'From The Top', that he now thinks that if this song had been released as a single, it would have been massive.

    What I was just wondering was whether any countries other than Australia used 'Let Me Be the One' in TV advertising campaigns. In the 70s, one of the Aussie TV networks, (Channel 7, I think), used the song, (not Carpenters' recording), as their theme song. ("Let us be the one you run to, Let us be the one you come to when you need someone to turn to - Let us be the one - Channel 7 !") Everyone would have heard this snippet several times a day and it sounded so enticing that I suspect, had Carpenters' version been released as a single at the time, it could have been a hit. TV viewers would have felt that the song was so familiar to them, while being enthralled by hearing a complete version, that they would have found the single irresistible, I feel.

    As it was, in Australia, 'Let Me Be The One' was included on Carpenters' 1974 album, 'Great Hits of The Carpenters, Volume 2, 1969 -1973'.

    Was 'Let Me Be The One' used in similar ways in other countries? If so, this was a great opportunity lost for Carpenters.
  10. Could it be that "Let Me Be The One" wasn't considered as a single simply because releasing three or more singles from an album simply wasn't as common a practice in those days?
    Brian likes this.
  11. theninjarabbit

    theninjarabbit Well-Known Member

    Variety is the spice of life! :D

    I love "Saturday" and "Druscilla Penny", and I'm not posting the "hiding under a chair" emote because I'm not embarrassed by it. :evil: The harmonies really sell these songs and the album as a whole. (There are other things I like about them too, of course.) I've said this a few times and I will probably say it a few more. :laugh:

    Everyone, I'm sure, has a few albums -- in this case perhaps a Carpenters album -- of which every single track is enjoyable to him/her. That's this album for me, despite any "drawbacks" it may have to someone else. (I circle back to the variety point here.)

    About "Let Me Be the One"... I agree that it had potential written all over it. The one that got away, in my opinion.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  12. K.C. Jr

    K.C. Jr Well-Known Member

    So true!
  13. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    I'd say you're right, Jared. They probably already had 'Hurting Each Other' ready by the time 'Let Me Be The One' could have been released.

    Btw, I reckon 'Let Me Be the One' was used in Australia in the advertising campaign in the mid to late 70s - somewhere from 1977 onwards - even though it had appeared on 'Greatest Hits' in 1974. Maybe releasing it so long after its recording might not have worked - but I still think a single could have gathered a lot of momentum from the campaign and 'Calling Occupants' was the only big hit from 1975 on, so anything was worth a try.
  14. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I gave this one a spin this morning.
    To my dismay, I still had to skip Saturday and Druscilla Penny !
    So, that leaves me with almost 26 and one-half minutes of an Album.
    Good grief, that Bacharach Medley (cd time 5:25) races along !
    Well, after all these years, despite the fact that this album includes fantastic songs
    Superstar, For All We Know and Rainy Days And Mondays,
    the entire Album falls short-- in my opinion.
    Yup, I'm still in the minority !
  15. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    ...then stop skipping "Saturday" and "Druscilla Penny". They are part of the fabric of the album - and unless they somehow physically cause you pain or ill - and I mean literally, not just a dislike - then they should be listened to as well.

    Geographer likes this.
  16. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Funny !
    Actually, what happens is that the songs will play for about thirty seconds, or so,
    until I can't listen anymore !--then, I press skip !
    Too bad I can not listen to them all the way through...but, I've tried soooo hard !
    Harry likes this.
  17. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Play the album on your LP and don't get out of your chair...

    Or, hide the remote control when you listen to the CD..

    Better yet, dig out the cassette - it's really hard to do an accurate fast-forward...

  18. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I listened to that medley for the first time in years the other day and the speed actually shocked me. It's so fast in parts that it's almost unlistenable and makes me feel out of breath.
  19. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    According to "The Essential Collection", for the write-up to "Superstar" Richard was 'vacillating' between Superstar and Let Me as the next single, but he thought the lyrics to Let Me might be unconventional for a Carpenters record, and that it was Jerry Moss who told Richard he was worrying needlessly and said Superstar was the single.

    Of course you have to wonder why no one suggestesed releasing a Double-A single with 'Superstar' and 'Let Me Be The One'.
  20. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Great idea and I think that would have made it a #1 hit.
  21. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    And then "Hurting Each Other/Bless The Beasts" could've been a second double-A.
  22. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    I just wanted to share some of my finds at a couple record shops I visited this past week. I spoke to both owners and asked if he has seen any sealed 70's & 80's Carpenters albums and both said not for years. I spent several hours at each store looking through boxes and boxes of Lp's & 45's in hopes to find something. I can tell you from the shops around here that quality used Carpenters albums are becoming harder and harder to find. There are some just in tatters.

    I found nothing at the first shop but the 2nd shop I found a nice original Tan album already in a plastic sleeve priced at $7.95 (you know when record shops put there 45's and LP's already in plastic sleeves they are usually nicer quality items.

    This one looks really nice with no major visible blemishes front and back, the inside looks untouched and the labels are clean, vinyl nice sheen. It appears to be an original pressing from the label and catalog #...I played it on their listening station and sounded excellent. I obviously already have this original album but I can always use a back up.

    I was then off to the 45's section and low and behold I found a 45 sleeve I was missing from my collection. The Rainy Days And Mondays single. If you have ever been to a record store you will soon realize that finding nice sleeves is hard to come by as most are torn at the top or ripped or frayed. This one is excellent minus some tiny ring wear in spots.

    So was this a coincidence that I found both items related to the same album? Naaahh it was destiny, it was meant for me to find them.


    I scanned the 45 sleeve for your viewing pleasure. :)
  23. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Nice Find! That is a great buy for an original in that condition :)!! I am still hoping to find a pristine copy of "Offering" at an estate sale or thrift shop along the way :laugh:
  24. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Richard was fretting about the lyric to "Superstar", not "Let Me...". As you said, either one would have been a good choice, IMHO.

  25. theninjarabbit

    theninjarabbit Well-Known Member

    Great finds Rick!! Those were waiting for somebody such as yourself to take care of them. :) I wouldn't mind having duplicates of those for sure. My favorite single from my favorite album. The original mix is the best-- the background vocals are prominent and the song, including the drum fill, is intact.

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