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Official Review [Album]: "CLOSE TO YOU" (SP-4271)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Feb 4, 2013.


  1. ***** (BEST)

    36 vote(s)
  2. ****

    23 vote(s)
  3. ***

    5 vote(s)
  4. **

    1 vote(s)
  5. *

    0 vote(s)
  1. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter



    Catalogue Number: A&M SP-4271
    Date of Release: 08/28/70
    Chart Position- U.S.: #2; U.K.: #23; JAPAN: #53
    Album Singles: “(They Long To Be) Close To You”/"I Kept On Loving You"
    "We've Only Just Begun"/"All Of My Life"
    Format: Reel/Vinyl/8-track/Cassette/CD

    Track Listing:

    1.) We've Only Just Begun 3:04 (Williams/Nichols)
    2.) Love Is Surrender 1:59 (Ralph Carmichael)
    3.) Maybe It's You 3:09 (Richard Carpenter)
    4.) Reason To Believe 3:02 (Tim Hardin)
    5.) Help 3:02 (Lennon/McCartney)
    6.) (They Long To Be) Close To You 4:34 (Bacharach/David)
    7.) Baby It's You 2:50 (Bacharach/David/Williams)
    8.) I'll Never Fall In Love Again 2:56 (Bacharach/David)
    9.) Crescent Noon 4:09 (Richard Carpenter)
    10.) Mr. Guder 3:17 (Richard Carpenter)
    11.) I Kept On Loving You 2:13 (Williams/Nichols)
    12.) Another Song 4:22 (Carpenter/Bettis)

    Album Credits:

    Producer: Jack Daugherty
    Arrangements and Orchestrations: Richard Carpenter
    All Vocals: Karen and Richard Carpenter
    Drums: Karen Carpenter and Hal Blaine
    Keyboards: Richard Carpenter
    Bass: Joe Osborn and Danny Woodhams
    Woodwinds: Jim Horn, Bob Messenger and Doug Strawn
    Engineer: Ray Gerhardt and Dick Bogert
    Art Direction: Tom Wilkes
    Photography: Kessel/Brehm Photography
    Ludwig Drums and Wurlitzer Pianos
  2. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    To me, Close to You deserves the highest ranking available, primarily for 2 reasons: "(They Long to Be) Close to You" and "We've Only Just Begun." Even if everything else were simply filler, those classics warrant a "best" ranking! On top of that, for most fans, this was our introduction to the Carpenters. Most, like me, bought Ticket to Ride after buying Close to You.

    But throw in a few nice covers ("Help," "Baby It's You," I'll Never Fall in Love Again," and "Reason to Believe"), two simmering, understated ballads ("Crescent Noon" and "Maybe It's You"), a few up-tempo gems ("Love Is Surrender," "Mr. Guder," and "I Kept on Loving You"), and a rollicking rocker ("Another Song"), and you've got a great album! Incidentally, this album garnished them 2 Grammy wins from several nominations. Pure platinum!
    Paola Rousseau, dvakman and Eyewire like this.
  3. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    Agreed 100%! Still my favorite Carpenters album.
  4. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Outstanding effort, and yes, it was the first album I'd heard from Carpenters. I remembered having heard the "Ticket To Ride" single and really liking the harmonies and wondered why it wasn't included on this album, which I'd assumed was the first. Then I found out about OFFERING and later obtained it.

    There's not a bad song on CLOSE TO YOU. Every song sounded great to me.

    Jamesj75 likes this.
  5. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    The album that got me hooked....
  6. RainyDays

    RainyDays Active Member

    One of the best albums of all time, for any group. I love every song and all bring something fresh to the album. Two amazing singles, and a buncha top-notch album cuts that qualify as some of the best songs they ever recorded.

    That slow piano opening on "Maybe It's You" in particular, gives my goosebumps and the song is a hidden gem. I just heard it yesterday again after a while of not hearing it, and its simply lovely. The whole damn album is cool, breezy, lovely, and emotional and fun!
  7. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    First listen to Close to You Xmas of 1970 and I was well on my way to a happy place. Imagine 7 years old and an ear for sheer brilliance. I didn't vote for best although it does contain my fave single CTY. A sentimental gem that has routinely promised to provide me with warm fuzzies for some 43 years now. This launched a lifelong obsession and or quest for aural perfection. Within Karen's rich tones and delivery, coupled with RC's arrangements and knack for overdubbing created "the sound" that never will be duplicated. Pure platinum by all accounts.

  8. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    My sisters first had this album and, since we were teenagers at the time I had to put up a "front" of disliking it, but I really secretly liked it, especially the title song which I first heard on the radio in a restaurant (and thought the trumpet solo was by Herb Alpert). I managed to "resist" until A Song For You came out, after which I started collecting all the albums. This one remains my second favorite, after ASFY.
    Chris May likes this.
  9. RainyDays

    RainyDays Active Member

    Does anybody know what the third single would have been? I mean they should of had a great third one! I heard that it was "Help", but then I also heard that "Love Is Surrender" or "Reason To Believe" almost made the cut.
  10. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    I've always understood that "Help!" was to be the third single, but they recorded "For All We Know" after seeing LOVERS AND OTHER STRANGERS, so that preempted any third single release from CLOSE TO YOU. I know that "Help!" was well thought of in Japan, and even got b-side status on the "Bless The Beasts..." single.

  11. RainyDays

    RainyDays Active Member

    Yeah, I love "Help", but For All We Know...I mean you can't push that aside. But "Help" solidifies their early coolness, and shows any non-fan that they had real variety. I mean it's the total opposite of CTY.

    Since were on the topic of CTY (song and album) does anybody know if this video is from a show or a promo video? I've seen it a million times yet I don't know.

  12. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    That's the version that appeared in the INTERPRETATIONS video program with the 1991 remix for audio. I'm going to make an educated guess that the video comes from their appearance on THE DON KNOTTS SHOW. In the commentary track for the song on the GOLD/YESTERDAY ONCE MORE video program, Richard states that they chose the version from their MAKE YOUR OWN KIND OF MUSIC show, since Karen was not seated at drums. For some reason, he didn't like seeing drumsticks bouncing up and down in front of Karen's face. He states that she was seated at drums in both the DON KNOTTS SHOW appearance and in the A&M promo film, and he emphasized that that one was on film.

    So by deduction, I'd say this was from THE DON KNOTTS SHOW.

    Obviously, he decided later on to use this version in the INTERPRETATIONS video, I guess, for variety's sake.

    Tapdancer likes this.
  13. RainyDays

    RainyDays Active Member

    Thanks for all that info! I really have to get those dvd's! I think this clip is alot better than the one from MYOKOM (where in the original clip that aired on TV, whenever she say the phrase"...close to you", up flashed the title in groovy letter over the whole screen -- uh, yeah I think we know what its called! In the dvd it is now photos.

    But in the Don Knotts clips she looks amazing and radiant, and was an early example of what a master lip-syncer she was. This might be a stupid question, but did they build those giant soundstages/set designs for a song? I love them, but it just seems like a lot of work!
  14. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I always thought Baby It's You would have been the third hit from that album.
  15. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    That is indeed 'The Don Knotts Show'. Incidentally, 'Make Your Own Kind Of Music' was the summer replacement series for 'The Don Knotts Show'.
  16. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    I'm pretty certain Richard mentioned at one point that "Help!" was going to be the second Carpenters single, and the first single from the "Close To You" LP until they recorded the title track. So that original plan was jettisoned.

    Makes sense because there was an 'unsweetened' studio version of "Help!" from "Your Navy Presents", which was recorded in early 1970. As far as I know, that was the only track played on that show that wasn't 'live', but a studio take. So they obviously thought very highly of it. It would have been a bit odd for the first two A&M Carpenters singles to be Beatles tracks, so that was probably a good move.

    "Help!" is still my favorite track from "Close To You". I think it's the best cover they ever did, and Karen's vocals and Richard's arrangement both kick serious butt. I think it would have done very well as a single.
  17. RainyDays

    RainyDays Active Member

    "Help" is just wild! I'm starting to really get into "I Kept On Loving You" which I always forgot about. I think it's Richard's best lead, and I do really like Saturday and Drucilla Penny. IKOLY is just so happy and upbeat, like a bright summer day! I could see the music video now, haha!

    But If they did release Help as a single and did a promo video, the should have used footage from the Peggy Fleming special. I'd love to find a bettwer quality video of that performance.
  18. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    This is interesting to me. "Help" is my least favorite track from the album. I love how we all have different opinions.
  19. RainyDays

    RainyDays Active Member

    If we all had the exact opinions things would get dull around here! Are you not fond of it because its a cover?
  20. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    No, it's just the "yelling" thing isn't really a style I like- and I find the organ part just horrible.
  21. RainyDays

    RainyDays Active Member

    I think for some the track can be bombastic, but I think it builds with energy and has a dark edge to it. The whole thing (and organ especially) is something that would never have been heard during the late 70's, so I'm glad its part of their early days magic.
    byline likes this.
  22. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I love the organ! LOL>> I also love the vocal harmonies and the way Karen sings the lead. It's very different from anything else she ever did. Talk about versatility on that album. 'Reason to Believe' (country), "Help!" (light rock), and "Close to You" (pure pop). She sings each of those tunes very differently. Not many performers can pull that off. And that's just the final 3 tracks from Side One.
    byline and PJW like this.
  23. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Yep. It's the variety on those first few albums that really grabbed me. You'd have a rocker like "Help!" next to a country song like "Reason To Believe", or a dramatic, somber ballad like "Crescent Noon" following up a Bacharach pop ditty. That kind of wild shift in song and arrangement types is what really drew me in to be a Carpenters fan. To be totally honest, if an album like A KIND OF HUSH or MADE IN AMERICA had come out first, I don't know if I would have gravitated toward them or not. In those latter albums, while Karen sounds generally great, she essentially sounds the same in all of the tracks. (I'd include VOICE OF THE HEART too, but that's not fair, since it was not a proper album, but it fits in the scheme of albums that just don't excite me like the early ones did.)

    "Help!" is certainly a factor in that variety of sounds, and the organ just adds to the mystique instead of just another piano song. Count me among the "Help!" fans like my friends in Japan.

    byline and A&M Retro like this.
  24. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    Imagine what might have happened if "Help" had been released as a single and done well.
    - It could have totally changed the future direction of their music. They might have gone more in a "rock" direction than they did.
    - Richard probably would have created several remixes of "Help" (and may have re-done the organ track).
    byline likes this.
  25. RainyDays

    RainyDays Active Member

    Totally agree. The variety is amazing and feels natural and flows. In Little Girl Blue, someone was quoted as saying that they didn't make just rock or country or jazz, but a unique pop gem of them all. How many other groups then or now can say that? CTY in particular is like a golden platter with serveral different offerings (haha!) to enjoy and savor. The slowest song is "Cresent Noon", and yet I've loved it since first hear -- like what you said about the organ in Help! -- it is mysterious and atomospheric, and Karen's old soul voice is so rich and deep. From 1970-1975 her voice was at its VERY best.

    I really do love some of the tracks on MIA and there is a little variety there, but the album cuts kind of blend togther too much. I think that her voice became thinner and weaker not just as a result from her illness but that she wasn't her full self. Like Richard says that the twinkle went out of her beautiful eyes towards the end, you can hear that in her voice in a way.
    byline likes this.

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