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

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 38 55.1%
  • ****

    Votes: 25 36.2%
  • ***

    Votes: 5 7.2%
  • **

    Votes: 1 1.4%
  • *

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    69

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Karen was always a beautiful woman, I really believe (and I'll be crucified for this)
that Karen should have been the only person photographed for all Album Covers.
(Save the duo photos for the inside, and record co. promos).
Of course, keep "Carpenters" logo, simply emphasize Richard as Arranger and Producer.
They kind of tried this...on VOTH. Karen was the only one on the front cover. Turn it over, and Richard is on the back...a subtle "nod" that Karen was the front man (person, woman, whatever, don't get all PC on me) and Richard was "behind the scenes" in a sense.
I've never even considered this approach before but I think it would have been a stroke of genius to do this and one that A&M's marketing team should have gone with once the duo became established (from 1971 onwards). It would have clearly delineated their roles within the duo, with she as the group's "front" and he as the one running the show from behind the scenes. Of course, I doubt either of them would have been happy with that for one common reason: both would have seen it as relegating and diminishing Richard's role. But as a marketing tool it would have been brilliant.

There are other musical collaborations between artist/producer duos of that era which didn't feature both artists on the cover. Bette Midler/Barry Manilow and Dionne Warwick/Burt Bacharach immediately spring to mind.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^Yes ! Geographer has hit upon the idea I was grasping for
(even if I did not put it as well into words):
The Front Cover: Karen
The Inside Sleeve: The Duo
The Back Cover: Richard

And, placement of the "Carpenters" Logo
throughout.....(even the 1972 or 1975 Silhouette).
This is simply a thought only toward "marketing".....
I am Not trying to place either Carpenter higher or lower than the other regards musical credit.....
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
^^Yes ! Geographer has hit upon the idea I was grasping for
(even if I did not put it as well into words):
The Front Cover: Karen
The Inside Sleeve: The Duo
The Back Cover: Richard

And, placement of the "Carpenters" Logo
throughout.....(even the 1972 or 1975 Silhouette).
This is simply a thought only toward "marketing".....
I am Not trying to place either Carpenter higher or lower than the other regards musical credit.....
I like the premise presented here; but would Richard give up the front cover in lieu of his sister? Now that's a stretch...
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
They kind of tried this...on VOTH. Karen was the only one on the front cover. Turn it over, and Richard is on the back...a subtle "nod" that Karen was the front man (person, woman, whatever, don't get all PC on me) and Richard was "behind the scenes" in a sense.
Voice of the Heart was a special case though. There was a reason why Karen was there alone on the front cover, given what had happened that year - just as there was a picture of Richard left alone on the back cover. It was fitting for the circumstances of 1983, but wouldn't have worked as a general template for their earlier (or later) releases.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
I have likened Carpenters to The Poppy Family before. There are many similarities, but Susan and Terry Jacks were a married couple - Terry did the writing and arranging and Susan had the magic voice. Their first big album had an interesting way of depicting them. Susan was way out front, and Terry was behind her, along with two other band members.



 

AM Matt

Well-Known Member
Also their second album "Poppy Seeds" from The Poppy Family (from 1971) which has the song "Where Evil Grows" one of my favorites!! Matt Clark Sanford, MI
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
Yeah, I've mentioned The Poppy Family before and Susan's similarity to Karen Carpenter. Here I was just pointing out the artwork on the cover as a way that they highlighted the female lead-singer by putting her out in front of the rest of the group, facing the other way and more in shadows.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Why this had not occurred to me before escapes me, but,
the song
Help......performing drums....
For the LP Close To You, we have Hal Blaine ( correct ?).
On the BBC-TV 'Concert Program', we have (September 25, 1971) Karen Carpenter.
(Presumably Karen also drums on Your Navy Presents version).

Quite interesting to listen to differences in drumming-style.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Why this had not occurred to me before escapes me, but,
the song
Help......performing drums....
For the LP Close To You, we have Hal Blaine ( correct ?).
On the BBC-TV 'Concert Program', we have (September 25, 1971) Karen Carpenter.
The performance of that particular song on the BBC special in 1971 was mimed, so Karen wasn’t actually playing.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
On the 1971 BBC Special, was it Karen's prerecorded drumming track we hear ?
In other words, that would still be an indication of the difference between Hal and Karen
drumming on the same song--even if she were "miming" to her pre-recorded track.
As, I only know of Hal Blaine primarily through his studio recordings.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
On the 1971 BBC Special, was it Karen's prerecorded drumming track we hear ?
In other words, that would still be an indication of the difference between Hal and Karen
drumming on the same song--even if she were "miming" to her pre-recorded track.
As, I only know of Hal Blaine primarily through his studio recordings.
In the BBC special they are performing to playback of the original studio album version of the song Help. She is miming to Hal’s drumming. It’s not the first time she did it. She is also miming to his drumming in the video for Rainy Days And Mondays.

What’s bizarre about that BBC TV special is they veered from live performances to miming to original album tracks. The Bacharach medley is also mimed. If they performed the rest of the set live, why not these two tracks? They were perfectly capable as that rare footage of them performing the medley live and in its entirety proves:

 
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GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^That is interesting.
I listened over and over to the 1971 BBC performance.
The drum performance on that special is not eqiuvelent to the album version.
Perhaps my ears are still not up-to-par,
but,
there is no way that those recordings are the same drum performance ( CTY Album and 1971 BBC).
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
Re: The 1971 BBC performance. Has a previous thread on this forum discussed this? What was "live" and what was not? If you look at the opening of Rainy Days & Mondays, the piano intro kind of takes Richard by surprise (as it kicks-in before he is actually ready to play). That leads me to believe that the instrumentals were pre-recorded but that Karen's lead vocal was live. Also, her rendition of Superstar is so good, that you could believe she was lip-syncing but she brushes the mic against her skirt as she approaches the stage and you can hear that, so it's a live mic. I have read that Help and the Bacharach Medley were mimed however. Seems like it's a combination of recorded background music and live Karen vocals, and live instrumentals and mimed Karen vocals:hmmm:?

Maybe a better barometer of the Karen/Hal Blaine opposing drum styles would be the 72 Sydney Australia concert where the duo opened with Help. We know for a fact that everything in that concert was performed "live". Or do we?
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Again, in reference only to the song
Help.....
The 1974 Live In Japan Album Liner Notes
refer only to Cubby O'Brien and Karen Carpenter.
I am unable to ascertain---through those Liner Notes--
who the drumming is credited to, on that one song,
Help !
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
^^That is interesting.
I listened over and over to the 1971 BBC performance.
The drum performance on that special is not eqiuvelent to the album version.
Perhaps my ears are still not up-to-par,
but,
there is no way that those recordings are the same drum performance ( CTY Album and 1971 BBC).
I can’t really think of another way to explain this. The BBC version is the original studio album version. It’s identical. Listen for yourself from 0m43s.

The big giveaway is the heavily processed lead vocal and the layered backing vocals which are all Richard and Karen. They simply cannot be recreated live, as we all know. Maybe the BBC audio was re-EQ’d and you’re hearing slightly different or maybe sharper sounds on the snare, toms and hi hat. But I assure you, it’s the original studio album version.

 
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Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
You wanna hear Karen play drums on "Help!" live? I've just uploaded my own cassette recording of Carpenters performing "Help!" at Philadelphia's Academy Of Music back in April of 1972. I can assure you, as this was the second song in the concert, that Karen was behind the drums.

 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
^^ I think it has been proven beyond a doubt that the '71' BBC version of Help was a complete mime job! It sounds exactly like the cut on the CTY album.
 

Toolman

Simple Man, Simple Dream
You wanna hear Karen play drums on "Help!" live? I've just uploaded my own cassette recording of Carpenters performing "Help!" at Philadelphia's Academy Of Music back in April of 1972. I can assure you, as this was the second song in the concert, that Karen was behind the drums.]

I actually like this recording, for all its roughness, better than the album version. A bit less shrill, a bit more spontaneous (or giving the appearance of spontaneity). Thanks for sharing it, Harry.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I can’t really think of another way to explain this. The BBC version is the original studio album version. It’s identical. Listen for yourself from 0m43s.

The big giveaway is the heavily processed lead vocal and the layered backing vocals which are all Richard and Karen. They simply cannot be recreated live, as we all know. Maybe the BBC audio was re-EQ’d and you’re hearing slightly different or maybe sharper sounds on the snare, toms and hi hat. But I assure you, it’s the original studio album version.
The BBC was also broadcasting and recording in mono. I can't think of any 45 releases of Help, but I do remember reading that Help was being prepped as a possible 3rd single from the Close To You album. Could there possible be a mono mix that the BBC was using for the special?
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I am glad that "Help" was not the second single...I do not care for the song as much as others
from this album.

Richard Carpenter
:
Also featured in this album are
Help
which was slated to be our second single, until “Close To You” came along..."
"Others I feel are particularly strong are “Baby It’s You” & “Reason To Believe

Source:
Carpenters: Close To You album, 1970, Karen Carpenter, Richard Carpenter
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
^^reading further from the source you provided Gary;

"Nevertheless, Herb continued to “keep the faith” and we started recording a second album, the first two tracks recorded being “Love Is Surrender” and “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again”. This was before “Close To You” was brought to our attention."

I always thought that A&M did not give the green light for a second album UNTIL Close To You was burning up the charts. Alas, that is what I love about this forum, seems you learn something new everyday.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Apparently Reason To Believe was a re-record for the Carpenters on Close To You. According to the official website Reason To Believe was one of the first tracks Richard had Karen record at Magic Lamp. It's to bad that Richard has never released this version---sure it would probably be from acetate, but it would be interesting to hear the Magic Lamp vs the A&M version.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Apparently Reason To Believe was a re-record for the Carpenters on Close To You. According to the official website Reason To Believe was one of the first tracks Richard had Karen record at Magic Lamp. It's to bad that Richard has never released this version---sure it would probably be from acetate, but it would be interesting to hear the Magic Lamp vs the A&M version.
It may have burned up in the Osborn fire with a lot of other things.

Ed
 
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