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Official Review [Album]: "HORIZON" (SP-4530)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Jun 1, 2013.


  1. ***** (BEST)

    37 vote(s)
  2. ****

    26 vote(s)
  3. ***

    8 vote(s)
  4. **

    1 vote(s)
  5. *

    2 vote(s)
  1. JBee

    JBee Active Member

    I think both things can instantly be true. "Solitaire" is one of Karen's best performances, but the song is such a downer than I can understand she didn't like it. I also, despite it being a clear example of what Karen could do with a so-so song (which lyric wise it is), think it was the wrong choice for the third single off the album coming off a top five (#4) hit in "Only Yesterday" - especially as it was released in the Summer (early August to be exact). It's just not a radio song and particularly not a Summer radio song. It's not what you want to hear on a hot day on the beach with the radio by your side. "Happy" which is an upbeat, happy (if you pardon the pun) song was a better pick (and would have done better on the charts) and even "Desperado" (which is also a showcase for Karen's voice), would have done as well, if not better than "Solitaire".
  2. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Active Member

    I see what you're getting at, but I'd argue that because I don't feel 'Solitaire' is all that good a song, the performance of it can only ever be good up to a certain point. When a great song is paired with a great performance (such as on 'I Can Dream Can't I?' or 'Ordinary Fool'), the end result is always going to be superior to a great performance of an inferior song.

    I'd also agree that 'Solitaire' wasn't a good choice of single. However, I suspect that after two upbeat singles, they may have wanted to release a slower song, hence why 'Happy' was overlooked (aside from the fact that they'd used it on the B-side of 'Only Yesterday', which suggests that it was never really in contention as a single by itself). That said, there were better choices on the album than 'Solitaire' if they wanted a ballad. 'Desperado' would certainly have been an option, although personally I'd have chosen 'Love Me For What I Am', which had a great performance from Karen and an unusually direct and 'adult' subject matter that might well have connected with listeners and made them seem a bit more contemporary.
  3. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    These are very interesting thoughts^^ !
    Interesting, also, because Desperado remains my least favorite song on Horizon !
    The arrangement of Desperado is simply not up to par (IMHO).
    And, it is a great song, although I do not care for it as much as Solitaire !
    Now, regards to Solitaire, perhaps the Lyric should not have been altered ?
    The original Lyric really does bring out the context of the song--I wish it had not been altered.
    The Searchers recorded a version in 1972, very well done.
    But, I must be one of the few who really loves Solitaire....the Single version.
    Guitarmutt and Jamesj75 like this.
  4. Guitarmutt

    Guitarmutt Active Member

    Well said!
  5. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    is interesting for three other reasons:
    Postman on the LP differs from the 45-Single,
    Only Yesterday on the LP differs from the 45-Single,
    Solitaire on the LP differs from the 45-Single.

    Of those three songs, I prefer the Postman and Solitaire Singles to the LP.
    I prefer the lengthier Only Yesterday to the abbreviated Single !

    The Picture Sleeve for Postman is not indicative of the later two picture sleeves,
    as the Postman picture sleeve features a late 1973 photo.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  6. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    Here is an article published around the time of the Horizon release. Can anyone explain what this means, first writer to be signed to the Carpenters publishing company?

    Cashbox Carpenters Aug 09, 1975

  7. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I'm guessing that a publishing house can have songwriters employed "in house" to write songs specifically for it and that he was the first one they brought in. Strange then that he never wrote a single song for the Carpenters :laugh:

    It's only just dawned on me the significance of the name "Hammer And Nails"!
  8. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    Apparently this Katakis only ever recorded one album, called "A Simpler Time", that was released on A&M back in 1977. Otherwise there seems to be very little about him online, with some people speculating that he's passed away from complications due to obesity.
  9. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    I don't remember seeing this one before....
    Cashbox Solitaire Single Review 8-02-1975

    Jeff and GaryAlan like this.
  10. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    This was posted a while back but I found a few more with a bit better clarity and possibly truer colors.


    goodjeans, GaryAlan and Jamesj75 like this.
  11. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    in the PASSAGE liner notes they refer to the sublime HORIZON . I wholeheartedly agree.
  12. NowhereMan

    NowhereMan Active Member

    I was curious about this Katakis fellow and I did a Google search on his name. One of the first things to pop up was this YouTube video that features music from the previously mentioned A&M album he released in 1977. If you pause the video to read the record label, you can see that there are three songs on Side Two that were published by Hammer & Nails Music.

  13. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Usually, when listening to Horizon,
    I tend to be averse to the song Desperado.
    Now, today, as I listen to the CD Compilation
    (one of my favorite compilations--even accounting for the abundant remixes),
    the song (here, with its June 9, 1994 remix) struck me as never before.
    I do so wish the steel guitar had been more countrified and more up-front in the arrangement.
    Who is playing the instrument on this song ?
    Liner Notes for Interpretations does not say.
    Per Horizon : Either Thad Maxwell or Red Rhodes (or, both ?).
    Mary Beth likes this.
  14. I think the biggest mistake made (as others have explained) is that they didn't release an album in 1974 - this would have changed things so much in terms of career momentum, longer popularity, and future sales. The album would have been a smash as Richard's arrangements were at a peak in terms of originality, freshness and energy and Karen's voice was at its richest (1973-75) and she was still utilizing it's genuine power and strength.

    (On a side note. was her later vocal style just that, a style? I know that by nature her voice did develop over the decade in terms of tone but in the later 70s and beyond her emotive-ness came from slower, more languid phrasing than from a direct yearning tone heard up until 1976. She said she used to "over-sing" which I never understood because she was never a consistent belter and when she did it was always in perfect service to a lyric. I think she made a conscious effort to sound more lighter, feminine, etc and the result was less forceful performances; she rarely used the innate power/belting heard on songs like Superstar or Desperado after 1975, and though she delivered stunning vocals in the latter half of her career I missed that old style. She had it in her still.)

    But a 1974 album could have helped them in a way that touring endlessly that year didn't. We could have had a whole other album full of gems to bask in. Those live shows are lost in time, only distant memories of those who actually were there; the studio albums will live on forever.
  15. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    How very true. Love this conclusion!
    David A and Mary Beth like this.
  16. Richard said something along these lines about how you don't just go off and tour the world and neglect recording for a while. Their artistry was rooted in those studio recordings, with the overdubs, lush orchestration and harmonies - the effect of which is almost impossible to replicate live. Karen could give a lyric a new twinge of emotion live and she was so lively, yet it seems she was able to find the right phrasing and emotional state best in a studio. Like Richard said they were a studio group rather than a live one (the Mamas and the Papas were another group who sounded amazing on record but that didn't always work live), even to the point where Karen lip synced to pre recorded vocals when dueting with Ella.
  17. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I contrast to my thoughts on the album cover for MIA, I absolutely love the cover photo for Horizon. Matches the music perfectly and presents K&R in a very mature, contemporary manner. Great in 12x12!
    newvillefan likes this.
  18. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Based on two of the songs on this album, I gave it five stars. Solitaire and I Can Dream Can't I. IMHO Solitaire is the finest recording EVER of Karen's vocal brilliance. I Can Dream Can't I is just wonderfully arranged and sung with a distant "longing" in Karen's voice. Horizon to me is bittersweet. It marks the coming downfall of The Carpenters and the start of the "Disco" era (Yuk!) of modern music.
    Jamesj75 and theninjarabbit like this.
  19. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the boards!
    Mary Beth likes this.
  20. David A

    David A Active Member

    I'm not sure which specific video interview I heard this, but Richard said that, looking back on it, not putting out an album in 1974 was "ludicrous." To the extent that I know their career arc, I think he is right. Although of course we'll never know what they would have put together musically for a '74 album, I _do_ think it would have been closer to their pre-'74 sound. Something changed in that 2 year gap that guided Richard in a different direction. Whether that change was because Richard felt a change was needed (for commercial viability?) or as artists they just evolved, I don't know.
  21. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    We recall ABC aired The First American Music Award,February 19,1974.
    Carpenters Won for Favorite Pop/Rock Band/Duo Category.
    (Apparently, the Awards show was being advertised in Billboard in December 1973 issue).
    Not only should an Album have been in the offing for 1974,
    but, it would have been a boost to the duo on the American front to have attended this Show.
    A 'live' performance,even ! After all, USA voted them #1 !
    Forward, now to July 1974: PBS Boston Pops Television broadcast.
    Karen Carpenter's vocals absolutely stunning !
    Here--PBS-- we have Richard's (nine minutes of ? ) Warsaw Concerto.
    Forward to December 1974, Perry Como Christmas,
    Again, stunning vocals by Karen Carpenter and
    another lengthy Piano segment by Richard Carpenter.
    Already, then, 1974, the duo begins to erode the Pop/Rock audience,
    while they segue into easier, instrumental offerings.
    I'm not exactly sure what a 1974 Album would have amounted to--
    (IMHO) they needed to move away from instrumentals/oldies/medleys !
    Mary Beth likes this.
  22. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    "I'm not exactly sure what a 1974 Album would have amounted to--
    (IMHO) they needed to move away from instrumentals/oldies/medleys !"

    GaryAlan, I am 100% in agreement with this statement. From This Moment On should never have been played for a television audience. It instantly "aged" Karen and Richard to a group of contemporaries who already wondered if they were too old fashioned.
    Mary Beth, newvillefan and Harry like this.
  23. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the welcome. I am growing to appreciate the music of The Carpenters and I am fascinated with Karen Carpenter. I bought a package of Carpenters albums on ebay (the first I have ever owned) last summer and have been playing them almost every day. Every time I hear that sweet woman's voice there seems to be another dimension to it I didn't notice before...Anyway, thanks for letting me join in...I got to familiarize myself with how the forum works, so if I don't get back on a comment pls forgive me.
    Don Malcolm likes this.
  24. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the welcome, pleased to join in!
  25. David A

    David A Active Member

    This makes sense, although it might have been completely different had they not been so overworked in '74. After all, they didn't do an album in '74 because they had no time, too much time on the road. That may have contributed to the "easier" things they did, with these performances. With a lighter schedule and actually working on an album, they might have relied more on their proven sound pre-74. Sadly, we'll never know.

    There may be forum members here who have knowledge of Richard addressing what a 1974 album may have consisted of. I am not aware of anything like that, myself.

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