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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)

    41 vote(s)
  2. ****

    29 vote(s)
  3. ***

    9 vote(s)
  4. **

    2 vote(s)
  5. *

    2 vote(s)
  1. Yes we all would do just that.
    If Karen had more of that kind of careing (not saying she didnt) but from what's said in randy's book, and other places. damn this girl needed a big ole HUG.
    and a major break from her mom...
    i mean look what happened when she tryed too move out? agnes goes kookoo. who does that?
    she gave life to Karen but damn, she was a cold bitter thing.
    aaflyer98 likes this.
  2. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Happened to notice, yet, another variant issue of the (artwork for) Horizon LP.
    This pressing has, on the back Cover Photo of Karen and Richard,
    the Carpenters Logo and album name placed directly above Karen's head.
    It is a replica of that which is on 'the flap' of the front cover.
    The original pressings have only the Karen and Richard photo
    encompassing the back of the album cover.
    I know later pressings omitted the flap.
  3. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Some quotes pertaining to Horizon:
    Yesterday Once More,Carpenters Reader
    , 2012:
    Page 158,
    ( Melody Maker Interview 1975)
    Karen: "Cut 'Aurora' and 'Eventide' the same time, same day around 1 a.m."
    "Richard made Horizon in the worst sate I've seen him in. When it was done, we weren't glad it was done,
    we were upset with the way it turned out."
    Richard: "She never liked Solitaire at all."
    "John Bettis and I Wrote a song, "Can't Say Goodbye" along with the two others on Horizon.
  4. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Well, I must say, though I am not overwhelmed by Richard
    Carpenter's arrangement for Desperado, I am taken with Karen's vocals.
    I listened to Carrie Underwood's recent rendition of the tune...I will not comment...
    though it does reinforce undeniably that Karen Carpenter remains unparalleled.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  5. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    I agree with Karen. "Solitaire"'s a dog - especially in that arrangement. It's "elevator" through and through. It plods horribly and I never listen to it. The record is sonically great but you can hear the fatigue in it - especially when we get to this train wreck.

  6. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    An interesting (partial) chart list from
    September 2, 1975,
    Rock Singles Best Sellers
    #1 Rhinestone Cowboy (Glen Campbell),
    Fallin' in Love, Jive Talkin' (Bee Gees), Wasted Days and Wasted Nights, At Seventeen, How Sweet it Is (James Taylor),
    Could it be Magic (Barry Manilow) Run Joey Run, Get Down Tonight (KC& Sunshine Band),I'm Sorry (John Denver), Fame (David Bowie),
    Mr.Jaws, Black Superman,
    and at:
    #14 Solitaire (Carpenters).

    USA LP Chart:Horizon at #13
    USA Hot 100: After seven weeks, Solitaire at#18
    In Brazil: Please Mr. Postman at#8
    In Britain:Horizon LP fell from #3 to #6 and The Singles LP went from #12 to #10.
    "Sell-out business already for the Carpenters tour here in November."
    70sFan, Jeff and BarryT60 like this.
  7. BarryT60

    BarryT60 Well-Known Member

    <<<look what happened when she tried too move out? Agnes goes kookoo. who does that?>>>
    My parents did... (I didn't like it, mind you...)... I remember when I announced I was engaged, my father was speechless and initially didn't speak to me at the announcement. He finally came around and eventually cared very deeply for my then wife, but man it was a rough waters for a while... Same for when my sister moved out a couple years later. He took it like she was stabbing him in the heart. I think that may have been some of that "old world" thinking, particularly, if you were from the north, and were a from the depression era... Many families stuck together until the marriage. Patriarchs (and clearly some matriarchs) of the families preferred to keep everyone together because that's just how they survived in those old neighborhoods. A united we stand, divided we fall sort of mentality. I know in retrospect many think Agnes was kookoo - but I think occasionally, it needs to all be taken in context... of time and circumstance.
    Again - not saying all that went down in that family was as normal as The Cosby Show, but some highlights that we pick up on now can sound so amazingly black and white - when in the 70's there were quite a few more than 50 shades of grey! :wink:
    Geographer, ullalume and Jeff like this.
  8. song4u

    song4u Well-Known Member

    I've thought about that too - Agnes being so upset about Karen moving out. My parents were children during the depression and it influenced them quite a lot. Also, Harold and Agnes were not young parents when R & K were born which only deepens the generation gap. Add in the fear that Karen might get swept up in the Hollywood life style and forget the values her parents instilled in her and it's not that off the mark that she would feel that way. Of course I think there were possibly skeletons in Agnes' family closet that may have influenced her as well.

    Nothing is as simple as kookoo, huh.
    Geographer likes this.
  9. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Whilst trying not to be the curmudgeon, should I also acquiesce to Richard Carpenter's
    assessment of this album?
    I think not.
    It is a brilliant pop album. 'Draggy', or not, there are some marvelous musical happening on this 1975 Vinyl.
    Granted, in an interview he was disconcerted that Only Yesterday (edited, at that, to 3m47s) sold only 600,000 copies--
    be that as it may, it is still my number one song of theirs, of anybody. Brilliant arrangement, 'manufactured', or not.
    The opening--the drumbeat, Karen's vocals---brilliant.
    One fine piece of overdubbing, also.
    So there, I can't find anything 'bad' to say about my all-time favorite album.
    But, I'm open to suggestions!
    no1kandrfan, 70sFan and goodjeans like this.
  10. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Agreed! There's so much "ear candy" from the b-section to the chorus. The best parts are the flawless harmonies at "tomorrow may be even brighter than today" and the "aaah" during the guitar solo. Brilliantly arranged and performed. Richard hears "sweet" and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. He's one of the best vocal arrangers that ever did it and this tune is all the proof anyone needs of that. I'm with you, Gary. I couldn't care less if he manufactured the tune with Bettis or not. Great is great and this is a great tune. Karen, too, just destroyed this. She spends the verses in her "money range" and the results are sublime.

    For my part, I have no interest in the "radio edit" and wish it didn't appear in so many places. I got the "Yesterday Once More" comp back in 1991 and thought the tune felt incomplete but didn't know why. When I got "Horizon" a few months later, I was very happy to find the tune lengthened as it should always be.

  11. byline

    byline Active Member

    It's interesting to me that in Chris May's recent interview with John Bettis, John disagrees with Richard and agrees with most of us on the virtuosity of this album. I'm paraphrasing, but I seem to recall John saying that he wishes Richard could hear the album the way he does, in all its brilliant musicianship and innovation. I think Richard's problem is that he remembers primarily the exhausting process that went into making the album. His memories of the process have so colored his perception of the end result that he can't unravel and set aside those feelings, and hear the album the way the rest of us do.
    70sFan and GaryAlan like this.
  12. Dutch

    Dutch Member

    I remember when the album came out in 1975 thinking what a wonderful sound it had, although the clicking of Karen's lips in the original mixes was a little irritating, especially on 'Solitaire'. That's been fixed now. I think Richard remembers the time and associates how things were for him. It's difficult to seperate those things, especially with music which brings back so many memories. 'Solitaire' is absolutely brilliant, it's sheer genius from Richard in his arrangement and Karen's vocal is definately one of her top 5. I don't know why alot of people don't get it. It's pure emotion! 'Only yesterday' is amazing, I did an assignment at college on that song and the teacher who was a jazz musician was totally impressed with the workings of the song, it's chord progression etc. I wish they had finished 'Tryin' to get the feeling again' and included it on the original album because that would have made 'Horizon' the perfect album. It's a little too short without it. 'Desperado' is a good recording but I think the song was totally wrong for them. And I'd love to know what Karen thought when she first heard 'Happy', it's totally mad and difficult to sing the chorus. Musically it's all over the place and there's nowhere to breath.

    In respect to Karen and her relationships, I studied Astrology for years and used to give readings, I strongly believe in it. Karen had a Leo moon conjunct Pluto exactly like Barbra Streisand. You think Karen's admiration for Barbra was a coincidence? Look at Barbra's relationship with her mother. But that aspect is very demanding and difficult to get on with, Karen would have been no angel!
  13. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Again, I am late to the party on this one--and, I realize it has been mentioned on the forum---
    I have listened to Horizon (literally, hundreds of times) both vinyl and cd:
    I have never heard the distortion on this song.
    Technique 5 43
    Q:"In 'Interpretations', UK and Japan releases, Richard explains about remixing 'Desperado', saying something like 'you did it for things that would bore the listener'. Well, why so? I'm just dying to know why and so I beg you to please put down more of your input.."

    Richard Carpenter
    " “Regarding ‘Desperado’ - This was remixed because the harmonica goes up quite high
    and there was intermodular distortion at the end of it, especially on vinyl.
    Even on CD, there is a ripping sound when Tommy Morgan goes up high.”
  14. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    - Stephen Holden, Rolling Stone, 8/28/75.
    " Horizon, the Carpenters' most musically sophisticated album to date, smoothly adapts the spirit of mainstream Fifties pop to contemporary taste.
    While not an emotionally compelling singer, Karen Carpenter has developed into a fine vocal technician, whose mellow interpretations
    of the Eagles' "Desperado" and Neil Sedaka's "Solitaire" evidence professionalism on a par with such Fifties stars as Jo Stafford and Rosemary Clooney.
    Richard Carpenter has also grown into a highly skilled producer/arranger of easy-listening music.
    Against the carefully structured sound of the Carpenter formula, wherein Karen's solos burst in and out of diaphanous multi-harmonies, Richard has imposed more elaborately orchestrated textures than before and wisely mixed them at a level that doesn't distract attention from Karen's intimately mixed singing.
    For the Carpenters' many fans, Horizon offers their recent hits, "Only Yesterday" and "Please Mr. Postman" (a diluted pastiche of the Marvelettes' 1961 hit that's nonetheless pleasant). I much prefer, however, the short, identical mood pieces, "Aurora" and "Eventide" that serve as the album's bookends, and most of all the Carpenters' lovely remake of the Andrews Sisters' 1949 hit, "I Can Dream Can't I." Beautifully orchestrated and co-arranged by Billy May, one of the finest studio band leaders and arrangers of the Fifties and Sixties, "Dream" is such a gem of updated schmaltz it makes me wish that veteran masters of the studio like Gordon Jenkins, Ray Ellis, Nelson Riddle and Percy Faith would be encouraged to collaborate with other best-selling M-O-R acts of the Seventies."

    Revisiting this review; while listening to the album (this morning) .
    Observations therefrom:
    Who is an "emotionally compelling" singer, if not, Karen Carpenter?
    The reviewer did not elaborate on these descriptions--as they pertain to this album--
    "diluted pastiche" and "updated schmaltz".
  15. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    And now the reviewer might comment outdated schmaltz. But what relevant schmaltz it is! So says I.
    GaryAlan likes this.
  16. song4u

    song4u Well-Known Member

    Sublime schmaltz.
    GaryAlan likes this.
  17. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    By the way, the A&M Compendium interview (..."What follows are excerpts"...) took place late March 1975,
    "..nearing the end of the Horizon sessions.."
    Which means there is probably more to this Compendium interview than is transcribed in the July 1975 Leaflet.
    Richard: "We're spending a lot more time , not just in selecting the material, but in every last thing that has to do
    with the album. We're getting into a lot more stereo effects than the other albums had....things that have been
    happening lately in recordings, like stereo drums. We used to record the drums on two tracks--one track for the kick drum
    and another track for the rest of the set. We use four tracks now for drums. One for the kick, one for the snare, another one
    fro the left tom-tom and another one for the right tom-toms. In a lot of our recordings there has been a much thicker snare
    sound. We've really wanted to get into that and it takes time to EQ each different thing and experiment. ...Same with the Piano. "
    "..Also, we're recording at 30 inches per second, which cuts down on your tape hiss, and we're going with Dolby right
    from the ground up....We're using 24-track, too."
    "..If we had done this album like we did the other ones, it would have been finished...but, we're going through a lot of
    changes and we're learning a lot of things, and I really find it to be a nice experience

    NB: That Fire which destroyed Carpenters' Master Tapes caused incalculable destruction---both, from a physical standpoint and
    psychological stance. Notice all of the work Richard Carpenter describes regarding the making and recording of the Horizon album;
    Digital replicas of the music can never replace the immediacy, poignancy, of this process. Say--or believe, what one will, but,
    those Original Master Tapes are irreplaceable...zeroes and ones will never duplicate/replicate Karen and Richard's recorded output.
  18. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Horizon has some great drumming--- thanks to Jim Gordon. (Karen, of course, drums a great Postman).
    So, I learned something new today, as I did not realize Drummer Jim Gordon
    had been a member of The Wrecking Crew.
    Members of Wrecking Crew who played on Carpenters tunes, include:
    Joe Osborn (Bass),
    Tommy Morgan (Harmonica),
    Hal Blaine (Drums)
    Chuck Findley (trumpets)
    Larry Knechtel (keyboards--that second version of Close To You)
    Leon Russell (keyboards)

    I have a lot to learn.
  19. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    As well as guitarist Louie Shelton who went uncredited on the Close To You album.
    GaryAlan and ThaFunkyFakeTation like this.
  20. arthowson

    arthowson Active Member

    and Jim Gordon murdered his mother and sits in prison.
  21. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    Very true. Sad...
  22. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Very Sad, Jim Gordon and his personal Demons.
    However, if I let the personal Demons of every musician who ever played on
    Carpenters' songs interfere with my listening enjoyment, I likely would never
    listen to anything.
    I am in awe of his drumming on Horizon,
    that is where it ends!
  23. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    My viewpoint as well. I have no qualms about watching movies with OJ Simpson, listening to records produced by Phil Spector or with Jim Gordon on drums. I pay no attention to the politics of Phil Ochs or Sheryl Crow or even Andrea or Jim Corr. I listen to the music or enjoy the movie.

  24. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

  25. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    Very nice article! I too have wondered how he'd been doing considering the circumstances. Hopefully he is still making music of some kind.

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