• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are in the pipeline! The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy will be available on November 16, 2021 and can be ordered here. A big thanks to the authors and Richard Carpenter for their tremendous effort in compiling this book! Also, the new solo piano album Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is being released January 14, 2022, and is available for ordering here.

⭐ Official Review [Album]: "LIVE IN JAPAN" (GSW 301/2 (LP), D50Y3155 (CD))

How Would You Rate This Album?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 7 23.3%
  • ****

    Votes: 10 33.3%
  • ***

    Votes: 11 36.7%
  • **

    Votes: 1 3.3%
  • *

    Votes: 1 3.3%

  • Total voters
    30

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
“LIVE IN JAPAN”

liveinjapan.jpg

Catalogue Number: GSW 301/2 (LP), D50Y3155 (CD)
Recorded 6/7--6/9/74
Date of Release: 3/75
Format: LP/CD

Track Listing/Disc 1:

MEDLEY: 13:24
1
.) Superstar 2:58 (B. Bramlett/L.Russell)
2.) Rainy Days and Mondays 1:53 (P. Williams/R. Nichols)
3.) Goodbye To Love 3:29 (R. Carpenter/J. Bettis)

4.) Top Of The World 2:50 (R. Carpenter/J. Bettis)
5.) Help! 4:32 (J. Lennon/P. McCartney)
6.) Mr. Guder 3:52 (R. Carpenter/J. Bettis)
7.) (They Long To Be) Close To You 4:07 (B. Bacharach/H. David)
8.) Jambalaya (On The Bayou) 3:22 R. Addinsell/H. Williams)
9.) Yesterday Once More 1:38 (R. Carpenter/J. Bettis)
10.) Hurting Each Other 2:13 (P. Udell/G. Geld)

Track Listing/Disc 2:

OLDIES MEDLEY: 17:15
1.) Little Honda 2:15 (B. Wilson/M. Love)
2.) The End Of The World 2:04 (S. Dee/A. Kent)
3.) Runaway 2:09 (D. Shannon/M. Crook)
4.) Da Doo Ron Ron 1:37 (J. Barry/E. Greenwich/P. Spector)
5.) Leader Of The Pack 2:17 (J. Barry/B. Raleigh)
6.) Johnny Angel 1:03 (L. Pockriss/L. Duddy)
7.) Book Of Love 1:18 (W. Davis/C. Patrick/G. Malone)
8.) Sh-boom 1:32 (C. Fester/J. Keyes/F. McRay/W. Edward)
9.) Daddy's Home 1:47 (J. Sheppard/W. Miller)
10.) Johnny B. Goode 3:29 (C. Berry)


11.) Introduction: Colonel Bogey/Sing 4:26 (K. Alford/J.Raposo)
12.) Sometimes: 2:39 (H. Mancini/F. Mancini)
13.) We've Only Just Begun 4:22 (P. Williams/R. Nichols)
14.) For All We Know 3:13 (F. Karlin/A. James/R. Wilson)

Album Credits:

Recorded live June 7-9, 1974 at the Festival Hall - Osaka Japan.

Taken from the Carpenters Recording Resource:
On a noteworthy stop in Osaka, Japan as part of their world tour, the Carpenters recorded and released the LIVE IN JAPAN album. Issued in Japan as a 2-record set (GSW-301/2) and never in the US, it would be one of two live efforts to be officially released. Very representative of their 1974 concert sound, the album contains a good selection of songs that were favored by live audiences of the day. In addition to the hits, there are some of the lesser-known songs like “Mr. Guder” and “Jambalaya (On The Bayou)” thrown into the mix. Prominently featured on this set is the expanded live version of the “Oldies Medley,” complete with DJ Tony Peluso and a vocal assist from Pete Henderson, half of the comedy team of Skiles & Henderson who were touring with the Carpenters and providing the warm-up act. The touring band was comprised of: Cubby O’Brien (the former original Mouseketeer) on drums; Bob Messenger on electric bass, flute, tenor sax and backing vocals; Tony Peluso on guitar, organ, electric bass, and arp synthesizer; and Doug Strawn on electric clarinet, organ and backing vocals. As they would do just about everywhere they went in concert, for the backing on “Sing” the Carpenters would bring out a local children’s chorus – the Kyoto Children’s Choir in this case. The concert was long enough to have required two LPs, but short enough to have fit on one CD. Still, when reissued on CD (D50Y3155), it remained a two-disc set, boosting the price. Curiously on both the LP and CD, the opening minute of the concert features some feedback and warm-up noises before the announcer actually introduces the group.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
It's nice, it's fun. It shows off Karen's wonderful voice and proves it is not a studio trick. That said, I much prefer the 1976 Palladium set.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
It's fun, it's Karen looking her best and we get to see her drumming. The only downside is the annoying inclusion of their support act Pete Henderson and the "Colonel Bogey/Sing" segment. The inclusion of the kids just served to increase their cheesiness. 3 stars instead of 5 and this could have been issued on one CD.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Notice, also,
Carpenters Fan Club Newsletter#38, August 1974:
"All six shows performed in Osaka were recorded on a 16 track machine by King Record Company for
the release of a double-live Japanese record. Copies of the tapes are to be sent to Richard who will listen to
them all and pick the best of each show for a possible USA release."
"Tickets for all Japanese concerts sold out in less than an hour.
"

The Double LP is very nice:
The Photography on front Cover and the Back Cover... very attractive.
The inner, attached,12-page Booklet with lyrics and photos... plus a Poster.
Nice set through and through.
Vinyl Sound is warm and inviting.
I love (almost) everything about this set.
 

Jeff

Well-Known Member
Insofar as live recordings I rated this a 4 where Palladium will go 5 reasons forthcoming at topic. Meanwhile at JAPAN I love the exuberance and "healthy" appearance of concert performance. I didn't get this til import late 70 ' s and paid what a youth felt was top $$$. I agree the BOGEY thing is a little hokey. Still a must have!
 

song4u

Well-Known Member
Good memories associated with this one. During one summer of my teens, my family hosted some Japanese students on a summer school English immersion type of program. They were all aware of Carpenters and of course saw that I had all their albums to date. After returning home, Midori sent me this beautiful set as a thank you, which I played the life out of! :)
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
Listened to this a few days ago for first time in ages. It's good but not great. The CD version (which I have) loses a lot of the LP's nice presentation and could have easily fit on one disc rather than two.

The show sounds good but suffers from the issue of much of their live output in sounding so close to the studio versions. This strategy I always had problems with - it's fine to have some deviation from the original recorded version, as otherwise you can just listen to the studio albums. As a technical skill of replicating a recorded sound live, it's very accomplished, but it lacks something in my opinion.

The tracklist isn't bad. The Oldies Medley is interesting in how it differs from the version on Now and Then, although there's not enough Karen singing in it. 'Sing' works quite well partly in Japanese and with a real children's choir. 'Sometimes' is a nice inclusion but is taken at too fast a tempo and sounds rushed.

So, it's a three-star effort. Nice but not essential and probably not worth paying too much for on CD.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
I became aware of LIVE IN JAPAN when some copies of it managed to arrive at the radio station I worked at. Being a fan, I asked for a copy and was delighted to take it home and play it, and as a fan, it was a real treat to have on record nearly the same show that I'd seen Carpenters perform the year before.

As far as problems, I see the same root as @Rumbahbah - the songs were largely performed in exactly the same arrangements as the records - BUT, my problem is that it never sounded close enough to the way they sounded on records. Karen and Richard could each do just one voice, leaving any harmonies to the guys in the group - and try as they might, they just never sounded anywhere close to the records for my taste.

The potential solutions as I see it could have been:

- vary the arrangements to emphasize what the group was composed of.
- hire a couple of girl singers to fill on Karen's overdubbed harmonies.

Still, LIVE IN JAPAN is a pretty good recording of what their concerts sounded like. I made a home cassette recording of their show the prior year and the similarities are striking.

Harry
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
- hire a couple of girl singers to fill on Karen's overdubbed harmonies.

This is something that has always puzzled me. Why did they have a backing group of all male vocalists when 50% of their recorded harmony sound was female? Their live show would definitely have benefitted from at least two female backing vocalists. Having Dan Woodhams and co singing the higher parts in falsetto didn't ring true to me and is one of the reasons I don't ever listen to their live albums. When ABBA toured in 1977, they had a trio of all-female backing singers - Lena Andersson, Lena-Maria Gårdenäs-Lawton and Maritza Horn - to complement the female leads. The sound was predictably terrific and very close to the ABBA sound on record.
 

song4u

Well-Known Member
This is something that has always puzzled me. Why did they have a backing group of all male vocalists when 50% of their recorded harmony sound was female? Their live show would definitely have benefitted from at least two female backing vocalists. Having Dan Woodhams and co singing the higher parts in falsetto didn't ring true to me and is one of the reasons I don't ever listen to their live albums. When ABBA toured in 1977, they had a trio of all-female backing singers - Lena Andersson, Lena-Maria Gårdenäs-Lawton and Maritza Horn - to complement the female leads. The sound was predictably terrific and very close to the ABBA sound on record.
Well, R & K were very loyal to their original band mates. And perhaps they didn't want another female vocalist because, really, who would measure up to sing with Karen?
 

Joeyesterday

Well-Known Member
Considering this is a live concert recording from 1974, it is a fantastic live performance. My only critique would be Close To You when Karen sings ...just LIKE me...I've heard her emphasize "like" on some other live recordings as well.
 

Joeyesterday

Well-Known Member
Notice, also,
Carpenters Fan Club Newsletter#38, August 1974:
"All six shows performed in Osaka were recorded on a 16 track machine by King Record Company for
the release of a double-live Japanese record. Copies of the tapes are to be sent to Richard who will listen to
them all and pick the best of each show for a possible USA release."
"Tickets for all Japanese concerts sold out in less than an hour.
"

The Double LP is very nice:
The Photography on front Cover and the Back Cover... very attractive.
The inner, attached,12-page Booklet with lyrics and photos... plus a Poster.
Nice set through and through.
Vinyl Sound is warm and inviting.
I love (almost) everything about this set.
Gary, I hope RC still has those copies and will see the light of day someday.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Well, R & K were very loyal to their original band mates. And perhaps they didn't want another female vocalist because, really, who would measure up to sing with Karen?

What I meant was back up singers in addition to the backing band. I definitely think it would have made a difference. Plus, you wouldn't expect backing singers to measure up to anyone - they're there simply to make the overall sound better or more authentic to the recorded equivalent.
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
I'm glad we're talking about all of this. Another thing that really bothered me about their live stuff is the way Karen sang a lot of her leads. Don't mis-hear me on this - Karen sounds fantastic in any form. But much like what member Joeyesterday points out with Close To You, I felt Karen did this with a lot of the songs. Take for instance their appearance on "The Carpenters' Very First Television Special" from 1976. When she sings We've Only Just Begun, she pronounces it "be-gaun", as well as over-pronunciates her "Rs" - something they both did quite a bit live. This always baffled me about Richard's approach, but I never thought enough about it to have conversation with him, considering how damned phenomenal all the records sounded. Water under the bridge at this point...
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I'm glad we're talking about all of this. Another thing that really bothered me about their live stuff is the way Karen sang a lot of her leads. Don't mis-hear me on this - Karen sounds fantastic in any form. But much like what member Joeyesterday points out with Close To You, I felt Karen did this with a lot of the songs. Take for instance their appearance on "The Carpenters' Very First Television Special" from 1976. When she sings We've Only Just Begun, she pronounces it "be-gaun", as well as over-pronunciates her "Rs" - something they both did quite a bit live. This always baffled me about Richard's approach, but I never thought enough about it to have conversation with him, considering how damned phenomenal all the records sounded. Water under the bridge at this point...

It's interesting Chris, I know it's being picky to do so but I think Karen really over-pronounces a lot of words and phrases when she sings live and I agree she does the same with 'R' sounds, pronouncing them with too much 'attack'. It's affected in style and does grate on me if truth be told. Words like 'don't' (as in "Don't you remember you told me you loved me baby") she pronounces as if she's speaking in a posh English accent.

The below video is a good example...I've tried to spell the over-pronunciations and affected notes the way my ears hear them:

"Woot ave got they used to call the blues"...
"Some kinda lonely clan"
"Rainy days and Mondays ool-ways get me d-a-a-a-n"
"Fanny bot it seems that it's the only thing to do"


 
Last edited:

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
One thing I think this is attributed to, is the level of energy and excitement one is expected to bring to a live performance. As a music director who has been involved in both studio AND years of playing/MDing in large venues, the cardinal rule is that like with theatrical performance, you generally have to over-accentuate certain dynamics and such just to break even, let alone bring an added energy to ones performance.

One of the biggest problems that Karen and Richard faced was that so much of their catalog was adult contemporary - soft pop if you will. If they went and tried to recreate many of their songs *exactly* like the record, you'd probably lose a certain percentage of the audience. This is precisely why Richard said that their success all stemmed from the records. "You don't send us off touring and doing all these shows." I think he knew but I also think the way they switched up their vocals live was partly to fix this problem, as well as try to present a "technically correct" technique when singing live. I think in the end it made the live performances less-interesting, at least on a playback 40 years later. Just my $.02.
 
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newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I think in the end it made the live performances less-interesting, at least on a playback 40 years later. Just my $.02.

I would agree Chris and for me, what it boils down to when you take away all the flash they added later (like motorcycles on stage and Karen in fake boobs for the Grease section) is that their repertoire was mainly made up of love songs. It was never the most scintillating show on earth and watching the Budokan video is a boring experience for me, save for when Karen is behind the kit.
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
I would agree Chris and for me, what it boils down to when you take away all the flash they added later (like motorcycles on stage and Karen in fake boobs for the Grease section) is that their repertoire was mainly made up of love songs. It was never the most scintillating show on earth and watching the Budokan video is a boring experience for me, save for when Karen is behind the kit.

Agreed! And actually, the stuff I LOVE, is for instance I Need To Be In Love from the London tour. Karen, whereas she switches up her phrasing and dynamics a little, still delivers the song and nails it - especially when she's in her lower register. That's the stuff that really makes my hair stand on end, with Richard's accompaniment and arrangements to support.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Richard Carpenter fired drummer Jim Squeglia, as he:
"...insisted there would be no improvisation, that to please the record buyers in the audience every song should match, note for note,
their records
."(Coleman, Page 101)
"...Jimmy, I don't care if the audience is screaming and yelling with enthusiasm, we have a record out there
and our stage performance must match it
." (ibid, page 102).

Without throwing in motorcycles, or fake body parts for Karen, the Concerts could have been more rousing.
How,then, did Neil Sedaka accomplish it?
(My two cents.)
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
Richard Carpenter fired drummer Jim Squeglia, as he:
"...insisted there would be no improvisation, that to please the record buyers in the audience every song should match, note for note,
their records
."(Coleman, Page 101)
"...Jimmy, I don't care if the audience is screaming and yelling with enthusiasm, we have a record out there
and our stage performance must match it
." (ibid, page 102).

Without throwing in motorcycles, or fake body parts for Karen, the Concerts could have been more rousing.
How,then, did Neil Sedaka accomplish it?
(My two cents.)

SO funny you mention this. I was going to also remark on the drumming. I HATE the live drums on much of their stuff (save for Karen's work of course). Those drum fills and even the timbre and tone was almost bombastic and downright ridiculous. They're over-played and just cheesy, which is why the above remarks never, ever made any sense to me! Did I miss something?
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Chris, very interesting observation regarding drums !
Notice, too, how often different drummers, and thus different styles,
were utilized in the recordings--especially the later period in their career (post- Hal Blaine).
Also, Coleman quotes (p.119-120) members of the band (Doug Strawn) :
" ..She'd do it her way, Richard wanted it to go faster. She'd take her pause to the maximum, and
they'd get into a shouting match
."
 

song4u

Well-Known Member
Also, Coleman quotes (p.119-120) members of the band (Doug Strawn) :
" ..She'd do it her way, Richard wanted it to go faster. She'd take her pause to the maximum, and they'd get into a shouting match."
This came to my mind while reading this thread. I wonder now when hearing live performances whether their differences were manifested at other times as well.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Song4u, along with your pertinent question:
"I wonder now when hearing live performances whether their differences were manifested at other times as well."
I,also, wonder how--or, if-- those same differences played out in the recording studio.
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
Song4u, along with your pertinent question:
"I wonder now when hearing live performances whether their differences were manifested at other times as well."
I,also, wonder how--or, if-- those same differences played out in the recording studio.

I was of the understanding that this was more so to piss Richard off when they'd had a disagreement as opposed to Karen trying to exercise her creative independence.
 
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