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Official Review [Album]: "LOVELINES" (SP-3931)

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 13 18.6%
  • ****

    Votes: 37 52.9%
  • ***

    Votes: 11 15.7%
  • **

    Votes: 8 11.4%
  • *

    Votes: 1 1.4%

  • Total voters
    70

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
I really need to crank up the wayback machine, but I think the poor response to I BELIEVE YOU is what lead to the album being shelved. this is kind of a blur, because CHRISTMAS POITRAIT and THE SINGLES 1974-1978 were also released in that timeframe.

by the time LOVELINES was released, WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE had been a hit for England Dan a John Ford Coley, but I don't know if carpenters recorded it first or at the same time, as with TRYING TO GET THE FEELING AGAIN and Barry Manilow.
There isn't a lot of info out there on the aborted 1978/1979 album (I don't think Richard's ever spoken about it as an entity), but I think it was essentially nixed because Richard had to go into rehab. Looking at that list of tracks as well, it doesn't look much to me like the tracklisting for a finished album. For instance, some of the songs were recorded for TV specials rather than specifically for a forthcoming album.

That does still leave the question open of why 'I Believe You' was released at all at this stage, given that (I suspect) they were still a long way off having a completed album for which it would be a lead single at that stage, plus the fact that it was coming out alongside a Christmas album it had nothing to do with - and also that Richard and Karen were in no shape to promote it either (and didn't).
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Album: Lovelines
Date of Release: 10/31/89

Happy Birthday....one of my favorite albums....
No inner sleeve, what a pity.
Recollection:1989, One copy in retail outlet. I bought it.
Never saw another copy offered in a retail setting.
What a pity.
Great album.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Here is Billboard Magazine, 12-09-1989, page 72, Recommended Album Review:
THE CARPENTERS
Lovelines
"PRODUCERS: Richard Carpenter; Phil Ramone
A & M 13931
This collection of unreleased tunes is amassed from Karen Carpenter's
sessions with Phil Ramone and songs recorded by the brother and sister act
over the years. One listen and it's clear that no one (the closest is
Gloria Estefan)-has filled the void left after Karen's death in 1983.
There's a good reason why some of the syrupy material was never
released, but other tracks, like first single "
If I Had You," the classic
"
When I Fall In Love," and "Where Do I Go From Here," instantly recall
why the duo was one of the most successful of the '70s
."

Billboard,11-25-1989, page 9, Chart Beat:
And in the better -late- than -never department,
Karen Carpenter has the week's Hot Shot Debut on the Hot Adult Contemporary chart with "If I Had You," a track from a solo album she recorded a decade ago with Grammy- winning producer Phil Ramone. The album was completed in early 1980, but was never released. Carpenter died three years later. "If I Had You" is one of four tracks from the solo project included on a new Carpenters album, "Lovelines."
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
There's a good reason why some of the syrupy material was never
released, but other tracks, like first single "
If I Had You"

Billboard,11-25-1989, page 9, Chart Beat:
And in the better -late- than -never department,
Karen Carpenter has the week's Hot Shot Debut on the Hot Adult Contemporary chart with "If I Had You," a track from a solo album she recorded a decade ago with Grammy- winning producer Phil Ramone. The album was completed in early 1980, but was never released. Carpenter died three years later. "If I Had You" is one of four tracks from the solo project included on a new Carpenters album, "Lovelines."
Just two more examples of reviews which singled out If I Had You for praise. I remain convinced to this day that this song would have been a chart success and is the one which would - and should - have been released in early 1980, either as the lead single from the solo album or to test the water when A&M were against its release.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
"Syrupy" is the LAST word I'd use to describe Karen's solo work- if that's what's being singled out.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Just two more examples of reviews which singled out If I Had You for praise. I remain convinced to this day that this song would have been a chart success and is the one which would - and should - have been released in early 1980, either as the lead single from the solo album or to test the water when A&M were against its release.
"If I Had You" is great. Oddly, it's the only one in total where I prefer Richard's mix to Phil Ramone's. His acapella ending is far superior to Phil's simple and basic fade-out. I do prefer the vocal take Phil used to Richard's. Richard went with a very safe vocal performance while Phil went with a whisper-y delivery that was very un-Carpenters-like. Phil's mix of "Lovelines" just isn't very good as whole but I do prefer what he did with the intro of the song. Richard's intro is very standard.

The album as a whole is the last really good one we got from them. How Richard managed cohesion with all these disparate elements is entirely beyond me...but he did it.

Edit in: I love that I made the last statement 4 years ago in this very thread. I just saw it and had a laugh. Heck, it's likely I've already said all of these things in here already. LOL!!

Ed
 
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tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
The Uninvited Guest is easily the best Carpenters song for Halloween. Especially the line "A ghost is there", just sends chills down the backbone.

Hard to believe that it's been 29 years since Lovelines was released. 2019 will be it's 30th anniversary.
(Mod, just noticed on page 1 of this thread, "If I Had You" has no B-side listed, even though "The Uninvited Guest" was the B-Side in North America)
 
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newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
The album as a whole is the last really good one we got from them. How Richard managed cohesion with all these disparate elements is entirely beyond me...but he did it.
I've always been impressed by Richard's ability to make the album sound as cohesive as it does, given that the tracks come from such a disparate range of sources, time periods and circumstances.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^Agreed !
Now, regards
If I Had You.
I was listening to the solo version and the Lovelines version.
Now, I have always loved how Richard Carpenter altered the arrangement a bit.
And, I believe in the context of the Lovelines Album, that that alteration made sense.
Even so, as I listen to the solo version of the song--sequenced as it is on the solo album--
if you listen to its structure , that is, how Karen begins as a 'whisper,' then sings the lyric 'lullaby,'
(before the first 'If I Had You') then the progressively stronger build-up in vocal-volume as she sings of
the sun....well, you get it. Next verse begins, again as a whisper...followed by another strong vocal build-up.
So, the structure of this song really stands out as the song progresses.
And, the finale, those increasingly prevalent background harmonies,
the modulation toward the fade,
Wow !
 

leadmister

Well-Known Member
A 4-star album in my opinion. Not as strong on material as some of the others, but we get a fully-realized Karen vocal style at this point, with all the poise, prowess and grace that we have come to expect in post-1972 recordings. When you put into perspective that some of her greatest vocals were recorded at only 22, 24, 26, 28 years old, it boggles the mind. It's ironic that this particular offering showcases such ahead-of-its-time talent with selections that were recorded in years past.

Steve Ferguson's You're The One is the standout performance and composition here in my opinion. The first time I heard it, it literally brought me to my knees. If the right woman ever comes along, I want this to be our wedding song. The only thing that keeps this from being a solid 5 in my opinion is the inclusion of If We Try and Remember When Loving Took All Night. I just don't think they fit in here style wise. I tend to give Lovelines a pass because it's a better song and I like it as a more upbeat track one side one. If I Had You is another slight departure as one of Karen's solo tracks, but it's another decent song with those fabulous Heatwave vocals.

My opinions change over the years as I wise up. I originally hated this album as a whole, for reasons that were probably independent of the actual offering and more due to heartbreak, as this was the first new Carpenters album I ever owned, as well as the first period. I was reeling from her being gone, a lot more than I am today, and was bitter that this was possibly it. Then there was the whole emotional rollercoaster of the As Time Goes By release but I won't get into that here.

I always believed Richard's inclusion of Karen's solo tracks in this album was a way of admitting that it wasn't all bad, and maybe the beginning of coming to peace with how the whole solo album thing went. His recent comments about how it was more about family politics than the quality of the offering confirm that in my opinion. Quite a few of us can relate to Richard's predicament at this point in his life, where he has an abundance of yesterdays to look at, but a mere pittance of tomorrows. When you reach that point, perspective becomes clearer, egos are softened and you realize that it is far more important to your legacy that you have something to say, and not just something to show.

So at this point, just like with Karen's solo work, I look at what Lovelines has to say, and not just what it has to show.

[MOD: Comments in small print above relate to fake information posted elsewhere.]
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
What can I say, Lovelines is one of my favorite albums.
A great album. What a pity that
Kiss Me The Way You Did Last Night
is not anthologized, as it appears ONLY
on the original Lovelines and the remastered classics cd.
By the way, that is a remastered classics cd I do not have--
now, on the hunt for....

Little Girl Blue is a stand-out for me, as Karen sings it so captivatingly.
You're The One and Where Do I Go From Here are majestic masterpieces,
and, the cold-ending for If I Had You is a stroke of arranging genius a word I shy away from).
The four solo pieces are refreshing, to say the least.

Anyway, a fantastic album,
it should be better known.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
What a pity that
Kiss Me The Way You Did Last Night
is not anthologized, as it appears ONLY
on the original Lovelines and the remastered classics cd.
That continues to baffle me to this day. I cannot understand why it has never been anthologised, when it is far, far superior to many tracks which have been. Are there any other album tracks which fall into this category? There can’t be many.
 

leadmister

Well-Known Member
What can I say, Lovelines is one of my favorite albums.
A great album. What a pity that
Kiss Me The Way You Did Last Night
is not anthologized, as it appears ONLY
on the original Lovelines and the remastered classics cd.
It must be an oversight on Richard's part. No other reason. It's an exquisite performance.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^I wish I had seen that commercial when it aired on television,
as the photograph of Karen which begins the commercial shows how incredibly beautiful she was.

I listened to the album (beginning to ending) this morning.
What a great album !
I note, Honolulu City Lights is not anthologized very often, either.
The single HCL/I Just Fall In Love Again is a fantastic 45...
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Makes you wonder why “If I Had You” wasn’t issued as 45 nine years earlier. But listening to the commercial on my iPhone (just speakers, not headphones), I was wondering if there was a mono mix of “If I Had You” made in 1989 for TV commercials, since while there was STEREO TV back then, a lot of commercials were MONO because some stations were still broadcasting in mono. Of course it could be that the commercial was just recorded on a MONO VHS or Betamax.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
I don't recall if I ever posted an image of the promotional version of the CD. Notice that under the catalog number, there's a "DIPX" number instead of a DIDX number, but the DIDX is still there around the hub. Of course, the big difference is the PROMOTIONAL stamp.
scan0002.jpg
 

Jarred

Active Member
It's crazy how fantastic and complete this album sounds. Posthumous, yes, but it ranks with their best. Perfectly produced (soo much richer sounding than VOTH) and arranged, the songs themselves and their placement.

Do we know why it too him six years to get it done?
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Do we know why it too him six years to get it done?
Amongst other things:
  • Recording, arranging and producing An Old Fashioned Christmas (1984)
  • Recording, arranging and producing his own solo album, Time, over a two year period (1985-1987)
  • Executive Production work on The Karen Carpenter Story (1987-1988)
  • Recording, arranging and producing Scott Grimes debut album (1989)
  • Recording, arranging and producing Veronique album (1989)
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Honolulu City Lights
Amongst other things:
  • Recording, arranging and producing An Old Fashioned Christmas (1984)
  • Recording, arranging and producing his own solo album, Time, over a two year period (1985-1987)
  • Executive Production work on The Karen Carpenter Story (1987-1988)
  • Recording, arranging and producing Scott Grimes debut album (1989)
  • Recording, arranging and producing Veronique album (1989)
It’s no wonder he got it done at all and in 1989. It’s a fantastic album.
 
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