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Official Review [Album]: "MADE IN AMERICA" (SP-3723)

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

How Would You Rate This Album?

  1. ***** (BEST)

    11 vote(s)
    14.5%
  2. ****

    15 vote(s)
    19.7%
  3. ***

    27 vote(s)
    35.5%
  4. **

    20 vote(s)
    26.3%
  5. *

    3 vote(s)
    3.9%
  1. I completely agree! One of my favorites!!
     
  2. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    The Japanese Telethon has been re-posted. I continue to marvel at the fact that when
    Karen started to sing "live"--after the tape failed--she was strong and secure in her vocals.
    If she had been able to perform Touch Me When We're Dancing "live" on US Television,
    I do believe that song would have done better on the charts.....
     
    Carpe diem and Jamesj75 like this.
  3. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I still cringe when I watch this...Agnes and Harold were in the very first row. I always remember as the sound is pulled on the song “Touch Me”, Karen waves her fist furiously at someone at the back of the lot. You can tell she wasn’t happy.

    To come back to the point made above, they didn’t perform the song on any US show, which is really strange since it was their comeback single. I don’t understand why they did zero publicity for it in June in the US, instead waiting until August to surface on TV shows promoting weaker subsequent singles, by which time “Touch Me” had sunk off the charts. Had they actively promoted it, I think it would have gone top 10.
     
    goodjeans and GaryAlan like this.
  4. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Does anyone know why this was not "live" to begin with ?
    Karen sounded fine, Richard--supposedly--was "raring to go with his music"
    and, yet, here they are lip-synching....
    Saxophone was in great form--I mean Bob Messenger even started playing "live"
    So--what is the problem here ?
    Why was this not "live" to begin with ?
    a lot of embarrassment could have been spared.....
    the entire episode makes no sense to me....
     
  5. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    It’s probably because this was a live telethon. There would have been enough technological challenges involved in broadcasting this live back to Japan without having the entire band set up to perform live as well. That would have entailed a full mixing desk, stage monitors for all the musicians (as well as for Karen) and their own sound engineer to manage and mix the whole thing. Multiply that by all the artists that performed before they did and you can see how quickly it would have become a major logistical headache. Every artist would have wanted their own musical equipment set up on stage and their own sound engineer looking after their own respective performances. It would have been like trying to recreate Live Aid from the A&M lot. Look what did happen without all that :laugh:
     
  6. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Here is the write-up in the Fan Club Newsletter #71, September 1981:
    "The A&M soundstage and parking lot was the setting for a variety musical concert as various
    musical artists participated in a live telethon being transmitted by satellite to Japan August 22nd.
    Some artists performed inside the sound stage, but Herb Alpert played his 'Music Man' in the parking lot, which
    had been cleverly transformed into a concert arena...after waiting to see the closing act...Richard and Karen
    emerged looking just terrific....accompanied by Tony Peluso, Gary Sims and Bob Messenger. Alas, about
    halfway through their performance, a technical fault developed--the technicians lost the audio and so ended
    the performance. It was a disappointing finale, but great to see the group in good form."
     
  7. David A

    David A Active Member

    Thanks for this, I had no idea they didn't do any promo for 'Touch Me' until late in the summer. Summer of 1981...wonder what was going on, that they didn't do anything promotional. Hard to believe it was a conscious decision, particularly by the label. They would have wanted as much promotional appearances as possible, as early as possible.

    Knowing this now, I agree the song would have likely cracked the top ten.
     
  8. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    CashBox Magazine Feature Picks, 11/21/81:
    CARPENTERS (A&M 2386)
    "Those Good Old Dreams (4:12) (Almo Music
    Corp./Sweet Harmony Music, Inc./Hammer & Nails
    Music-ASCAP) (R. Carpenter, J. Bettis) (Producer: R.Carpenter)
    Skipping high hat and light, bright acoustic guitar
    picking in front of a pop symphonic string ensemble
    gives this latest offering from the "Made In America" LP
    that unmistakeably sugary Carpenters sound."
     
    Jeff likes this.
  9. John Tkacik

    John Tkacik Active Member

    Does anyone recall if their promotional video of TMWWD was shown on MTV that Summer? My local radio station in CT played it fairly often as I remember.
     
  10. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Worse still, the main show they did appear on, Merv Griffin, didn’t air until September, so it was even later that they were seen on TV. Their appearance on GMA wasn’t until October. Even the album was long gone by then...
     
    David A likes this.
  11. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Worse still...that Merv Griffin Show was a syndicated Program,
    so, nearly impossible to say which USA Markets actually aired the program, and, if so,
    at what time--conceivably at different hours/days-- in different Markets !

    This entire episode--promotion of Made In America,
    deserves some intense scrutiny !
    What on earth was happening ?

    For instance, Did the duo visit any USA Radio outlets ?

    There were plenty of promotional items from A&M:
    Posters (outer and inner jacket of LP),
    the infamous "Money Cube" (plastic cuve/Logo and shredded money inside)
    Bumper Stickers (Red Background/White Logo),
    Sun Visors....
    I'm sure I am missing something....
     
  12. John Tkacik

    John Tkacik Active Member

    According to Randy Schmidt's information in LITTLE GIRL BLUE, the Merv Griffin Show appearance didn't air until the first week in October. But either way, they should have been making the rounds on television appearances in May and June when the single and the album were released.
     
  13. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    As sick as Karen was at this point, she still manages to be attractive and charming (though you could tell she was getting angrier by the minute). Her quick wit is as sharp as ever. I loved the guy in the audience shouting out "Goofus!" as a request. Karen just rolled with it.
     
  14. Remember, the Carpenters were never considered "cool", even in their successful early years (because of their conservative goody-goody image). They looked even less cool as the decade progressed; as Disco, funk, punk, increasingly suggestive lyrics, and envelope-pushing new artists and fashions appeared. They seemed to only make things worse with how they presented themselves; corny TV specials, conservative fashions, songs with full orchestra and choirs instead of guitars, (mostly) uncool album covers, and singles that were out of sync with current radio sounds. They might have benefitted from collaborating with other artists (duets, guest artists on their albums or vice versa). They seemed too guarded to bend with the times; only wanting things done their way and it came back to bite them, I think. (Note: Passage was an exception, but perhaps too little too late.)
     
  15. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Interestingly enough, as far as the 1970's are concerned,
    I believe--if memory is any indication--that I saw the duo on TV twice,
    probably 1978--The Christmas Special and Space Encounters.
    Was not until many years later that I started seeing more thorough VHS Tapes
    that I purchased from the advertisements in the classifieds of music magazines.
    And, that would have been after the televised CBS-Movie.
    That Movie, in my opinion, is the prime catalyst for all (the good) that came afterward:
    That is, America finally opened their eyes and ears (again) to Carpenters !
     
    jaredjohnfisher likes this.
  16. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    Made in America was being Heavily promoted where I lived in Southern Idaho I saw their promo posters Plastered in the Windows and walls of many Record stores and a couple radio stations played their singles from that L.p. in regular rotation for quite sometime after the fell off the charts but the absence of tv appearances and tours did seem rather unusual to me but it was to be several years later until I was finally able to purchase the L.p. ( later the CD) to me it is one of the essentials of my collection sadly Not Everyone Shares my Musical tastes but that's ok "To Each Their Own".
     
    GaryAlan likes this.
  17. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Nice to read of the promotion for Made In America !
    Sure does seem strange that a so-called "comeback" album had no USA touring for promotion !
    Nor, any Radio Station visits from the duo, that I am aware of--in the USA.
    The European and Brazil promotion was there, but, even that has remained a curious
    event in their career--would like to have read more detail of that episode in the Coleman Book.

    As far as the Album, I remain fond of:
    Those Good Old Dreams
    Touch Me When We're Dancing
    When It's Gone
    Strength Of A Woman
    Because We Are In Love
     
  18. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Adult Contemporary Year-End:
    "Record and Radio" Magazine's 81 of 1981 (the first twenty-two):
    1 DIANA ROSS & LIONEL RICHIE/Endless Love
    2 KENNY ROGERS/I Don't Need You
    3 DAN FOGELBERG/Hard To Say
    4 AIR SUPPLY/The One That You Love
    5 JAMES TAYLOR E J.D. SOUTHER/Her Town Too
    6 CHRISTOPHER CROSS/Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)
    7 DOTTIE WEST/What Are We Doing In Love
    8 RONNIE MILSAP/(Theré s) No Gettin' Over Me
    9 JOHN LENNON/Woman
    10 JOEY SCARBURY/Theme From "Greatest American Hero"
    11 DOLLY PARTON/9 To 5
    12 JUICE NEWTON/Queen Of Hearts
    13 GROVER WASHINGTON JR./Just The Two Of Us
    14 GINO VANNELLI/Living Inside Myself
    15 DON McLEAN/Crying
    16 BARBRA STREISAND & BARRY GIBB/What Kind Of Fool
    17 EDDIE RABBITT/Step By Step
    18 NEIL DIAMOND/Hello Again
    19 NEIL DIAMOND/America
    20 GEORGE HARRISON/All Those Years Ago
    21 POINTER SISTERS/Slow Hand
    22 CARPENTERS/Touch Me When We're Dancing

    Note: John Bettis co-wrote Slow Hand.....
     
    David A, Jamesj75 and goodjeans like this.
  19. I remember finding Made In America in a store; kind of mixed in with a bunch of other new albums. I hadn't even heard they had a new album! Sad! No wonder Karen herself was said to "move her records out front" in the Century City record stores.
     
  20. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    So, returning to a listen of
    Made In America LP this morn.
    And....again...the stand-out track for me returns to
    Strength Of A Woman,
    the arrangement is slick, the background harmonies are great,
    the lead vocal is strong (especially compared to others on this LP),
    and the lyric is 'mature'....
    So, it appears on only two (UK and JP) other compilations
    throughout all these years,
    it deserves much more recognition.
     
  21. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Although it never bothered me, a lot of people make reference to the lyric being anything but mature, that it portrays the woman as a pathetic victim in the relationship. It was discussed previously here -
    Official Review - [Album]: "MADE IN AMERICA" (SP-3723)

    When I listen to it now, that always comes to mind. One lyric I find a bit yucky is this one:

    And, darlin', when you've been satisfied
    And it isn't new to you no more
    Think of me; I'll be here alone
    Waitin' for you to find your way back home
     
  22. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^The lyric...to my mind....are no more--or, no less--"yucky" than
    those of:
    I Believe You,
    or, Druscilla Penny...
    or, Mr. Guder
    .....
    or, Somebody's Been Lying

    Actually, a number of MIA sessions songs have that type of thing happening:
    Strength Of A Woman
    Uninvited Guest
    Two Lives
    Somebody's Been Lying

    Whereas

    Solitaire had a lyric changed to be more generalized,less personal to Karen,
    these later songs' lyrics made it 'personal'--- with Karen-- singing words such as.......
    "I" or "I'll" or "me" or "my" ....
    more so than earlier songs.
     
  23. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I must say, I am re-evaluating this album as I re-listen.
    As of this day, my two favorites are:
    Strength Of A Woman
    When It's Gone
    ....

    When It's Gone is almost Two Sides, part two !....who can resist the 'slide-guitar' ?
    Strength Of A Woman reminds me of another...Two Lives.....

    I'm still not completely sold on Beechwood or Back In My Life Again...but, they have moments,
    But, I still like the deeper vocal parts of Because We Are In Love,
    And, as always, I have loved Those Good Old Dreams since day one.
     
  24. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    Perhaps it didn't seem such a big deal in 1981 as it sounds now, but I have to say I find the lyrics in 'Strength of a Woman' pretty distasteful and regressive. It's not just 'I'm being cheated on', it's pretty much condoning it and then saying 'and when you've got bored, you can always rely on me to still take you back like the doormat that I am'.

    I don't care for the song musically either (the chorus sounds horrible), but that lyric is up there with those in 'Druscilla Penny' in terms of sounding completely unwise and outdated now. Far worse than the 'freckled little girl' lyric in 'I Believe You' that seems to so rile some people.

    What are the questionable lyrics in 'Mr Guder'? I've never really had a problem with that - if anything, its slightly savage edge marks it out as a slightly special song in their catalogue.
     
  25. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Very interesting !

    I suppose it is not really 'questionable' lyric to Mr. Guder, so much as the banality of the lyric.
    I've tried...but, after all these years, the two songs I really do not care for are still
    Guder and Penny !

    As for Strength Of A Woman--granted, the lyric does not stand the test of time
    --maybe not for any time--
    but, I still think Karen sings the song incredibly well.
    As for background vocals, to my ears, it sounds better than the background of I Believe You.
     

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