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

How Would You Rate This Album?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 14 15.7%
  • ****

    Votes: 20 22.5%
  • ***

    Votes: 30 33.7%
  • **

    Votes: 22 24.7%
  • *

    Votes: 3 3.4%

  • Total voters
    89

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Let Go...Let God (ONJ)
Stephen I know you have seen this it was pre recorded but Karen is singing live over the studio track I believe. She is barely whispering the lyrics, almost like she has no energy, very strange to hear almost like she's out of breath in spots. The Carpenters newsletter says it aired later in Dec 1981.

NEWSLETTER #73 - January, 1982
"Next day was a busy working day rehearsing for a TV show "Julio Iglesias Numero Un". Julio is a very prominent international artist. He accompanied Richard and Karen singing one 0f their earlier hits "Sing", "Top Of The World" was also included in the show which was video taped and aired in December."

Stephen correct me if I'm wrong but this version of Top of the World I thought was from the Julio Numero Uno Show.
The "Sing" performance has never surfaced but was suppose to be the 3 of them together singing.
So if your timeline is correct this was her last live performance backing a studio track (Richard's mic is cut off he's not singing here)


 
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Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Let Go...Let God (ONJ)
It would seem this was her last televised performance singing live. This and the Julio Iglesias appearance were only a day apart. All TV performances subsequent to this were lip-synched. As far as I'm aware, the performance at Sherman Oaks school in December 1982 was Karen sitting on stage singing to children over the top of their Christmas Portrait album tracks. Not a recorded performance at all, visual or audio.

I dug out the timeline for the 1981 Made In America promotional tour that I compiled years ago, after researching multiple sources online that detailed their 1981 activities, and thought I'd repost here. I've never heard the BBC Radio London Interview with Tony Blackburn or the Capital Radio Interview with Michael Aspel. Both of these guys were - and still are - very well known and respected broadcasters and presenters in the UK so I'm sure they were great interviews.

This timeline reveals that Karen was on this promotional tour in one unbroken spell, keeping up a relentless schedule, from 17th October to 7th November 1981. Absolutely crazy, considering the state of her health at that point and the fact that this album wasn't even selling all that well.

United States
22nd August - Japanese Telethon, live from Los Angeles
1st September - filming Merv Griffin Show, Los Angeles (aired October 2, 1981)
9th October - Good Morning America Interview, New York

Mid October - Europe
17th October - Palmares Show, Paris France (Touch Me When We're Dancing)
18th October - Sightseeing only
19th October - Numero Un, Paris, France (Sing, Top Of The World)
20th October - Top Pop and Mies Shows, Amsterdam, Holland

Late October - UK (London)

22nd October - Nationwide Interview with Sue Lawley
24th October - Multi-coloured Swap Shop interview (without Richard), album signing at Harrods Store
25th October - Dinner with Peter & Barbara Knight
(Dates Unknown during UK trip):
- BBC Radio 2 Interview with John Dunn
- BBC Radio London Interview with Tony Blackburn
- Capital Radio Interview with Michael Aspel

Germany
27th-29th Oct - filming Show Express, Germany (Top Of The World, Beechwood 4-5789), sightseeing then return to Paris for connecting flight to Brazil.

Brazil
November 1st - Arrive Brazil
November 2nd - Press interviews
November 3rd - Radio interviews, Generation 80s Show (Close To You, Begun, Back In My Life Again medley), Golden Globe (Touch Me When We're Dancing)
November 4th - Radio interviews, Sao Paulo
November 5th - filming Fantastico Show @ Sugarloaf Mountain, Brazil (Touch Me When We're Dancing), Sendas Shopping Mall Concert (Close To You, Back In My Life Again)
November 6th - Press interviews
November 7th - Radio interview/appearance, depart Brazil

Carpenters, Touch Me When We're Dancing, 1981 Live, Dutch TV
Stephen thank you for posting this timeline.
I saved this in my MIA folder...I've not seen it like this broken down so detailed.
Thanks for this write up.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Listening to a vinyl copy of the Yesterday Once More compilation (lic. silver eagle),
Those Good Old Dreams really does sound fantastic.
So, I still love this song. Lots going on musically,
Karen sounds delightful. Excellent arrangement and great RC/JB composition.
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
Listening to a vinyl copy of the Yesterday Once More compilation (lic. silver eagle),
Those Good Old Dreams really does sound fantastic.
So, I still love this song. Lots going on musically,
Karen sounds delightful. Excellent arrangement and great RC/JB composition.
I’ve always had mixed feelings of this song for it sounds too similar to Top of the World, and adds an easier easy listening vibe, which offers nothing new to the listener. The video makes it tolerable if you are fan since it’s the the first time we saw all those pics. While live audiences saw these in 1976 live shows visually backing We’ve Only Just Begin, and if the purpose was to use this song in the future it makes it even sadder that the band was never together for a live performance after 1978. These emotional blues make this song even harder for listening. And, it offers nothing better for musical value than was offered in 1972, actually less. It speaks volumes as to why MIA sold so little, it’s only redeeming value is that Karen is singing, but weaker sounding and sometimes sounding strained, not flowing and controlled as Top Of The World, or anything prior.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
It speaks volumes as to why MIA sold so little, it’s only redeeming value is that Karen is singing, but weaker sounding and sometimes sounding strained
It's interesting that you say this because I've always thought Karen sounded strained on the choruses for Those Good Old Dreams, particularly the line "no more dark horizons only blue". It just sounds as though it's too high for her, although the song itself is very rangey because at the other end you have the very low notes on the line "finding answers to my prayers". Even in the promotional video, which is obviously not live, it does appear that Karen is really singing along out loud to the track because her face and neck actually look strained when she goes for those high notes.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
The ranginess of the song--Those Good Old Dreams-- is one of the attractions for me.
On the same compilation--YOM-- is the song Top of the World,
listen closely---it is rangey too, simply not as obvious on a shorter song.
Contrary-wise, I do not hear strained so much as exuberance in those high notes.
It is a complicated song and there is so much happening in it, which a reason I do not
really believe it is too similar to anything. Lyrically, and certainly arrangement-wise,
it is not a clone of Top of the World.
 

adam

Active Member
Hi
I wonder why karen and richard where promoting Made In America in october 1981 when the Album was released in june 1981.It had left both the charts in US and UK by then.And did not even make the charts in other countries.
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
^^ Yes very strange they were promoting the album at that time. It was obviously a dog as far as sales were concerned. Karen looked awful and carting her around the UK and Brazil on a promotional tour was the last thing she needed health-wise. She wouldn't have been subjected to the infamous Sue Lawley interview or that terrible appearance on Good Morning America.
 
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GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Compare only three dates:
2nd August - Japanese Telethon, live from Los Angeles
1st September - filming Merv Griffin Show, Los Angeles (aired October 2, 1981)
9th October - Good Morning America Interview, New York

Notice that Karen changed in appearance quite a bit between the Telethon and Merv Griffin.
That is not a lot of time. She looked (closeup at 8m10s) and sounded (hear 9m5s) fine for the telethon.
The change between the telethon and GMA is, however, more drastic.
My point is this:
it is impossible to predict what was happening behind the scenes with karen,
and all parties concerned probably felt that the promo venture would lift her spirits and thus her overall health.
Jerry Weintraub would have been the person arranging these things for the duo.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Let Go...Let God (ONJ)
The long overseas tour was most likely to recoup lost sales from the US since it was so late in the year that’s what I’m assuming. It was most likely a business decision not a personal one. Karen probably convinced them she was fine.
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
Its just so terribly tragic. This album brings up so much reality thst the focus of great music gets left behind. What remained in the vaults in 1981 was better than this project. Thankfully, we have it all, and the focus should be the product but that is difficult with there being so much issue with most of these songs. I wish we could only talk about the good, or focus more on it. It’s more easily done with any other album. At the time of its release, I knew something was missing. I could not even recommend it to friends or Carpenters friends. The magic was not there and I knew nothing of anorexia or drug addiction that crippled them both. It’s so sad knowing that Music Music Music was soooo good! And, so is everything else recorded inside the vault.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
The change between the telethon and GMA is, however, more drastic.
This is a period of just 8 weeks. It’s frightening to see the change in her appearance from August to October. By the time the show aired, Karen changed her will and left almost everything to her family - concrete proof to me that she had already decided the marriage was all but over. So to me, it’s clear that the failing marriage was having a much worse effect on her than she was letting on in public at this time and the results were clear for all to see just a few weeks later.
 
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Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
I think too much is made of Karen's higher register being some sort of no-fly zone. She was perfectly capable of singing in a wide range of notes and was always dead-on accurate. Yes, her lower register was something special but that fact shouldn't automatically exclude anything else. Just a thought...
 
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GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
21 seconds in, of the song Invocation is another early example of reaching high notes !
In fact, as I have noted previously, the song Because We Are In Love is very much in the pattern of the song
Someday (Someday-- from 15 seconds forward-- is analogous to Because We Are In Love, plus other similarities).
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
She had an extensive range, with strength and ease in the years before the last years of anorexia during the 1981 MIA sessions in some of the songs. 1969-1978 were the best. In 1974 - 1978 she was in best voice! Still good in 79 to early 80. And some songs still recorded well up to the time she passed. As an aside, some songs can have the same in range but the average note in the song can be higher or lower. To me, I can listen to it all for I love her voice. In, 1973-1975, it was unbeatable and so was her appearance, to me!
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
She had an extensive range, with strength and ease in the years before the last years of anorexia during the 1981 MIA sessions in some of the songs. 1969-1978 were the best. In 1974 - 1978 she was in best voice!
Ironically I think she sounded at her absolute best - richest, fullest - in 1974 (the year they made no album) and then again in 1978, after three years of illness. Think about her vocals on When I Fall In Love and Little Girl Blue, not to mention all the Christmas tracks she recorded that year. Absolutely stunning.
 
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