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

How Would You Rate This Album?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 14 14.7%
  • ****

    Votes: 21 22.1%
  • ***

    Votes: 34 35.8%
  • **

    Votes: 22 23.2%
  • *

    Votes: 4 4.2%

  • Total voters
    95

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
I would first of all suspect the cassette tape transport of not being the correct speed. If you have multiple cassette players, double check the tapes on those other players to see if they sound fast on those tapes too. Cassette motors and transports are notorious for not being totally accurate.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
I would first of all suspect the cassette tape transport of not being the correct speed. If you have multiple cassette players, double check the tapes on those other players to see if they sound fast on those tapes too. Cassette motors and transports are notorious for not being totally accurate.
So many problems with cassettes on the whole and this is definitely one of them. Another huge one was the awful Dolby B that only sounded good if you played the tape back on the same deck you encoded it on. I'd just stick to the LP or the CD. Avoid pre-recorded cassettes entirely. Heck, I avoid them all and most of us do now.

Ed
 

John Adam

"Two Lives"
First, we can't change history. Maybe it's a waste of time with all the "what ifs."

But "MIA" being the most posted about album from the Carpenters, it seems many of us wish we could change history. In the recent "Kiss Me The Way You Did Last Last" thread, talk of what songs should of made the "cut" on the Made In America album in 1981.

First considering (if) they had the time and resource$$$ to complete the productions and background vocals on more songs, and recut any leads. They had a lot of material to work with from 1980. I am discounting any KC solo, or any cuts recorded before this time. This would be an all current album. "I Believe You" would find it's home in a later compilation, as (IMO) it is out of place here.

Mine would be a super ambitious "double vinyl album" which of course would never have materialized, as it wouldn't of been commercially viable at the time. Plus it would affect history by taking songs away that were used in VOTH, Lovelines, and ATGB, for the better or worse..... "Strength Of A Woman and Somebody's Been Lyin'" would of remained finished outtakes in my fantasy, to appear later perhaps or as bonus cuts in a future CD release, or not!

If I left out anything, please chime in and correct me, or have any additions or your suggestions, feel free to implode! :wink: JA

Side One:
Those Good Old Dreams
Touch Me When We're Dancing
When It's Gone
Two Lives
At The End Of A Song

Side Two:
Kiss Me The Way You Did Last Night
Prime Time Love
Make Believe It's Your First Time
Your Baby Doesn't Love You Anymore
Beechwood 4-5789

Side Three:
Without A Song (KC & RC vocals)
Medley 1980 (From Music Music Music)
Your Just In Love (KC & RC vocals)

Side Four:
The Rainbow Connection
(Want You) Back In My Life Again
The Uninvited Guest
When You Got What It Takes
Because We Are In Love
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Rick's post above (1278) is telling on a number of levels.
The promo-advertisement for
Want You Back (In My Life Again) refers to it as:
"definitive new single..."
Now, I kind of enjoy the song, however, "definitive" is not a word I would use in this instance.

Interestingly enough, the song If I Had You
also contains the phraseology: "...back in my life..."
 
Rick's post above (1278) is telling on a number of levels.
The promo-advertisement for
Want You Back (In My Life Again) refers to it as:
"definitive new single..."
Now, I kind of enjoy the song, however, "definitive" is not a word I would use in this instance.

Interestingly enough, the song If I Had You
also contains the phraseology: "...back in my life..."
I also enjoy (Want You) Back in My Again a lot, but I recognize that I liked it more when I was younger.
Maybe because it was their lead single here in Brazil, and it had some good airplay from the years after, so I remembered from my childhood, when by that time I didn't even know who the Carpenters were.

Now as I grow-up man I do like If Had You a lot more.

My complaints about the BIMYA are: Karen's vocal is completely buried in the mix. She sounds weak and more a backup instrument in that song (and in the whole album actually) than a vocalist. The two versions that I've seen where her voice was brought upfront made the song got so much better.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member

Don’t know which show this is from (is that Merv Griffin at the start?). Richard looks out of place in that white coat!
Yes, Merv Griffin. Poor Karen looks so unwell. Even without killing you, anorexia can destroy your natural beauty. I know she still has some appeal here, but she just looks so unhealthy and unnatural.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
Rick's post above (1278) is telling on a number of levels.
The promo-advertisement for
Want You Back (In My Life Again) refers to it as:
"definitive new single..."
Now, I kind of enjoy the song, however, "definitive" is not a word I would use in this instance.

Interestingly enough, the song If I Had You
also contains the phraseology: "...back in my life..."
I don’t think ‘Back In My Life Again’ defines Carpenters’ sound or the album. It does have one or two defining elements - the background vocals, for example - but I’m glad they didn’t do anything else that sounded like this.

As for being done with authority - yes, the song is upbeat and the background instruments have a little power but the song is generally weak and Karen sounds detached and quite weak - not strong and forceful, at all.

My opinion seems to be different from a lot of people. For starters, there were still a lot of middle-of-the-road acts charting high in America with very middle-of-the-road songs rooted in styles of the previous decades - and would be for quite a few years to come.

I personally like a lot of the sounds and songs on ‘Made in America’, but do recognise that they weren’t going to set the charts afire at the time. In fact, I was surprised at the time that ‘Touch Me When We’re Dancing’ got anywhere as high as it did in the Top 40. It has a sterile sound and lacks a number of the strong features that made Carpenters’ earlier recordings so good.

One issue that detracts from ‘Touch Me’ for me is that the higher sections are out of Karen’s range, she sounds strained in those parts and you can clearly hear that. This is also evident in the higher parts of ‘Those Good’ Old Dreams’ and ‘When You’ve Got What it Takes’, etc.

Having said that, the songs that I particularly like from the album are ‘Those Good Old Dreams’, ‘When You’ve Got What It Takes’, ‘Somebody’s Been Lying’, ‘I Believe You’, ‘When it’s Gone It’s Just Gone’ and ‘Because We Are in Love’.

Of the outtakes from this era, I love ‘At the End of a Song’, the K&R version of ‘Make Believe it’s Your First Time’, ‘The Rainbow Connection’ and ‘You’re Enough’ - or was that later? I like ‘The Uninvited Guest’, ‘Your Baby’ and ‘Two Lives’ but they all need re-records on the lead vocals. Karen sounds strained in all of them in considerable sections.

Of the earlier songs from the ‘I Believe You’ era, I particularly love ‘Honolulu City Lights’ and ‘Where Do I Go From Here’, amongst others.

I don’t particularly like Karen’s vocal sound on the Ella medley and some of the other recordings.

I don’t particularly like ‘Prime Time Love’ - I think it’s not a good composition - stilted and limited chord progression, etc. ‘Kiss MeThe Way You Did Last Night’ was too much like ‘Touch Me When We’re Dancing’ to be on the same album. Karen sounds strained in the higher sections and if Carpenters wanted to move away from their sugary image, this was not the way to do it.

As we know, there were so many problems plaguing Carpenters at that time - Karen’s health, Karen’s vocal sound as possibly impacted by her health, Karen’s choice of singing style - a little too ‘affected’ and ‘proper’, in this period - choice of material, image, shunning by radio, changing times and sounds running away from them, over-production, etc. etc. Things weren’t going well for them in so many areas.
 
Last edited:

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Yes, Merv Griffin. Poor Karen looks so unwell. Even without killing you, anorexia can destroy your natural beauty. I know she still has some appeal here, but she just looks so unhealthy and unnatural.
I remember showing my dad that Merv Griffin clip and he didn’t recognise her and couldn’t believe it was actually her when I told him.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Paul Grein wrote of Those Good Old Dreams (Singles 1969-1981 Liner Notes): "Richard Carpenter and John Bettis
combined elements of two of their biggest hits--the nostalgic theme of Yesterday Once More and the country-tinged accessibility of
Top of the World."

IMHO,
That is a fairly accurate representation of the song.
In any event, the song remains a favorite. It is a wonderful song,
too bad it did not do too well on the charts--perhaps it simply not a good "single" choice.
A lot of neat things happening in this song.
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
Paul Grein wrote of Those Good Old Dreams (Singles 1969-1981 Liner Notes): "Richard Carpenter and John Bettis
combined elements of two of their biggest hits--the nostalgic theme of Yesterday Once More and the country-tinged accessibility of
Top of the World."

IMHO,
That is a fairly accurate representation of the song.
In any event, the song remains a favorite. It is a wonderful song,
too bad it did not do too well on the charts--perhaps it simply not a good "single" choice.
A lot of neat things happening in this song.
It might have been nice in 1972, next to Jambalaya, but by 1981 we expected something different. There were plenty in the bag to choose from. Plus the lyrics are not John Bettis’ best being kinda trite and hokey, if there is such a word. And you are right about a fluff abum cut instead of it being single worthy. Yesterday Once More was magic at any time period.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^No, I do not mean to imply that because it may not be "single-worthy" that Those Good Old Dreams was "a fluff album cut."
Indeed, it is far from fluff. This a complex pop/country song, even if the lyric is not to everyone's liking (for the record,
the lyric is better than those of I Believe You, as far as I am concerned--and miles beyond Mr.Guder or Druscilla Penny).
Single-worthy, or not, it's a great song as far as I am concerned.
It IS different.
They (Carpenter/Bettis songs) can't all be Yesterday Once More or Only Yesterday or I Need To Be In Love,
nor should we expect them to be.....
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
^^No, I do not mean to imply that because it may not be "single-worthy" that Those Good Old Dreams was "a fluff album cut."
Indeed, it is far from fluff. This a complex pop/country song, even if the lyric is not to everyone's liking (for the record,
the lyric is better than those of I Believe You, as far as I am concerned--and miles beyond Mr.Guder or Druscilla Penny).
Single-worthy, or not, it's a great song as far as I am concerned.
It IS different.
They (Carpenter/Bettis songs) can't all be Yesterday Once More or Only Yesterday or I Need To Be In Love,
nor should we expect them to be.....
I’m just addressing the issue of it flopping on the charts. I listen to it, too but I am a Carpenters fan. I know there are songs we prefer and for the most part we always agree. Crescent Noon is better than it to me. It gets more airplay on my iTunes rotations. Now, back in 1981, I promoted it among friends for it does have its appeal, but it did not travel up the charts nor did I Believe You, which I have always liked simply for how good Karen sounded on it plus it’s dissonant harmony mixed with the usual. They all have their appeal. Even the dreaded, When It’s Gone, which is the only song of theirs I usually skip that is a favorite of most everyone else on here. (I still try to like it!) I think I even remember you saying that we all can’t like the same songs. For the songs that turned gold and platinum it is difficult to find anything against them unless you weigh them as something they were not intended, as opera or period music art songs by Schubert, etc, even lyrics weighed against the intended realism of a full message folk tune voicing concerns over a political climate or land conservation. Well, Bless the Beasts and the Children could compare for the latter. It’s hard to be an accurate blanket statement, for From This Moment On could compare to those in a classical vein. But, for most of Made In America, the songs have as many pluses as minuses, to me. Those bulk of songs were designed to put them back on the charts, and for that task, the others that came later in releases that were recorded at the same time could have had a better shot. That’s all I am saying. I happen to like the fluff selections, too. Slow Dance and When You Got What It Takes are 2 of my favorite fluff songs. The overdubbing and message are calming and pleasing and vocally pleasing with a good balanced tone. The last thing I want to do is offend anyone, especially when I respect their opinion and when they are someone who is the avid fan you are. We probably can tie on how we saturate in their music. Plus it’s hard to interpret tone in a message. Please give me the benefit of the doubt.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
I haven't been in the mood for dark, slow, or moody these days. So, I fall back into playing Hush, Passage, Made in America or Close to You.
Even the solo album. MIA has its charms (I'm listening to it now), but its far from what it could have been.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Good point, CraigGA, the issue of Those Good Old Dreams flopping on the charts and with Made In America
having as many plus-es as minus-es. The album has always been a mixed bag to my ears:
For example, I like Beechwood, but the song seems out-of-sorts for a 30-year old Karen to be singing at that point-in-time.
I almost like I Believe You, but release of that song should have remained with the 1978 single (itself a flop).
I understand the move to release Want You Back (In My Life Again), it is catchy and I like it, but to this day I think
Ron Tutt's drumming overwhelms the song. I love the harmony on When You've Got What It Takes, but, I do not care for the song as a whole.
I'm drawn to Strength of A Woman for many a reason (many folks are not and that is understandable).
Even the song Touch Me When We're Dancing, which I like, seems to have Karen reaching for too many high-notes,
perhaps to the detriment of the song (?). Portions of Because We Are In Love are quite satisfying (true enough,
it does not compare with We've Only Just Begun, but how could it ever ?).
The years between Passage and Made In America did seem like an eternity back then, but when the album came out, I had to get it !

By the way, CraigGA, no offense meant by my words. I simply needed to clarify my position on Those Good Old Dreams.

My "go to" albums these day revolve around Horizon, Hush and Passage: A great triple-play.
My "go to" compilation these days is The Singles 1974-1978.
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
Good point, CraigGA, the issue of Those Good Old Dreams flopping on the charts and with Made In America
having as many plus-es as minus-es. The album has always been a mixed bag to my ears:
For example, I like Beechwood, but the song seems out-of-sorts for a 30-year old Karen to be singing at that point-in-time.
I almost like I Believe You, but release of that song should have remained with the 1978 single (itself a flop).
I understand the move to release Want You Back (In My Life Again), it is catchy and I like it, but to this day I think
Ron Tutt's drumming overwhelms the song. I love the harmony on When You've Got What It Takes, but, I do not care for the song as a whole.
I'm drawn to Strength of A Woman for many a reason (many folks are not and that is understandable).
Even the song Touch Me When We're Dancing, which I like, seems to have Karen reaching for too many high-notes,
perhaps to the detriment of the song (?). Portions of Because We Are In Love are quite satisfying (true enough,
it does not compare with We've Only Just Begun, but how could it ever ?).
The years between Passage and Made In America did seem like an eternity back then, but when the album came out, I had to get it !

By the way, CraigGA, no offense meant by my words. I simply needed to clarify my position on Those Good Old Dreams.

My "go to" albums these day revolve around Horizon, Hush and Passage: A great triple-play.
My "go to" compilation these days is The Singles 1974-1978.
Its funny you mention the Singles 1974-1978. I recently bought that. Back in the day I had it on cassette. I forgot that album cuts were used but I still enjoy it. Just think if You’re The One headlined it or Where Do I Go From Here. I like what was out on the shelves for 1978 and I feel some were great selections. At any point, I like the snapshot of history it represents. Horizon and Passage are 2 of my favorites and I have listened to all 4 recently too. I really like You. I always have. It takes me to a few other favorites on the Hush album.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
As far as Because We Are in Love goes, I'm not a fan of the Broadway style (Look to Your Dreams being the exception). That said, the opening is one of the few times on the album when we hear Karen hit that rich deep register again.
 
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