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Official Review [Album]: "NOW & THEN" (SP-3519)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, May 2, 2013.


  1. ***** (BEST)

    13 vote(s)
  2. ****

    36 vote(s)
  3. ***

    16 vote(s)
  4. **

    1 vote(s)
  5. *

    0 vote(s)
  1. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    It is the song Jambalaya, performed by Jo Stafford and Sonny& Cher,
    that I refer to in the previous post. (How did I forget to include that?).
    Karen and Richard's performance outshines the others' in so many particulars.
    Regarding Now & Then, my only conceivable complaint (and it is a small one) is to
    ditch the instrumental Heather and replace it with another vocal song.
    I like the song (Heather), however, I believe the album would have broader appeal without it.
    Mark-T likes this.
  2. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Listening to vinyl copy, again, today.
    Which got me thinking and searching Billboard: http://hitsofalldecades.com/chart_hits/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=200
    Billboard has Now&Then as #34 of top albums 1973.
    Looking at the 33 spots above them, and considering that many of those artists were very much heav-y(-ier) rock acts,
    Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin,Allman Bros, Rolling Stones,Deep Purple,Grand Funk,Alice Cooper,Who....just to name a few,
    it is quite an accomplishment that Carpenters chart action was so high when in such (heavier) company!
    And, if I recall correctly, Alice Cooper is a fan (?)--correct me, if I err.
    Quite frankly, another testament to the genius and wide appeal of Carpenters music.
    Their albums held their own alongside the rock artists of the day.
  3. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    BBC Radio 1 deejay Kenny Everett played the whole of side 2 without interruption, don't know how he got away with it, but Kenny was well known for not conforming. (Feels weird after all these years referring to side 2 )
  4. Portlander

    Portlander Active Member

    I did not realize that Karen played the drums on the entire album, was Hal Blaine on vacation or was it Richard's idea? Alice Cooper is an admitted fan on a few different interviews. Make him even cooler in my opinion!
  5. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I never quite understood why Karen did not drum on all of the studio performances.
    After all, if she was loud enough in concert to sing and drum simultaneously, then,
    what was the problem (if any) with drumming in the studio.
    At least to my novice ears, her drumming sounds fine on the songs she does 'drum to' in studio.
    I know many here had the heavenly opportunity to see Carpenters in concert, how was the drumming?
    Guitarmutt likes this.
  6. Portlander

    Portlander Active Member

    Saw them in concert in Chicago in 1976 at the Aire Crown Theater and her drumming was excellent and her solo with multiple drum kits received a standing ovation. Was fortunate and honored to meet Karen and Richard alone on stage during the afternoon rehearsal as the Chicago Symphony was exiting the venue. They were warm and genuine and I proudly hang the autographed photo they gave me in my home after all these years.
    Tapdancer and GaryAlan like this.
  7. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I lived in Rockford (90 miles w of Chicago) until Easter 1976, then it was off to Florida.
    So, if that was the July 31st concert, I would not have been able to see them, in any event.
    Twice, then, I just missed getting "Close to the Carpenters" (the other was a concert 11/11/73 in Rockford).
    Oh,what a life!
  8. Guitarmutt

    Guitarmutt Active Member

    Oops, I kind of skipped ahead, I missed A Song for You, but here I am. Like so many, I find myself skipping 'Sing'. I love 'This Masquerade'. Well, lots of skipping. 'Sing' grates on me though I do enjoy the Japanese version. Plus, Yesterday Once More is a stone cold classic. When I mentioned the C's to a Japanese coworker, that was the song she knew, right away! I tend to skip Jambalaya too, but I enjoy 'Heather'and 'I Can't Sing' and the oldies and the reprise.

    The great songs tend to outweigh the songs that grate. But we all know now that no one is great all the time. We are,after all, only human, and we live in the times in which we live. This came after 'A Song for You' and before 'Horizon' which are both, in my estimation, great! Then 'Hush', then 'Passage', and the trend continued, at least for a little while longer. Oy, and that does not consider Karen or Richard's extracurricular activities. Oh boy!
  9. Guitarmutt

    Guitarmutt Active Member

    Sorry for typos. These modern, infernal machines that are so great??!??!
  10. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    One of the recent interviews I did on my radio show was with studio drummer Hal Blaine and bassist Joe Osborn. They talk in detail about this very thing and what influenced the decision to not have Karen drum on a majority of the studio tracks. Definitely worth a listen:

    The Download: Hal Blaine & Joe Osborn Interview
  11. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    You know, I think that nails why this song never worked for me as a cover version--it's too polished and that, to me, makes it very unconvincing. I mean, it's technically flawless, but it's not really their type of song. "This Masquerade" works so much better as a cover for them, although I still find George Benson's later recording of it to be the definitive version.

    I remember that this album came out a couple of years after I had outgrown Sesame Street, so hearing "Sing" was like a terrible, awful flashback for me at the time. :laugh: At that age, we'd had a lot of jazz, Latin, Bossa Nova and easy listening in the house, so some of the oldies on side 2 were the first time I'd really heard them well. So that side used to be fun to listen to (and as kids, we had the DJ schtick memorized word for word :laugh: ).
    A&M Retro and Chris May like this.
  12. toeknee4bz

    toeknee4bz Well-Known Member

    Well said. I can really relate to your experience with these albums, and I agree with your album ranking.
  13. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    It occurred to me, while re-listening to the entire album, and then singling out "This Masquerade"
    for multiple listens on multiple compilations, that the song was remixed in 1990 (From the Top, Gold).
    Is there any input regarding exactly what it was that was "remixed"? That is, what was altered?
    Karen's vocals are truly awesome on this song, and, for the most part, it is a fantastic piece.
    (In that same vein, the remix of "I Can't Make Music" (Treasures cd) stands out. But, it was perfect (1973) already!)
  14. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Refer to the Resource page on "This Masquerade": http://carpenters.amcorner.com/song/this-masquerade

    That particular song gave me more trouble in trying to identify the changes than any other. They're really subtle, but our Chris May helped immensely in pointing out the location of instrument changes in the stereo mixes.

  15. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Thanks so much for the reference, Harry.
    And, thanks, too to Chris May for the resourceful explanation.
    Those nuances would never have been identifiable to me!
    Much gratitude, as it was 'driving me (a little) crazy'.
  16. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    I didn't realize there were so many differences on "This Masquerade" other than the vocal reverb added to the remix I just thought they pretty much all sounded the same. It's nice to see it broken up on the resource site explaining the differences. This song is great in that it doesn't remind of the oldies album at all, it is not dated sounding at all. I will say that ever since Richard agreed to allowing this track to be played in the Karen Carpenter Story, it always reminds me of that scene in which it's played. This is probably not a good thing because I associate the song now with her divorce. I didn't feel that way before I saw the movie. :sad:
  17. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Some of Richard's remixes are quite subtle like this, with just a change of location of an instrument in the mix.

  18. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    This is ,ebay, interesting:
  19. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Album Review from Billboard Magazine, May 26,1973:
    " A unique concept--that of placing a series of new versions of old tunes such as Johnny Angel and Our Day Will Come, in the form of
    an old DJ radio show, with DJ and everything, sets this LP far above other LP's. Some radio stations are playing that entire side as a separate
    'show'. But the flip side is also jammed with hits and Karen Carpenter's charming voice--clear and melodious, virtually turns this LP into a
    Best Cuts:
    Sing, a hit single.
    This Masquerade, which would be great programming for an MOR station,
    Heather, which shows the piano artistry of Richard Carpenter and,
    the country prone,Jambalaya.
    Dealers: This should be another million-seller for the duo, good packaging backed by a hit single or two.

  20. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Spinning this one, last night.
    I do have one nagging question:
    Why 'Heather' ?
    Pretty tune, and I rather like the instrumental:
    be that as it may, Karen's vocal prowess in 1973
    begs for another vocal song, not a filler instrumental.

    Coleman Biography
    presents a somewhat conflicted perspective on this album.
    Page 128-9: "One day early 1973...Richard seeking a song to anchor an album with an oldies theme...Now & Then was born.
    He then orchestrated an oldies medley..."
    Page 138 (John Bettis) "...years of intensive touring...things to worry about...pressure on Richard when it came to planning for
    recording...is one reason Why the Now&Then album gained its format as a retrospective of Richard's favorite Oldies,...he didn't
    have the time...to listen to demos..."
  21. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    Just left the record haunt with the Japanese pressing of NOW & THEN CD-4 discrete 4 channel stereo QUADRADISC. Mint condition copy. Looks brand new. The side says 1974 A&M Records printed in Tokyo, Japan by KING RECORD CO., LTD. [​IMG]
  22. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    Damn! Great work! That's a rarity indeed and has an amazing mix.
  23. "Our Day Will Come" and "I Can't Make Music" are standouts. Everything else is "just" superb. I never used to think much of "Sing," but now when I listen to it, I think, "Wow, Karen and Richard deserved that Grammy nomination. No one else could have gotten the full potential out of such a simple song."
    Guitarmutt likes this.
  24. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Could have slipped in Karen's drumming on the advertisement, too.
    Rick-An Ordinary Fool likes this.

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