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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.


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  1. Keep 'em coming, Chris! Never can get enough of these great promotional ads. Thanks so much.
  2. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    Billboard placed a 4 page ad for the album Now & Then issue June 2, 1973 Promoting the Brand New Single Yesterday Once More

    Jamesj75 likes this.
  3. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Another Richard Carpenter interview question:
    Why Heather ?
    Yes,the melody is beautiful....
    but ,so is Karen Carpenter's Voice,
    and, I would rather have had another vocal song included--not an instrumental piece.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  4. BarryT60

    BarryT60 Well-Known Member

    Okay - I mentioned earlier that I really liked the understated ad blocks for the earlier singles... However, not too keen on A & M's verbiage here for the Now & Then album promo.... Seems a bit contrived - and as we all know - the album doesn't 'start' with Yesterday Once More...

    So - for fun-sies, I re-wrote the ad copy!

    How about this:

    Keep one foot in the present with 5 fabulously produced new songs from Karen & Richard, including their top 5 hit, ‘Sing’, and one foot in the harmonious early sixties, with 9 delicious ‘oldies’ – capped off with an anthem for the ages, their new single, ‘Yesterday Once More’.

    Carpenters Now & Then. Every Sha La La La STILL shines.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  5. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    Excellent ad copy, Barry! They could have used someone with your insight and creativity! :)
  6. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    Billboard album review for Now & Then May 26, 1973

    song4u likes this.
  7. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    A rather detailed , interesting, essay for
    Now & Then
    test photos, and all:


    In part:
    "As with so much of The Carpenters story , the details of the sleeve proved to be fascinating.
    The album came out in 1973, at a time when the duo found themselves under enormous pressure and with little time to write.
    Realizing they’d only mustered enough material for one side, Richard Carpenter decided to fall back on a popular part of their stage act,
    an oldies medley they’d begun performing the year before. This was now recorded in the studio and became side two of the LP.
    In contrast with most big selling acts at the time, where sleeves were given as much thought as the music,
    The Carpenters seem to have suffered, perhaps from a certain amount of snobbery at the label."

    "The pictures were taken by Jim McCrary who had joined A&M Records in 1967 as their chief photographer.
    The problems with the cover photo were not due to a lack of technical skill
    Indeed he’d been over the the house to check the location out the day before to make sure he had the right equipment for the shoot.
    Looking at the test shot it seems he used a fairly wide angle lens .
    It does sound like he was caught up in an argument between art director and band. ."

    "After all the arguing, A&M were not happy with the photographs and decided to turn them into a painting.
    This is credited to ‘Design Maru’ , but I think it was done by noted Japanese airbrush artist Shusei Nagaoka.
    He did a number of record sleeves at this time, the best known of which are his elaborate airbrushed sleeve illustrations for Earth,
    Wind & Fire and the cover for Out of the Blue by Electric Light Orchestra.
    .....The car window edge largely hid Karen’s face. “It cost a lot of money to make (the sleeve)."
    ......By this time, we’re not in the studio, we’re out on the road, so we didn’t get a chance to see what they were doing with it.
    And they sent it. And it was wrong. If you look at the cover, there’s this thing with the Ferrari Daytona (a 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4),
    where it has a vent window. And it so happens that the way they took it, it cuts Karen’s face in half.”
    "Not knowing this, I’d assumed the fact that the two musicians were so hard to see was a deliberate decision,
    a comment on their wish for anonymity perhaps, rather than the outcome of an acrimonious photo shoot!"

    "Further problems arose over the inner sleeve.
    A&M commissioned illustrator Len Freas to do portraits of the two, but these turned out as rather cheesy oil paintings,
    particularly the one of Karen (“It’s dreadful” is all Richard had to say). All in all the art budget must have been huge.
    And needless to say The Carpenters would have paid for it all whether they liked it or not.
    Nevertheless almost by accident, the final cover did end up being quite mysterious and eye-catching."
    byline and goodjeans like this.
  8. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    I forgot to post the Single Review for "Sing" from Billboard issue Nov 17, 1973

  9. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    "Karen taking a more up front role than in previous singles"

    What exactly does that mean? She's the lead singer, where else would she be? :rolleyes:
    goodjeans likes this.
  10. LondonRobert

    LondonRobert Active Member

    Perhaps it means more 'up the front' in the mix perhaps?
  11. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I rather suspect the Billboard "..no info available on the flip..."
    was purposeful, after all, Druscilla Penney !
    And, good question,
    "...more up front role..."
    What could that possibly imply ?
  12. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    I was looking over this album's track-list again since this thread has resurfaced.

    In my previous post on page 1, I said that I didn't like "Sing" as a lead-off track, but none of the other songs really stand out as being lead-off track material. It's probably sequenced about as well as it could be sequenced. If they'd had one more strong track that could have been placed in the pole position, then "Sing" would have been a good choice to close off Side 1.

    I do like "Heather;" it's a pretty melody and I'm sure it's included because Richard was trying to put across (as with his vocal and instrumental tracks on ASFY) that "hey, it's not ALL about Karen!"
  13. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Maybe...but then you can't get more up front in the mix than songs like For All We Know, Superstar or Rainy Days And Mondays :)
  14. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I don't think there would have been a better lead off single than Yesterday Once More, but I guess with the concept design of side 2 of the album they had no choice but to hold it for that side. I think you're right, one more strong song would have been much better placed to open side 1 and Sing could have rounded it out after the dreary I Can't Make Music.
  15. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Richard Carpenters's Notes on songs from Now & Then:

    ...." We thought it was quite catchy and I pictured an arrangement with Recorders and Children's Choir.
    The Debut Single, and in addition to becoming a 'hit', it has become a standard." (Anthology)
    Jambalaya...."Karen and I always loved the song and felt it would be a good selection for us." (Anthology)
    "...became a Gold record in Japan." "Our biggest hit ever in Holland." (Essential)
    This Masquerade..." I heard this tune on Leon Russell's Carney Album and was immediately taken with it.
    I feel this is one of Karen's best performances." (Treasures)
    I Can't Make Music...." We heard Randy Edelman perform this song while opening a show for us. The arrangement
    calls for pipe organ, which was then recorded in Whitney Studios, Glendale , California." Remixed for (Treasures).

    IMHO, as much as I love " This Masquerade" ,
    I really love "I Can't Make Music" .
    A question:
    Why wasn't This Masquerade the debut single ?
    (It became the B-side for Please Mr.Postman, that's late 1974 !)
    70sFan likes this.
  16. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I have to agree with you there GaryAlan, why wasn't it released as a 45? I think it's strong enough to have been the lead single in my opinion and probably would have done well and become a classic amongst their singles released.

    Interesting side note: it was even featured on 1990's Their Greatest Hits in the UK...the only song on that 20-track compilation that was never actually a single nor a hit for them in any of the big territories like the US, UK and Japan.
    Last edited: May 3, 2015
  17. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator


    I think the reason why that picture looks so awful is that it's reversed. Does this look better?
    goodjeans likes this.
  18. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Yes Harry, it's Richard's hair :laugh:
  19. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I see from the most useful Forum Resource, here, that
    This Masquerade was part of the
    Japan Single Box Set (which I do not own.)
    Also, it appears on the massive-selling Twenty-Two Hits Compilation,
    thus, this song is well known, one presumes, in Japan ?
    Was it not on the B-side of Please Mr. Postman (Japan Single ) ?
    (Now, I realize that I do not have a 45-vinyl of the Japan Postman!)
  20. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    Okay, I'll say it...

    Looking at the packaging for "MASCARADA" ('This Masquerade'), as posted by Harry and as presented in single format for Mexico:

    Is is just me, or does Karen look Hispanic in this picture? Not only her face, but also the dress? Was this done by design to attract the Mexican record buyer? Maybe it's simply daunting to me because I have never seen this picture of Richard and Karen, and both look so different. (And, yes, I have been witness to the many looks of the C's over the years.)
    Last edited: May 3, 2015
  21. song4u

    song4u Well-Known Member

    No, peasant blouses were popular then, and Karen was known to tan well. Plus, Richard never looked blonder than in that photo! :wink:
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  22. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    Hi Gary,

    I own the Japanese Single Box Set Collection and disc #18 in this collection is the single 45 that was released in Japan Side A is Please Mr. Postman and Side B is This Masquerade.

    Here is a pic from ebay that will eventually go away when the sale ends but you can see the sleeve showing it was the B side. In the future you should consider getting the Japan Single Box set, the details are amazing, they replicated the sleeve and 45 single label to be exact matches, there tiny 3"discs and the sleeves are tiny too but man when you see the detail that Japan went through to make this collection, it really is breathtaking to hold in your hands. They even made the CD 3" single to have the look of grooves like it does on a real 45 record. It's groovey man!!! :cool:
    It's a shame we will never see a US Box set of singles like Japan did for this collection.

    Current Ebay Photo of 45 single.
    GaryAlan and Jamesj75 like this.
  23. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    No it's not just you James. I think they use a photo that closely resembles the native land because I can see it too. I've seen them do this on other countries too, sometimes Karen can look like she was from all different countries Ha Ha. Did you notice this pic above, their teeth are almost exactly the same, it almost looks real, fake or scary which ever you want to pick. :laugh:
    Jamesj75 likes this.

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