• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are now available. The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy can be ordered here. A big thanks to the authors and Richard Carpenter for their tremendous effort in compiling this book! Also, the new solo piano album Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is available for ordering here.

⭐ Official Review [Album]: "OFFERING"/"TICKET TO RIDE" (SP-4205)

How Would You Rate This Album?

  • ***** (Best)

    Votes: 16 22.9%
  • ****

    Votes: 22 31.4%
  • ***

    Votes: 21 30.0%
  • **

    Votes: 10 14.3%
  • *

    Votes: 1 1.4%

  • Total voters
    70

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
My sense is that it's both, and that there were mixed results with the re-recordings. I loved the re-recording of "Ticket to Ride" (the song). For me, that's as perfect a marriage between Karen's warmly intimate voice and Richard's imaginative focus on the song's ballad quality. I was less happy with the re-recordings of "Merry Christmas, Darling" and Santa Claus is Comin' to Town". I loved Karen's huskier voice on the first recording of "Merry Christmas, Darling"; she brought such a soulful yearning to that version. Same with "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town". Karen's voice was smoother, by this time, but the first version had a lot more energy thanks to the jazzy brass accompaniment. The re-recorded version, with its modified arrangement, sounded "sleepy" to me, somehow. But I'm sure that Karen believed all the later versions better reflected her more mature voice.

Karen is quoted as saying she over-sang as a young vocalist. I disagree. I love the passion her younger voice brings to those early recordings. Whether she deliberately hit the "mute" button later on, or her physical condition meant that she couldn't push her voice like that, I don't know.

Having said all that, I have always loved "Ticket to Ride (the album). It showed so much promise in what Karen and Richard could deliver. It's interesting that it's the one album where she and Richard share lead vocals almost equally. In that, I think the album suffers a bit. Karen should be singing most of the lead vocals, with Richard shining on a few songs. That's a mistake I felt they made later on (in the opposite direction), in deciding that the albums were to be Karen pretty much solo on lead vocals. I liked the contrast Richard's lead vocals brought to their albums, even though Karen was clearly the superior singer.

I also like the fact that Karen drums on this entire album. I have never understood the criticisms of her drumming, but maybe it's because I have never heard her drum tracks for the "Close to You" album contrasted with Hal Blaine's. Maybe if I heard that, I would understand the difference.

One of the biggest highlights of "Ticket to Ride" is that it showcases those magnificent overdubbed vocal harmonies between Karen and Richard, which should have been their signature sound throughout their entire career (rather than, later on, having choruses try to mimic that sound ... always to disappointing effect, at least for me). It was such a distinctive sound. Karen's voice was a big part of that, yes. But those overdubbed vocal harmonies, with Karen's lead voice, were the distinctive Carpenters sound.
When did Karen re-record her Santa vocal? Or which version are you referring too? Since the two version clearly have different tempo’s. The 74 single is done in a waltz tempo around 106 bpm, whereas the 78 version is closer to 200 bpm. Clearly she had to do a different vocal in 78, as the 74 vocal wouldn’t have worked.
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
The ‘78 short album version is a totally different take. But he used the same vocal on ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’ from ‘74 for AOFC. Richard just remixed it and changed the sax solo. He also added a vibraphone or a synth keyboard part.
 

byline

Well-Known Member
The ‘78 short album version is a totally different take.
That's the one I'm thinking of. That version removed all the jazzy energy of the original recording. I was disappointed because I wanted the jazzy version on a Carpenters album. The only record I had of it was a 1975 Goodyear compilation of different artists performing Christmas songs. This was the same version they performed on Perry Como's Christmas special.

Am I imagining things, or didn't Richard also remove the brass parts for the version on "An Old-Fashioned Christmas"? I remember feeling so disappointed that it wasn't the same as what I'd heard before.
 
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byline

Well-Known Member
Am I imagining things, or didn't Richard also remove the brass parts for the version on "An Old-Fashioned Christmas"?
Oops, wrong album title. I should have typed:

Am I imagining things, or didn't Richard also remove the brass parts for the version on "Christmas Portrait"?

(And I should apologize. I didn't mean to derail the discussion with comments about alternate versions, though I suppose it's inevitable because they are part of the Carpenters oeuvre.)
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Oops, wrong album title. I should have typed:

Am I imagining things, or didn't Richard also remove the brass parts for the version on "Christmas Portrait"?

(And I should apologize. I didn't mean to derail the discussion with comments about alternate versions, though I suppose it's inevitable because they are part of the Carpenters oeuvre.)
You can’t really say that he removed anything, since it’s a completely different arrangement. And it was recorded in the traditional tempo mainly for the TV special, where it proved to be better suited for the tempo of the TV show than the slow version, and even on LP, it worked better.

But CP also contained two versions of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” on it, in different styles.

The 74 version was a one off, and even in 84, didn’t fit in with the tempo of the other tracks on AOFC.
 

byline

Well-Known Member
You can’t really say that he removed anything, since it’s a completely different arrangement. And it was recorded in the traditional tempo mainly for the TV special, where it proved to be better suited for the tempo of the TV show than the slow version, and even on LP, it worked better.

But CP also contained two versions of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” on it, in different styles.

The 74 version was a one off, and even in 84, didn’t fit in with the tempo of the other tracks on AOFC.
I understand what you're saying, and it is semantics. But for me, the first version of "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" had such an energy, one that I hoped they'd maintain in their music going forward. Instead, they went the other direction, which for me had a "sleepy" sound to it. It just wasn't what I preferred, so for me, the energy from that first version was missing, and wasn't a positive development. I realize it's my own personal taste, and is subjective, but I can't get around the fact that for me, there it is.

It's like listening to Karen's solo album and finding it lacking (as I do, with a few notable exceptions) because what makes her voice so special to me wasn't featured on that album. It's still her voice, of course. I can't argue that. But most of the framing for her voice just didn't ring true, for me. I also realize that other people don't feel that way, so this is an area where our different tastes cause us to form different opinions.
 

David A

Well-Known Member
My sense is that it's both, and that there were mixed results with the re-recordings. I loved the re-recording of "Ticket to Ride" (the song). For me, that's as perfect a marriage between Karen's warmly intimate voice and Richard's imaginative focus on the song's ballad quality. I was less happy with the re-recordings of "Merry Christmas, Darling" and Santa Claus is Comin' to Town". I loved Karen's huskier voice on the first recording of "Merry Christmas, Darling"; she brought such a soulful yearning to that version. Same with "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town". Karen's voice was smoother, by this time, but the first version had a lot more energy thanks to the jazzy brass accompaniment. The re-recorded version, with its modified arrangement, sounded "sleepy" to me, somehow. But I'm sure that Karen believed all the later versions better reflected her more mature voice.

Karen is quoted as saying she over-sang as a young vocalist. I disagree. I love the passion her younger voice brings to those early recordings. Whether she deliberately hit the "mute" button later on, or her physical condition meant that she couldn't push her voice like that, I don't know.

Having said all that, I have always loved "Ticket to Ride (the album). It showed so much promise in what Karen and Richard could deliver. It's interesting that it's the one album where she and Richard share lead vocals almost equally. In that, I think the album suffers a bit. Karen should be singing most of the lead vocals, with Richard shining on a few songs. That's a mistake I felt they made later on (in the opposite direction), in deciding that the albums were to be Karen pretty much solo on lead vocals. I liked the contrast Richard's lead vocals brought to their albums, even though Karen was clearly the superior singer.

I also like the fact that Karen drums on this entire album. I have never understood the criticisms of her drumming, but maybe it's because I have never heard her drum tracks for the "Close to You" album contrasted with Hal Blaine's. Maybe if I heard that, I would understand the difference.

One of the biggest highlights of "Ticket to Ride" is that it showcases those magnificent overdubbed vocal harmonies between Karen and Richard, which should have been their signature sound throughout their entire career (rather than, later on, having choruses try to mimic that sound ... always to disappointing effect, at least for me). It was such a distinctive sound. Karen's voice was a big part of that, yes. But those overdubbed vocal harmonies, with Karen's lead voice, were the distinctive Carpenters sound.

Couldn't agree more regarding the passion and intimacy of Karen's "younger" voice. I would add that a lot of artists (thinking singers here, but also other artists of varying types) often lose some of that youthful energy and emotion their earlier work seems to have. Again, that seems to be a natural occurrence, both, I think, as part of maturing and also refining and becoming more professional in their craft.

The trade-off, if there is one, is that Karen became a more rounded singer (my opinion), capable of successfully channeling a broader range of songs, while retaining most, if not all, of that earlier passion.

As others have said here, this album really holds a special place in that it shows their early musical roots and a glimpse of the promise of what was to come, while also containing a few amazing gems (Ticket to Ride is a flat-out gorgeous song).
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
It's like listening to Karen's solo album and finding it lacking (as I do, with a few notable exceptions) because what makes her voice so special to me wasn't featured on that album. It's still her voice, of course. I can't argue that. But most of the framing for her voice just didn't ring true, for me. I also realize that other people don't feel that way, so this is an area where our different tastes cause us to form different opinions.
In regard to differing opinions, Byline, I love the version of ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ that appears on ‘An Old Fashioned Christmas’ and consider it one of Karen’s best vocals. I also love Richard’s arrangement, as it appears on that album. Having said that, I’m not familiar with the 1974 single version as it was not played in my part of the world - may not have been released, even. (I’m aware that it hit the UK singles charts a couple of times, so people in Britain may know it well).

I was disappointed by the short, rearranged version for ‘Christmas Portrait’ but that was more or less a mood piece; sort of a passing scene in an overall scape of songs, so had its place.

And I do agree with your comments about Karen’s solo album. I definitely have always had the same feeling but that’s been debated long and hard on other threads, so back to ‘Offering’ / ‘Ticket to Ride’.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
Couldn't agree more regarding the passion and intimacy of Karen's "younger" voice. I would add that a lot of artists (thinking singers here, but also other artists of varying types) often lose some of that youthful energy and emotion their earlier work seems to have. Again, that seems to be a natural occurrence, both, I think, as part of maturing and also refining and becoming more professional in their craft.

The trade-off, if there is one, is that Karen became a more rounded singer (my opinion), capable of successfully channeling a broader range of songs, while retaining most, if not all, of that earlier passion.

As others have said here, this album really holds a special place in that it shows their early musical roots and a glimpse of the promise of what was to come, while also containing a few amazing gems (Ticket to Ride is a flat-out gorgeous song).
Agree with almost everything you’ve said here, David A!

I do think that a number of singers, as they get older, develop a warmth and sense of wisdom in their voice that was not evident when they were younger. The drop in pitch from the youthful, high-tension voice for some to the more relaxed, older-age tones is also often welcome to the ear, in my opinion.

However, Karen had that marvellous warmth, languidity and wisdom at a young age, as on ‘Offering’, so these things were never an issue, in her case.
 
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tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
In regard to differing opinions, Byline, I love the version of ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ that appears on ‘An Old Fashioned Christmas’ and consider it one of Karen’s best vocals. I also love Richard’s arrangement, as it appears on that album. Having said that, I’m not familiar with the 1974 single version as it was not played in my part of the world - may not have been released, even. (I’m aware that it hit the UK singles charts a couple of times, so people in Britain may know it well).

I was disappointed by the short, rearranged version for ‘Christmas Portrait’ but that was more or less a mood piece; sort of a passing scene in an overall scape of songs, so had its place.

And I do agree with your comments about Karen’s solo album. I definitely have always had the same feeling but that’s been debated long and hard on other threads, so back to ‘Offering’ / ‘Ticket to Ride’.
Also with CP you have to remember that as it was originally issued in 1978, it was close to 60 minutes in length which was 12-inch 33 1/3’s maximum length for decent sound. So the short Santa Claus would’ve worked better on a timing front, plus when I compare the LP to the selections on the CPSE CD or the West German CD, you can really hear how muddy the LP is because of the narrowness of the grooves and the engineer having to compress the dynamic range so that the record would play without skipping. As you can hear from Techmoan when he showed off the 2-hour Trimicron record, the narrower the groove, the more compression was required.

 

byline

Well-Known Member
And I do agree with your comments about Karen’s solo album. I definitely have always had the same feeling but that’s been debated long and hard on other threads, so back to ‘Offering’ / ‘Ticket to Ride’.
Again, I apologize. I didn't mean to derail the thread from its original topic, which is this album. I guess we can't help but talk about the developments in Karen's voice, Richard's arranging style, etc., because Offering/Ticket to Ride was the earliest Carpenters music most of us had heard way back when. So it forms the basis for our impressions of all that followed.
 
Just wanted to say that I love the single and AOC album version of "Santa Claus". Who would have thought it could be such a marvelous ballad with mind-blowing sax solo in the middle of it! Love Karen's vocals and the whole concept of the song.

After listening to Ticket to Ride again, I will say that it is growing on me. I do think it would have been better if the vocals were more upfront. They don't stand out as much as the other recordings. Almost as though they were muted or something. I'm not sure I'm crazy about the weird way Richard's voice sounds on the verses to "Get Together>"
 

byline

Well-Known Member
I'm not sure I'm crazy about the weird way Richard's voice sounds on the verses to "Get Together>"
Maybe it's because I listened to this album as a kid, but it's firmly entrenched in my memory, and so I wouldn't do the song any other way. In the "Carpenters: The Musical Legacy" book by Chris May and Mike Cidoni Lennox, Richard says, "Let's not forget that this was the late '60s. I had this idiotic idea of singing the lead through a keyboard amplifier with the tremolo activated."

They don't do it only to Richard's lead vocals, but also Karen's and Richard's background vocals on the second and third verses. I may be the only one, but I love the effect! It was such an unusual choice for them, and I appreciate this as one example of the experimentation they brought to their first album. Richard's use of trombone in the instrumental arrangement is quite striking, as well.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Maybe it's because I listened to this album as a kid, but it's firmly entrenched in my memory, and so I wouldn't do the song any other way. In the "Carpenters: The Musical Legacy" book by Chris May and Mike Cidoni Lennox, Richard says, "Let's not forget that this was the late '60s. I had this idiotic idea of singing the lead through a keyboard amplifier with the tremolo activated."

They don't do it only to Richard's lead vocals, but also Karen's and Richard's background vocals on the second and third verses. I may be the only one, but I love the effect! It was such an unusual choice for them, and I appreciate this as one example of the experimentation they brought to their first album. Richard's use of trombone in the instrumental arrangement is quite striking, as well.
Well, Richard was breaking the ground with the tremolo, since it would be only six years later that Peter Frampton would do a similar thing with his talk box on A&M.
 

masqueraded

Well-Known Member
I didn't wanna start a new thread and anyway its related to this album. Why are the 1998 pressings so expensive on this one? I was slowly collecting both 1986 and 1998 collections but may just jump to the 2012 japan pressings. So my question is are the 2012s the same as the 1998s? Sorry if this has been asked before.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
CD's right? I believe that the 98 TICKET and SINGLES 69-73 went out of print very quickly, so there are fewer of them around.

All later pressings (of TICKET) should be from the same sources.
 
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masqueraded

Well-Known Member
CDs yes. Thank you. Odd those 2 are hard to find. I got the AM+ Singles cd but not the 1998 cd. I may just start the 2012 set as those are decent prices
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
CD's right? I believe that the 98 TICKET and SINGLES 69-73 went out of print very quickly, so there are fewer of them around.

All later pressings (of TICKET) should be from the same sources.
The 98 TTR CD was still in print in 2003 and available for order in Canada (and it was imported from Universal USA) so I don’t know how long “very quickly” is in your books, but 5 years I wouldn’t call very quickly.

Of course the 98 TTR also has the 2 label varieties with the black/red lettering one being the most common while the red/black lettering one is scarce.
 
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