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

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Jan 1, 2013.

How Would You Rate This Album?

  1. ***** (Best)

    13 vote(s)
  2. ****

    15 vote(s)
  3. ***

    17 vote(s)
  4. **

    7 vote(s)
  5. *

    1 vote(s)
  1. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Side two...correction to above....begins with Close To You,
    the song is edited from the LP version of Close To You.
    That is, it cuts off right after the final piano notes.....
  2. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    I remember mentioning previously ( maybe not my memory isn't perfect) the Ticket to ride album has always had a special place in my library as it was in my parent's music library and it wasnt until the mid 80s when I finally Got my own vinyl copy which like many other records I owned I wore it out thankfully when it showed up on CD I replaced the old vinyl of it and it Still sounds pristine Even today. to me it's almost like a time machine of sorts Richard's opening monologue on "Your wonderful parade" I found to be funny ( and I was just little tyke when I first heard it") needless to say I Couldn't pick a favorite because all the songs were favorites and still are. And Karen's drumming was Superb.IMO.
    Brian and Don Malcolm like this.
  3. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Richard Carpenter:
    "The a cappella (sic) Invocation beginning side one echoes the choral religiosity of the Beach Boys’ Our Prayer."

    Here, then, the Beach Boys' Our Prayer.....
  4. Kristopher

    Kristopher Active Member

    Funny I made so many posts about this. offering is my favorite album of all time by any artist. I never liked the blue cover so I eventually sought out a few copies of the original pressing and its respective 8track for the time.

    Offering has a VIBE no other album has. I prefer the album version on Ticket To Ride rather then the rerecording. It feels more like a duo then any othrr album because each sibling sings half the songs and the energy is fresh. The back and forth back up harmonies are what make this album so magical.

    Favorite song “Turn Away”
    Brian likes this.
  5. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    Glad you posted this, GaryAlan. I’d forgotten Richard’s comments pertaining to ‘Our Prayer’. You can most definitely hear the influence on ‘Invocation’. Brian Wilson is a huge Carpenters fan, as well. His daughter, Carnie, says she was raised on Carpenters albums. The Beach Boys and Karen and Richard were the perfect merger. Both performed beautiful, haunting and memorable harmonies.
  6. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    "This is Mike Oliver's weekly My Vinyl Countdown"
    "Karen on the other hand had the voice of an angel. A relaxed contralto or alto,
    I don't know much about these music types. But it was different from the high timbre styles popular today.
    It was soft, deep and ever so slightly sultry. Like Mom putting you to sleep with a lullaby. It was butter.
    This Ticket to Ride album is their first, and it was originally called ''Offering.'
    It suffers from too much of brother Richard singing and overdone arrangements.
    It was almost as if they didn't know what they had with Karen's voice."
    My Vinyl Countdown cruises with Cars, Camper and Cash to take skinheads bowling
    Carpe diem likes this.
  7. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Man, did this guy nail it or what?!
    newvillefan likes this.
  8. Don Malcolm

    Don Malcolm Well-Known Member

    Yes and no. I think you guys rag on Richard a bit too much. Let's face it, there are few singers who even come close to Karen--all the female singers referenced here on the board as points of comparison have either technique or personality, but virtually none of them have both. Karen had it all, and it's there on OFFERING. I think Richard knew what he had on his hands--it was clear from 1966, but there were a whole bunch of reasons why it took a bit more time to coalesce. Karen did not have a 100% handle on her singing persona at the outset--recall that it took three tries to nail "Close to You." But after that, it was like clockwork for her. OFFERING is a fine record, with really only a couple of hinky Richard vocals getting in the way--but even on those tracks, you get something you never hear so clearly again on subsequent LPs--Karen as possibly the greatest backup singer ever. There are some over-arranged moments, but more in the vocals than in the instrumentals--and it's because the two of them were ambitious as hell with respect to establishing their singing credentials (the Beach Boys influence coming to the fore here).

    It isn't just Karen being "freed" or made into the primary singer that jump starts things on CLOSE TO YOU--it's also Richard upping his game as an incredibly accomplished and versatile arranger. When you put those two things together, you have the type of phenomenon capable of starting a commercial counter-trend in the then-contemporary music scene that was predisposed to resist what they were doing at virtually all costs. They just steamrollered them anyway. And Richard found the followup songs to keep that steamroller rolling ("Rainy Days and Mondays," "Superstar").
  9. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Nice analysis, Don.
    Actually, I never thought of Offering as being overproduced (not in the same sense of LP MIA).
    The review of the album--by Mike Oliver--does something which "modern" listeners have a tendency to do:
    to evaluate an earlier album by an artist (in this instance, the 'first' album)
    based on what came afterward.
    In fact, this was my own experience: I had not heard the first album until I had heard nearly every album
    which came later. So, when I did finally listen to the first album, I raised that same issue:
    Why was not Karen singing 'lead' on each song ?
    Then, of course, I learned the "history" of the duo's genesis.
    One learns that Karen focused upon her drumming at that time,
    perhaps no one (Karen included) realized what Karen had in her vocal abilities at that time.

    But, as Richard writes, Offering was a "product of its time"...very 1960's,
    I do not see (placing myself in 1969) how it could have been other than what it was !

    The UK LP of Ticket To Ride, the one issued late 1970's (which included CTY and WOJB)
    is one way to get a handle on what I am saying:
    there you have an LP which deliberately places the break-out songs on what was then one
    of the least known (if not, least successful) of their albums to that time.
    You get to compare styles...before and after, so-to-speak.
    Don Malcolm likes this.
  10. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    I'd agree to an extent with what you say. It's worth bearing in mind as well that several of the songs Richard sang on Offering ('Turn Away', 'Your Wonderful Parade') weren't really suited to Karen's vocals (although, then again, she did a superior job on 'Get Together' on Your Navy Presents). However, the more I listen to Offering/Ticket to Ride, the more I wonder whether the original intention was not actually to have Karen as the main lead singer, but for them to have split the lead vocals more evenly (with Karen presumably handling the ballads as she did on Offering but not necessarily the other tracks) and for it to have been more of a 'group' in the sense of there being no default lead singer.

    That would then mean that Karen would stay at the drums as part of the 'band' rather than the front person. It was only when they hit big with singles featuring Karen very much on lead that it was necessary to change the strategy - remember, she was essentially forced out front during live performances because she was singing the hits and the audience couldn't see her and had identifed her as the focal point that they wanted to see. As the female in the group, she may have received that extra attention anyway, but I'm not convinced that her more subdued role on Offering is due to her not having completely developed and refined her singing style by that point.
    Carpe diem and Don Malcolm like this.
  11. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    "As the female in the group, she may have received that extra attention anyway, but I'm not convinced that her more subdued role on Offering is due to her not having completely developed and refined her singing style by that point."

    Good point, Rumbahbah. She seemed to reach her "world class" voice on the Tan Album. I love the spirit they showed on Offering. They are like two kids released in a candy store, experimenting with their sound and having a good time all the while.
  12. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    The first album was an experiment. The second was patchy but contained some gems. The third was a sterling album that nailed Karen’s role as the star. The fourth was the absolute pinnacle of their career. For me, that was the world class album.
    David A and Carpe diem like this.
  13. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    I am as big a fan of Richard as I am of Karen. He was the energy behind getting Spectrum / Carpenters going in the first place, (although the other group members, including Karen, were obviously equally enthusiastic). He masterminded the choral vocal sound and the classically-influenced instrument arrangements. He had the musical training and knowledge to bring these endeavours to fruition. He had the vision and passion to equip Carpenters with a recognisable and attention-grabbing style that entranced listeners worldwide and that endured. He had the talent to choose songs that would be hits at the time and that couched Karen in musical settings that showcased her at her best. If most reports are to be believed, he also produced all those magnificent sounds, (rather than Jack Daugherty).

    In terms of the choice of Richard as vocalist, I think that it's possible that on 'Offering', it was initially thought that both Karen and Richard might have equal 'star' pull. Also, they had been performing some of these songs for at least a year or two, before they had a recording contract, so they probably just went in and sang whichever song they'd always handled lead vocals on. As well, it's possible that the plan was to have both a boy and a girl out front, to maximise appeal to teenage and early-twenties record buyers.

    I think that Richard recognised Karen's vocal prowess from the beginning, as it was he who encouraged her to sing. I think Herb Alpert also fully recognised her talent. He has always said that it was ultimately the sound of her voice that influenced him to sign them.

    To me, Karen was obviously a world-class vocalist with a voice like no other, whereas Richard was just an average singer, like the guy next door. Karen's voice was as astounding and breathtaking when she was recorded at the age of 16 or 19 as it was when she was recorded at 31 or 32. However, having both Karen and Richard as lead vocalist on 'Offering' worked well, I feel. There is a variety of styles and tempos on that album. Having two vocalists on the album adds to the variety.

    'Offering' / 'Ticket to Ride' is a lot of fun. Although it didn't sell many copies when first released, it did effectively showcase two startling talents - Karen on most lead vocals, drums, bass on three tracks and harmony vocals and Richard as composer, arranger, pianist, vocalist and producer, (by all accounts).

    'Eve', 'Someday' and 'All Of My Life' are just three songs on which Karen performs vocals that are out of this world. And I prefer the version of 'Ticket to Ride' heard here.

    I never thought of this album as being over-produced or over-arranged. I know the background vocals are busy at times, but they are one of the important elements that make this record. This album is different from other Carpenters albums and that is one of the things that, to this day, makes it sound exciting, exhilarating and refreshing.
    Geographer and Don Malcolm like this.
  14. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Close to You a "patchy" album? IMHO, it stands among their very best and is stronger than A Song for You.
    Don Malcolm, Eyewire and Brian like this.
  15. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    I, too, think that 'Close to You' is a very cohesive and well-conceived album. Every track is a winner, in its own way. I love the album as an overall piece of perfection, whereas, for me, 'A Song For You' has moments of great strength and moments of slight weakness. As an overall project, I'm fonder of 'Close to You'. And 'Offering' / 'Ticket to Ride' almost sits on its own. It's special and unique in its own right.
    Mark-T and Don Malcolm like this.
  16. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I love both albums, Close To You and A Song For You.
    I have always wrestled with which one I feel is the better album.
    My pick, for the best between the two....A Song For You......
  17. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Yeah, I’d say patchy - stylistically. It’s not as consistently brilliant as A Song For You. Tracks like Crescent Noon (Moon? :laugh:), Maybe It’s You, A Reason To Believe...nice album tracks but they don’t always hang together as cohesively as the tracks on the fourth album. There’s a flow and a seam on that album that’s unbeaten on any other. There are two obvious standout tracks on Close To You but A Song For You is full of them.
    John Tkacik likes this.
  18. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    ^^Since you mentioned Crescent Noon, I was curious to the meaning. So I"Googled" to see if it has a specific meaning. The only references provided were to the song. Is there such a phenomenon as a "crescent noon" outside of the song itself? There was a reference to a YT video during my search and I found this. If you're already not a fan of the song, you probably won't like it. There is definitely a different set of lyrics at the beginning as compared to the album cut;

    sorry Harry; should've probably put this on the Close To You thread. If you want to move it, I won't hold that against you :D!
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
  19. John Tkacik

    John Tkacik Active Member

    It was obvious that Richard had more time to review what songs to include in A Song For You than he did for Close To You. The latter was rushed to completion with several songs from their Spectrum repertoire.
    newvillefan likes this.
  20. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    I've always loved 'Crescent Noon'. The melancholy of the song, Karen's beautiful warm low notes, the lyrics, the harmonies, the song's place on one of my favourite Carpenters albums and the composition's connection with the (French?) piece with the similar chord pattern are all things that I love. Then there's that amazing performance of it by Karen from when she was about 17, on that Cal State University LP. (I think that's right). There are so many things to love about the song. I fell in love with 'Crescent Noon' as a pre-teen and have never stopped liking it.
    David A and Don Malcolm like this.
  21. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    So, the CD Anniversary Collections restored the Offering cover, as it was originally, 1969.
    Yet, the latest Vinyl Collection utilizes the later Ticket To Ride Cover.
    2017 UMG mentions: "original packaging and related artwork painstakingly restored."

    Any reason that Richard Carpenter reverted to the later cover for Vinyl Collection ?
    Yes, he may have disliked that Offering cover,
    but he expresses same dislike for Close To You cover !
  22. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    It just may be that at CD-size and in a commemorative case, he's more OK with it, but at full 12 x 12 and exposed in record racks, it's an eyesore to him.
  23. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    That's a great point, and speaks to the patchiness that @newvillefan speaks of.

    However, while I agree that A Song for You was the pinnacle of their professional sound and everything had come together, I prefer Close to You because to my ears it still contains that youthful energy and the two songs that really started it all for them, and for which I will forever have fond memories, Close to You, and We've Only Just Begun.
  24. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

  25. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    Great find, GaryAlan!

    I am struck by the narrator's last words: "It's on A&M Records. You'll want to keep it forever."

    And so we have...
    A&M Retro likes this.

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