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Official Review [Album]: "PASSAGE" (SP-4703)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Aug 6, 2013.

How Would You Rate This Album?

  1. ***** (BEST)

    8 vote(s)
  2. ****

    42 vote(s)
  3. ***

    28 vote(s)
  4. **

    5 vote(s)
  5. *

    0 vote(s)
  1. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter



    Catalogue Number: A&M SP-4703
    Date of Release: 09/23/77
    Chart Position- U.S.: #49; U.K.: #12; JAPAN: #7
    Album Singles: "All You Get From Love Is A Love Song”/"I Have You”
    "Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft"/"Can't Smile Without You"
    "Sweet, Sweet Smile"/"I Have You"
    Format: Vinyl/Reel/8-track/Cassette/CD

    Track Listing:

    1.) B'wana She No Home 5:29 (Franks)
    2.) All You Get From Love Is A Love Song 3:46 (Eaton)
    3.) I Just Fall In Love Again 4:02 (Dorff/Herbstritt/Sklerov/Lloyd)
    4.) On The Balcony Of The Casa Rosada/Don't Cry For Me Argentina 7:57 (Webber/Rice)
    5.) Sweet, Sweet Smile 3:00 (Newton/Young)
    6.) Two Sides 3:27 (Davis)
    7.) Man Smart, Woman Smarter 4:21 (Span)
    8.) Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft 7:07 (Klatuu)

    Album Credits:

    B'Wana She No Home:
    Piano: Pete Jolly
    Electric Piano: Larry Muhoberac
    Bass: Joe Osborn
    Drums: Ron Tutt
    Percussion: Wally Snow & Tommy Vig
    Conga: Jerry Steinholtz
    Electric Guitar: Tony Peluso
    Tenor Sax & Alto Flute: Tom Scott
    Vocal Arrangement: Gene Puerling

    All You Get From Love Is A Love Song:
    Electric & Acoustic Piano: Richard Carpenter
    Bass: Joe Osborn
    Drums: Ed Green
    Electric Guitar: Tony Peluso & Ray Parker
    Conga: Tommy Vig
    Percussion: Jerry Steinholtz
    Tenor Sax: Tom Scott
    Background singers: Karen & Richard Carpenter, Julia Tillman, Carlena Williams, Maxine Willard

    I Just Fall In Love Again:
    Electric & Acoustic Piano: Richard Carpenter
    Electric Guitar: Tony Peluso
    Bass: Joe Osborn
    Drums: Ron Tutt
    Oboe: Earl Dumler
    Harp: Gale Levant
    Overbudget Philharmonic: Peter Knight, Conductor
    Gregg Smith Singers: Gregg Smith, Conductor

    On The Balcony Of The Casa Rosada/Don't Cry For Me Argentina (From the opera Evita):
    Overbudget Philharmonic: Peter Knight, Conductor
    Gregg Smith Singers: Gregg Smith, Conductor
    Announcer: Dennis Heath
    Peron: William Feuerstein
    Che: Jonathan Marks

    Sweet, Sweet Smile:
    Bass: Joe Osborn
    Fiddle: Bobby Bruce
    Banjo: Larry McNealy
    Drums: Ron Tutt
    Tack Piano: Tom Hensley
    Acoustic & Electric Guitar: Tony Peluso

    Two Sides:
    Electric Piano: Richard Carpenter
    Bass: Joe Osborn
    Drums: Ed Green
    Acoustic Guitar: Lee Ritenour & Jay Graydon
    Electric Guitar: Tony Peluso
    Pedal Steel Guitar: Jay Dee Maness

    Man Smart, Woman Smarter:
    Bass: Joe Osborn
    Drums: Ed Green
    Piano: Leon Russell
    Tack Piano: Richard Carpenter & Tom Hensley
    Steel Drums: Vince Charles
    Percussion: Tommy Vig
    Baritone Sax: David Luell & Kurt McGettrick
    Tenor Sax: Jackie Kelso
    Electric Guitar: Tony Peluso
    Conga: King Erickson

    Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft (The Recognized Anthem Of World Contact Day):
    Acoustic & Electric Piano: Richard Carpenter
    Synthesizer: Richard Carpenter
    Drums: Ron Tutt
    Bass: Joe Osborn
    Electric Guitar & DJ: Tony Peluso
    Oboe: Earl Dumler
    Overbudget Philharmonic: Peter Knight, Conductor
    Gregg Smith Singers: Gregg Smith, Conductor

    Produced by: Richard Carpenter
    Associate Producer: Karen Carpenter
    Arranged and Orchestrated by: Richard Carpenter
    I Just Fall In Love Again, On The Balcony Of The Casa Rosada / Don't Cry For Me Argentina and Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft Orchestrated by: Peter Knight
    Vocals: Karen & Richard Carpenter
    Engineered by: Ray Gerhardt, Roger Young and Dave Iveland
    Mastering Engineer: Bernie Grundman
    Special Thanks to: Ed Sulzer, John Bettis and Ron Gorow
    Art Direction: Roland Young
    Design: Junie Osaki
    Cover Art: Lou Beach


    You could start by saying that this new Carpenters album is the most daring, innovative, surprising, serendipitous and satisfying one they've yet made.

    Another listen to their previous albums - beginning with the last two, the superb A Kind Of Hush and the sublime Horizon, then continuing all the way back to their debut LP, Ticket To Ride - will reinforce the conclusion that Karen and Richard's records have of course always had the qualities listed above, combined with impeccable taste and a quality of production that made their work a standard against which to measure that of their contemporaries. Taken as a whole, the Carpenters' recorded output makes up an oeuvre in which all pieces fit, in which daring adventurousness and taste have equal place.

    Be that as it may ...

    This is still the most daring, innovative, surprising, serendipitous and satisfying Carpenters album yet.

    "This time there's more different sounds than ever before," Richard says. "I like many kinds of music, and I tried to include a lot of them in this album."

    To be sure, there are plenty of "traditional" Carpenters-type tunes on these two sides: Steve Dorff's rueful I Just Fall In Love Again, Scott Davis' Two Sides, Juice Newton's countrified Sweet, Sweet Smile, and Steve Eaton's All You Get From Love Is A Love Song.

    But even these are approached from angles slightly out of the ordinary. Note, for instance, Tom Scott's highstepping on All You Get From Love Is A Love Song. Two Sides, Richard's personal almost-favorite on the album, can be enjoyed for its face-value romantic irony, but at the same time it extends the emotional territory explored on the Horizon LP; and the lyric's suggestion of the duality of affairs is especially appropriate for Karen to sing, because the ambivalence enclosed by the song is a nice approximation of the chimerical quality of her own art - as soon as you think you've categorized her, she reveals another aspect of her range, one you'd overlooked or forgotten for a while.

    Consider Man Smart, Woman Smarter. The Harry Belefonte calypso favorite is here totally transformed into a torrid, teasing, taunting rocker that jolts along like the first motorcar to come to Tobago. Karen performs like a native to the genre born, while King Ericson pounds the congas, Leon Russell pounds the ivory, Vince Charles works the steel drums, ex-Johnny Otisite Jackie Kelso jams on tenor, and weird vocal snatches boil and bubble out of the speakers.

    Then there is B'wana She No Home. Michael Franks' sinuous, subtle, droll explication of the master-servant problem - another eye-opener: jazzy, seductive, and a spontaneous triumph, elegantly executed with the assistance of pianist Pete Jolly and flautist-tenorist Tom Scott, who trade choruses in one of the album's several "live" cuts.

    "When recording, we usually begin with bass, drums, piano, and build from there," Richard explains, "but on several of these tracks, almost the whole thing was recorded live all at once, with just brass and strings overdubbed later. Certain pieces call for that."

    One such definitely was Don't Cry For Me Argentina, from the Webber-Rice opera Evita. Some 150 people participated in the recording of this number, including members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and a 50 member singing group under the direction of Gregg Smith. The orchestration was by Peter Knight, an Englishman best known in this country for his recorded work with the Moody Blues. Singers and orchestra were assembled on the A&M Records soundstage, in front of microphones that led into the control booth of Studio D. "You get a beautiful sound that way," says Richard, "a much more open sound than you could get in a recording studio." The presence of press turned this "monster date" into instant news: the crispness of the production and playing, and Karen's powerful vocal, make for an instant favorite. Karen projects both worldly knowledge and unexpected innocence, sophistication combined with the pain of lost illusion. I doubt any other version could equal this one's poignance and authority; it becomes immediately definitive.

    But surely the most unexpected entry here is the Carpenters' adaption of Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft, a paen to galactic communication written by the Beatles-influenced group, Klaatu. Richard chose this song for three reasons: "I'm a Beatles fan, a Klaatu fan, and a science fiction fan." Again, his arrangement is orchestrated by Knight. Richard purposely avoided the kind of electronic devices with which Klaatu conveyed the illusion of outer space. "They employed a lot of sound effects - tape delay, things like that - and did all their sweetening with synthesizer. I wanted to use the real thing." So Tony Peluso (who also portrays the confused disc jockey) plays his Appollonian guitar over swelling cosmic threnodies, swirling violins, pipe organ, choir, classical piano and a marching band - Charles Ives goes to Mars! Somehow it all seems as natural as catching a wave.

    And there it is: exactly three months' labor, from the first vocals on Love Song to the final mix of Occupants - a potpourri of the Carpenters' special abilities and interests.

    "We really had fun with this album," Karen says.

    - Tom Nolan


    Don't Cry For Me Argentina:

    For their second rock opera, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice - the creators of Jesus Christ Superstar - have chosen another story of a controversial historical figure whose popular appeal, dramatic flair, and social impact give an added dimension of emotional complexity to their music. Maria Eva Duarte Peron, the second wife of Argentine dictator Juan Peron, was born in the small town of Los Toldos into a poor family. At the age of 16, she came to the capitol city of Buenos Aires and rapidly achieved stardom as a radio and motion picture personality. Her Cinderella story background and her personal charisma helped her establish an enormous popular following in Argentina. She used this popularity to help her husband be elected President of Argentina in 1946. The Maria Eva Duarte de Peron Welfare Foundation, which she founded in 1947, provided millions of dollars for poverty relief, in a fund-raising effort clouded by scandals. When she died of cancer in 1952 at the age of 33, she achieved national status of virtual sainthood.

    The musical selection from Webber and Rice's opera which appears on Passage, On The Balcony Of The Casa Rosada / Don't Cry For Me Argentina, captures Juan and Evita Peron in their victory appearance at the Pink palace (Casa Rosada) after the 1946 Presidential Election. In Don't Cry For Me Argentina, Evita assures the crowd that she has not forgotten her lower class origins. She asks her beloved Descamisados (shirtless ones), as she referred to the poorest of the poor, to continue to love her: "Don't keep your distance." At the end of this emotional plea, she offers as proof of her sincerity the statement, "But all you have to do is look at me to know that every word is true." This line embodies the themes of Evita: the deceptiveness of political imagery, the persuasiveness of her personal warmth, and the irony of her life, which is inextricably intermingled with the history of Argentina.

    - Digby Diehl
  2. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Love the artwork but the music is a mixed bag. Bwana and All You Get From Love are my two favorites from the disc.
  3. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    "Bwana" is a favorite song of mine by Michael Franks, so this is an interesting take on it. (My only quibble is that "...drive my 350, honey" should have stayed "220, honey" which breaks the intentional rhyme there.) I've always liked this one as being a bit of a departure.

    The only song I don't care for is "Man Smart, Woman Smarter" since it is a barely recognizable version of the original version done back in the 1950s. Yet I found out that this is an almost note for note remake of Robert Palmer's version (which may be a subconscious reason why I never liked it :laugh: ).
  4. Murray

    Murray Well-Known Member

    Karen drove a Mercedes 350SL. I think the lyric change was a nice touch.
  5. LondonRobert

    LondonRobert Active Member

    I really like this album, the artwork is fantastic too. After the AKOH album i feel like its modern and timeless.
    The vocals have a bit more edge to them too, not done in the whispering style so much........
    I detest the ' on the banks of the casa rosada ' prelude, so did a cdr which just includes the 'dont cry for me Argentina' part of the song. I also used the original cd, not remastered classics version, of 'Bwana' as i feel the original is much brighter.
    A mixture of a couple of traditional ballads, along with innovative huge production numbers that are VERY interesting and enjoyable, one of my favourite albums of theirs.
    toeknee4bz likes this.
  6. I may have asked this before....did Richard ever say why they included the "Casa Rosada" intro in the cover of "....Argentina"? It was, to me. by far the most bizarre choice on the album (more than the intro section to "Calling Occupants", more than the really long instrumental on "Man Smart..."). I do know when they recorded the song 'Evita' was only a concept album, not yet produced on stage - but still....
  7. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    I don't have the Coleman bio handy, but I know they mentioned the whole track in the book. There was a comment about the topic of Evita and Socialism, but apparently KC liked the song due to its lyrics.

    I agree it's a bizarre choice. But somehow it works. :laugh:
    Tracey Canton likes this.
  8. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    There's not much in Coleman about it, just a mention that they flew Peter Knight in for it and that the album overall didn't do all that well.

  9. The framed artwork for this album hangs in my office today. Probably their best cover (in a career of poorly-conceived album artwork). While I don’t consider this album one of my favorites, per se, I do enjoy 5 out of the 8 songs, which ain’t too bad. What is that, like, 62%? We’ve all bought worse albums. What most intrigues me about Passage is: 1.) the shotgun approach to getting a hit, which smacked of desperation, but was not altogether unsuccessful (e.g., “All You Get...” and “Occupants” both eeked into the top 40 as well as the surprise country hit, “Sweet, Sweet Smile"), and 2.) it’s brevity at only 8 songs. Were they that burned out that they couldn’t add two more songs to make 10? Never mind, I’ll do it myself; my iPod playlist for this album includes “You’re The One,” recorded during those sessions, I believe, and “I Believe You,” the single without an album (for a few years), both of which flow quite nicely with the tenor of the LP (and strengthen the overall listening experience, in my opinion). Tragic how things for the duo quickly unraveled after this disappointing album, despite the triumphant Christmas Portrait the following year...
  10. goodjeans

    goodjeans Active Member

    ...I was a staunch fan and followed the group like a stalker. I walked into a record store and was surprised to see the 'new' album on a shelf and bought it. It was not one that I played on repeat as all of the others but now understand what was trying to be achieved.
    I have "All You Get..." on my IPod and play it regularly. "Man Smart..." annoys the hell out of me. "Calling Occupants..." well, the record stores around me sold out of it. "Two Sides" awesome. "I Just Fall..." beautiful but can the chorus or whatever is going on background vocal-wise. "Bwana She No Home" is great and I still play it regularly. I wish that A&M had made a video of this song in the likes of Belinda Carlysles' "Mad About You" with Karen all coiffed and sexy, driving thru S Cal in her 350. A bitch on wheels video would have been great.
    Passage_Ta_C, BGW and A&M Retro like this.
  11. Song4uman

    Song4uman Well-Known Member

    I never really listened to this album much on vinyl. I think I purchased it in about 1983ish. I was 18 and didn't really "get" the album. Over the years I have listened to parts of the album on the compilations and have learned to appreciate more of the songs over the years. Recently I listened to the entire album (vinyl) one evening. I really enjoyed the album as a whole. Had a whole new appreciation for it.
    70sFan, toeknee4bz and Passage_Ta_C like this.
  12. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    goodjeans, what a GREAT idea for a video! Missed opportunity!
  13. BarryT60

    BarryT60 Well-Known Member

    Okay.... For those of you who may recall.... I mentioned I may include my high school newspaper review of Passage - when this topic ran.... so - here goes....
    Footnote, in retrospect, I might have lingered more on what I feel is the most beautiful piece of timeless material here, I Just Fall In Love Again; one of my all time favorites... However, I can detect a focus on the newer kinds of material - I am certain I had woven into the critique in an effort to "sell" Carpenters music to those who otherwise may have already written K & R off... At any rate - here goes my 17 year old self: (Don't laugh!!!)

    Carpenters Bucking Imageby Barry T
    In modern psychology, the term
    'passage' is defined .as a. period
    of extreme personal growth and
    change. Carpenters' "Passage" is
    a perfect example of such growth
    in the music spectrum.
    The album has indeed shocked
    all critics and its potential is j u st
    being realized by radio listeners
    across the country.
    This 1977 set, the first for the
    duo in
    a year and a half, opens with
    an abrupt and rather surprising
    upbeat rocker entitled, "ii'Wanna
    She No Home."

    Karen's voice control is as it
    has never been before; brother
    Richard's production is also excellent.
    This cut also contains the first
    of many elaborate instrumental
    portions heard throughout the
    One of the more lengthy selections
    on the album is their rendition
    of "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina"
    the title song from the
    Weber Price Rock Opera of the

    same name.
    This song is preceded with an
    excerpt from the actual opera that
    leads into the sensitive lyric that-
    Karen Carpenter handles so well.
    There are several numbers throughout
    the album that do reflect the
    " o l d " image of their music.
    "Sweet, Sweet Smile," "Two
    Sides" and "I'll Just Fall In
    Love A g a i n " are just a few.
    "Sweet, Sweet'Smile" is a classic
    upbeat country tune that is
    sure to catch the ear. The latter
    two are slower ballads that we
    are all accustomed to hearing from
    Carpenters; however, they also are
    handled with a newer dramatic
    production than that of previous
    Carpenters' efforts.
    "Man Smart, Woman Smarter"
    is another highlight. Leon Russell
    Ron Tuft lend their talents to
    the lengthy instrumental fadeout
    in this jazz selection.
    Perhaps the most shocking innovation
    covered in this eight number
    set is the new version of
    Klaatu's Calling Occupants of
    Interplanetary Craft.''
    Already acclaimed as one of
    their most outstanding efforts, the
    edited single version is racing up
    the national charts.
    Local radio station music director,
    Bear Bradley feels that the
    song's interplanetary sounds will
    help the sales in Nashville tremendously.
    Jack Crawford, music director
    for FM 103, also says that it is
    about time for the Carpenters to
    make this type of advancement in
    their music.

    Through this album it is obvious
    that Karen and Richard Carpenter
    are trying to prove to the world,
    that their music can take on more
    sophisticated dimensions than
    those of the easy
    listening music that they are noted
    Critics all over the industry are
    awaiting the final results of the
    chart successes of both single and
    album, and many feel that a noticeable
    comeback is foreseeable in 1978.

    PS / I was trying to do my small part!!! One can only request songs so many times!!! :)
  14. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Nice review, actually- 17 years old or not!
    BarryT60 likes this.
  15. LondonRobert

    LondonRobert Active Member

    What a great review! I remember being so much more impressed with Passage than AKOH. It IS progressive and IS a true PASSAGE into a more modern and innovative style. I've always had a soft spot for this album.......
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
    Passage_Ta_C and BarryT60 like this.
  16. BarryT60

    BarryT60 Well-Known Member

    I certainly felt there was a heck of a lot more effort put into this LP... than Hush.... Then - and now! :)
    LondonRobert likes this.
  17. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    Through some strange fluke or another, I ended up owning copies of Passage on just about all formats. Originally bought it on cassette when I was in a cassette phase. Replaced that with the LP. Then I got the first CD issue, then the Remastered Classics reissue. Got a copy on 8-track in a bulk purchase. I can't recall if I have this on reels or not--I don't think so, but it may be the only format I don't have this album on!
    toeknee4bz likes this.
  18. One thing Passage has for it is that it doesn't get boring like Made in America, Horizon and A kind of hush do at some points. Perhaps that's why On the balcony of the Casa Rosada has been included, to make some contrast between I just fall in love again ending and Don't cry for me Argentina starting, since this is a very (maybe too) smooth transition as the tracks segue. I don't know. I think it also adds to the dramatics of ...Argentina entrance.

    The only song I never play except when listening to the whole album is Man smart, woman smarter. It doesn't bothers me that much listening to it within the tracks sequence but I don't hit the play button for this recording alone, that's for sure. Perhaps they originally picked that one up for the Space encounters TV special, in which it works fine for me, and then decided to have it on the album as well? Did Space... aired after of before the album release?
  19. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Space Encounters aired on May 17, 1978, well after the release of 'Passage' which was put out on September 23, 1977. So it's safe to say they bent the TV special segments to suit what was already released.
  20. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    An idea crossed my mind this morning when I glanced at the artwork for PASSAGE. Suppose that they DID use the familiar Carpenters logo on the front - what would it look like. So, I prepared this little mock-up:

    passage copy.jpg

    I tried it on the right, but it looked really odd there, so I moved it to the larger area, where it looks more balanced with the title at the bottom. I don't know if I like it or not...

  21. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Tidbit from the Passage Press Kit:
    Karen modestly admits... "I'm awfully pleased with 'Argentina' "
    Richard .." You can't go in to the recording studio and worry about what everybody else is thinking"

    This was actually the first LP I purchased (and the first on cassette tape !) and I loved it then, as now.
    Of course, B'wana and Man Smart take some getting used to, but otherwise are at least interesting musically.
    If one looks at the music charts from that year, this album easily surpasses in musicality the competitors of the time.

    "Two Sides" is a chill factor song, in my opinion. Karen's last vocal on the lyric 'Goodbye' is unbelievable.
  22. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

  23. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights


    I think we are just so use to not having the logo that it just looks funny. I personally think the cover is a piece of art and the logo is really not needed. I like the canvas someone here purchased of this for framing. I wonder how it would look if it flowed more like the wave of the music sheet, sorta like arched across the page to match the wave feeling, however the problem with that is it wouldn't match the horizontal Passage at the bottom unless that was also moved to the top and flowed on the right side.
  24. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    ^^What I meant above in regard to not having the logo is regarding the usual logo and not the script. I like how the script was used but it makes you wonder why they opted for that, does anyone else feel it gives off a bootleg feeling to the name? So many of the bootlegs that have come across pick up on this scripted look.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014
  25. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    It didn't feel bootleg to me, but an "artsy" statement without the traditional logo. Kind of like saying "Hey, listen up! We can do more than you think!"
    BarryT60 and 70sFan like this.

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