• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are in the pipeline for October 2021! The new book Carpenter: The Musical Legacy will be available on October 19 and 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 being released October 22, and is available for ordering here.

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

How Would You Rate This Album?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 10 9.9%
  • ****

    Votes: 53 52.5%
  • ***

    Votes: 31 30.7%
  • **

    Votes: 7 6.9%
  • *

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    101

Song4uman

Well-Known Member
I Just Fall in Love Again....
I think it should have been a single. I know it is long, but so was Calling Occupants..... So I don't think that was a reason for not releasing... imho

Jonathan
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
I really like that Passage framed print and it's signed by the artist very cool. It's too bad he is not selling them any longer. I always thought that album cover was brilliant.

My only disappointment about this album is the inside gatefold, they really should have included some pics of Karen and Richard, maybe even one with the orchestra performing. We know there were some behind the scenes photos taken and could have been used as inserts like something similar to this one.
 

Song4uman

Well-Known Member
I really like that Passage framed print and it's signed by the artist very cool. It's too bad he is not selling them any longer. I always thought that album cover was brilliant.

My only disappointment about this album is the inside gatefold, they really should have included some pics of Karen and Richard, maybe even one with the orchestra performing. We know there were some behind the scenes photos taken and could have been used as inserts like something similar to this one.
He might be willing to print and sell more. Not sure. He and I messaged not too long ago.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
From the Newsletters
I'm surprised that no video clips have ever surfaced from news coverage from this taping, as 4 tv stations were present.
I wonder if Richard has film footage from this event in his archives.


NEWSLETTER #54 - July, 1977


Hi Fans: There will be something entirely new on the next Carpenter album to be released soon, It will contain a variety or music, and the highlight will be a score from the Argentina rock opera "Evita" entitled "Don't Cry for Me Argentina". Karen will solo with a background or 50 singers from the Gregg Smith Chorale, plus the entire Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. The famous British conductor Peter Knight, was flown from London to conduct the scores, and Richard's buddy Wes Jacobs new in from Michigan to play tuba. We were privileged to attend the taping at A & M Studios, and we round the sound stage filled to capacity with musicians. Four TV stations had mini-cams there to film footage or the session for the evening news, as it was the largest recording session ever attempted for an album track.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
Terrific photo of Karen, Wes and Richard. Karen is in the same outfit that matches the photo I posted a while back of her in the studio, so this must have been taken on the same day.

Check out the write up on this event here.

24th May 1977 - on this day
The Carpenters record "Don't Cry For Me Argentina"

It was such a momentous recording that it was picked up by news outlets hailing it as the largest recording session ever in the history of popular music. With around 160 musicians, Richard had this to say about the song: "This song was submitted to us by the publisher, and I immediately felt it was perfect for Karen, though now I feel differently, as I believe the song doesn't linger long enough in a lower register, a great area for Karen's voice. We contacted England's late, great Peter Knight to orchestrate the song, and two others on "Passage". Peter flew to Los Angeles to conduct the L.A. Philharmonic for the recording. Between the 100 plus member "phil" and the 50 voice Gregg Smith Singers, the recording session had to take place on the A&M Sound Stage, and was wired into Studio D. It was an experience I'll never forget."

Richard says regarding this photo "With Wes Jacobs on the A&M Chaplain Stage. Wes, who was the tuba chair with the Detroit Symphony, was visiting us and sat in with the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the recording of "Don’t Cry For Me Argentina" "

MHrtHYK.png


Karen in same outfit
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goodjeans

Well-Known Member
Terrific photo of Karen, Wes and Richard. Karen is in the same outfit that matches the photo I posted a while back of her in the studio, so this must have been taken on the same day.

Check out the write up on this event here.

24th May 1977 - on this day
The Carpenters record "Don't Cry For Me Argentina"

It was such a momentous recording that it was picked up by news outlets hailing it as the largest recording session ever in the history of popular music. With around 160 musicians, Richard had this to say about the song: "This song was submitted to us by the publisher, and I immediately felt it was perfect for Karen, though now I feel differently, as I believe the song doesn't linger long enough in a lower register, a great area for Karen's voice. We contacted England's late, great Peter Knight to orchestrate the song, and two others on "Passage". Peter flew to Los Angeles to conduct the L.A. Philharmonic for the recording. Between the 100 plus member "phil" and the 50 voice Gregg Smith Singers, the recording session had to take place on the A&M Sound Stage, and was wired into Studio D. It was an experience I'll never forget."

Richard says regarding this photo "With Wes Jacobs on the A&M Chaplain Stage. Wes, who was the tuba chair with the Detroit Symphony, was visiting us and sat in with the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the recording of "Don’t Cry For Me Argentina" "

MHrtHYK.png


Karen in same outfit
0W3xFb8.jpg
Beautiful pic of Karen.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
In my opinion, Passage was the Carpenters' foray into maybe avant-garde, artistic experimentation. Some of the pop ballads feel very familiar ("All You Get From Love Is a Love Song," "I Just Fall in Love Again") but it's a radical departure from A Kind of Hush and Now & Then (which heavily covered "oldies"). Passage also had many covers, but they were of more recent songs (Evita premiered in 1976; "Calling Occupants" was also first released by Klaatu in 1976; "B'wana-He No Home" was written by and performed by Michael Franks, who released his album in 1977). So this album, to me, is really about the Carpenters finding their identity with respect to their contemporaries. I like it very much for its artistry, but I understand that this album was not a "Top 10" string of hits--I don't think Passage was intended to be that, though. To me, Passage was more about self-exploration than it was about dominating the Hot 100 or AC charts, and that's something to be recognized and even celebrated, in retrospect.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
this album was not a "Top 10" string of hits--I don't think Passage was intended to be that, though. To me, Passage was more about self-exploration than it was about dominating the Hot 100 or AC charts, and that's something to be recognized and even celebrated, in retrospect.
Hi, Cuyler. I agree with your words up to a point, but I actually think that K & R WERE going for big hits and a big seller with this album. This was a crucial time in their career, with their previous album, 'A Kind of Hush', being their first since 1969 to not produce at least one huge hit single and the album itself selling less than all of their previous releases since '69. If they were on a different label and didn't have the strong relationship that they had with Herb, this may have been make-or-break time.

Karen said somewhere in an interview that the one song that she thought would be a smash that didn't live up to their expectations was "All You Get from Love Is a Love Song". Around this time, she also said in an interview something like, "If the public would only tell us what they want, we'd give it to them", (not her exact words), meaning that they were trying to meet, but floundering in reading, public and market-place tastes and trends.

This was also a time when the public was crazy about anything sci-fi to do with outer-space, with blockbuster movies on the theme, so "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" may also have been engineered by Karen and Richard as a possible smash, and it was, in a couple of parts of the globe.

Actually, "Passage" did scrape the Top 10 in some regions - if only in isolated states, rather than country-wide.

The other thing was that there were so many fascinating styles of music exploding at the time that "Passage" was released. Punk was in its early days, disco was a couple of years in and still gathering momentum, reggae had been around for a long time and was having another surge in popularity in certain countries, SKA was there and there were the beginnings of new-wave, to name just a few explosive styles. Yes, "Passage" was different from what Karen and Richard had produced in the past, but it wasn't ear-catching enough to attract wide-scale notice, in terms of the more ground-breaking music that was being released at the time and dominating DJ's, listeners' and buyers' attention.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Hi, Cuyler. I agree with your words up to a point, but I actually think that K & R WERE going for big hits and a big seller with this album. This was a crucial time in their career, with their previous album, 'A Kind of Hush', being their first since 1969 to not produce at least one huge hit single and the album itself selling less than all of their previous releases since '69. If they were on a different label and didn't have the strong relationship that they had with Herb, this may have been make-or-break time.

Karen said somewhere in an interview that the one song that she thought would be a smash that didn't live up to their expectations was "All You Get from Love Is a Love Song". Around this time, she also said in an interview something like, "If the public would only tell us what they want, we'd give it to them", (not her exact words), meaning that they were trying to meet, but floundering in reading, public and market-place tastes and trends.

This was also a time when the public was crazy about anything sci-fi to do with outer-space, with blockbuster movies on the theme, so "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" may also have been engineered by Karen and Richard as a possible smash, and it was, in a couple of parts of the globe.

Actually, "Passage" did scrape the Top 10 in some regions - if only in isolated states, rather than country-wide.

The other thing was that there were so many fascinating styles of music exploding at the time that "Passage" was released. Punk was in its early days, disco was a couple of years in and still gathering momentum, reggae had been around for a long time and was having another surge in popularity in certain countries, SKA was there and there were the beginnings of new-wave, to name just a few explosive styles. Yes, "Passage" was different from what Karen and Richard had produced in the past, but it wasn't ear-catching enough to attract wide-scale notice, in terms of the more ground-breaking music that was being released at the time and dominating DJ's, listeners' and buyers' attention.
Totally. Like you mentioned, some 1977 albums that come to mind range from Aja to Rumours to Never Mind the Bollocks to All N All... yacht rack was big, but so was punk, and so was disco... it must have been a bit unpredictable for Richard and Karen to know what their fan base wanted. That being said, I do think that Passage was strong in a few ways: 1) the recording technology/mastering is clearly great (probably 30 ips tape), and 2) like an Aja, the Carpenters didn't shy away from fewer songs but longer songs. It's definitely for me the most dynamic Carpenters album, from country to ballads to musicals to maybe more experimental topics. I really appreciate Passage and was so stoked to find a used copy from the 1990s at my local music store last year.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
True. Actually, on one or two tracks there are a few elements that are also used on albums like ‘Aja’. I guess that Karen & Richard had that same genuine connection to light jazz that the guys from Steely Dan had. Not sure that ‘light jazz’ is the right term - but I mean that as opposed to the full-on, traditional jazz from the previous decades. Not that ‘Passage’ is jazz overall, by any means, but there are slight nods to this style, (B’wana), as well as to calypso, etc.

For me, ‘Passage’ was very exciting when it came out in my early teens and it was that K & R seemed to be pushing their boundaries and presenting a range of styles that they hadn’t released before - or not for a long time. (Influences of light jazz on ‘Offering’).
 
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tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Hi, Cuyler. I agree with your words up to a point, but I actually think that K & R WERE going for big hits and a big seller with this album. This was a crucial time in their career, with their previous album, 'A Kind of Hush', being their first since 1969 to not produce at least one huge hit single and the album itself selling less than all of their previous releases since '69. If they were on a different label and didn't have the strong relationship that they had with Herb, this may have been make-or-break time.

Karen said somewhere in an interview that the one song that she thought would be a smash that didn't live up to their expectations was "All You Get from Love Is a Love Song". Around this time, she also said in an interview something like, "If the public would only tell us what they want, we'd give it to them", (not her exact words), meaning that they were trying to meet, but floundering in reading, public and market-place tastes and trends.

This was also a time when the public was crazy about anything sci-fi to do with outer-space, with blockbuster movies on the theme, so "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" may also have been engineered by Karen and Richard as a possible smash, and it was, in a couple of parts of the globe.

Actually, "Passage" did scrape the Top 10 in some regions - if only in isolated states, rather than country-wide.

The other thing was that there were so many fascinating styles of music exploding at the time that "Passage" was released. Punk was in its early days, disco was a couple of years in and still gathering momentum, reggae had been around for a long time and was having another surge in popularity in certain countries, SKA was there and there were the beginnings of new-wave, to name just a few explosive styles. Yes, "Passage" was different from what Karen and Richard had produced in the past, but it wasn't ear-catching enough to attract wide-scale notice, in terms of the more ground-breaking music that was being released at the time and dominating DJ's, listeners' and buyers' attention.
You’ve also have to wonder if “Calling Occupants” was a bigger hit in the states bordering Canada than on a US national level, since it hit #9 on the RPM Top Singles Chart and #10 on the RPM Adult Contemporary chart, so anyone in border states like Washington, Alaska, Maine, Michigan, New York, North Dakota, & Montana, especially the northern parts of the state (or eastern & southern for Alaska) could’ve picked up a Canadian radio station.
Also “Sweet, Sweet Smile” was a Top 10 country hit in both Canada and the US, so that would’ve been getting a lot of rotation on country stations.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Continuing a now-closed thread about the proper speed of "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina..."

This is my best approximation to the proper speed of "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" (without "On the Balcony of the Casa Rosada"):


The original version of this, which was on disc 5 of "Magical Memories of the Carpenters," was a full semitone above A, and then some.

In the other thread, Harry noted that the speed inconsistencies could have been purely to technical issues, as vinyl was not a friendly medium to fitting too much music on one side, as the grooves needed to have some physical distance between them. A piece of evidence backing up Harry's hypothesis is that the CD masters are actually slower (closer to A major) than their vinyl counterparts.

I think that, when Karen's voice is slowed down to A major proper, she sounds so amazing. Same with "(I'm Caught Between) Goodbye and I Love You" and its key of E major. Something about when Karen's voice is dropped to the proper key and you can hear her scrape those silky low tones with her contralto register!
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Hey Cuyler. I'm curious, and perhaps others are as well. Why you aren't pursuing sound engineering or something else along that line instead of library archiving? You seem to have a good ear and skills.
That's a great question! To be honest, I like both (and am passionate about both). As a career, I'm more interested in the archives just because the Archive serves as institutional memory, and is meant to preserve records/artifacts (including the Carpenters' records/artifacts, if there ever was a Carpenters Archive). Archives to me are also living institutions that gather and preserve contextual information, similar to what Chris and Mike did with their book. At least, the archives are supposed to have that information, preserved, so that historians can access that information quickly in a way that can be treated as a primary source rather than a secondary source. (For example, if a fan or researcher were to ask: "why is 'Don't Cry for Me, Argentina' sped up by half a semitone?" or "why is '(I'm Caught Between) Goodbye and I Love You' sped up, and by how much?" they could go to a Carpenters Archive that would preserve that contextual information before it's lost forever. I'm of the belief that musical artists, especially the Carpenters, who did so much in both the audio and visual worlds, deserve that kind of space, whether it be virtual or physical.)

So, I guess, long story short, I'm currently pursuing archives/library science for the career because it pays nicely and comes with public benefits, and I'm passionate about it... but if I had a dream job, I'd definitely start a Carpenters Archive under the auspices of Mr. Carpenter himself, and work on preserving all of the source tapes (whatever audio tapes still exist + video tapes) + communications/memos + photos + press releases, etc. and build a repository of contextual information around each and every single artifact. But that would be a passion project, and it's one I pursue in my dreams and my personal collection in my personal time! :wink:
 
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Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
I received a “Karen in My Memories” series copy of this album and it sounded fantastic. Catalog Number POCM-1816. I think the master tapes used are identical to the AM+ version in the US.

In doing background research on these songs yesterday, I came to the realization that none of these songs are Carpenter (or Carpenter/Bettis) originals. I found that to be interesting, but not necessarily surprising.

I generally have a favorable opinion about this album because it is so avant-garde and eclectic. It’s clear to me that, like “Horizon,” the 30 ips tape produced a really sharp, crisp, clean sound. (I still don’t know why “A Kind of Hush” had so many sonic issues, and am hoping to read that in Chris and Mike’s book later this year.)

As odd as it may be, I consider “Passage” in some ways to be a direct continuation of “Horizon” in the same way that I consider “A Kind of Hush” to be a direct continuation of “Now & Then.” Another fan drew connections between “I Can’t Make Music” and the “A Kind of Hush” album (and I hear that). “A Kind of Hush” looks backwards with “There’s a Kind of Hush” and “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do.”

To me, generally speaking, both “Horizon” and “Passage” are more “now” than “then”—they look to contemporaries, but “Horizon” has many more Carpenter/Bettis originals (a huge plus imho). From “Horizon,” I would draw a direct line from “Desperado” to “Passage.” It’s a cover of a relatively recent (1973) song that’s done pretty well, and that’s pretty much what I feel “Passage” is, at its core.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Screen-Shot-2021-06-27-at-12-24-30-AM.png

Screen-Shot-2021-06-27-at-12-24-50-AM-copy.png

Top: Japanese Remastered Classics (UICY-3017)
Bottom: Karen in My Memories (POCM-1816)

Verdict: Karen in My Memories (POCM-1816)

Not only is the Remastered Classics CD a bit loud on tracks 2, 3, and 7, but looking at the spectrogram reveals that significant amounts of higher-end noise (likely tape hiss and treble) have been removed. This explains why "B'wana" sounds full and bright on the "Karen in My Memories" CD (which is basically the AM+ Series CD repackaged), and incredibly dull and hollow on Remastered Classics.

In fact, look at how much sound was lost in the opening notes of "B'wana" due to noise-reduction:

Screen-Shot-2021-06-27-at-12-31-57-AM-copy.png


Or "Man Smart, Woman Smarter":
Screen-Shot-2021-06-27-at-12-43-39-AM-copy.png
 
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Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
I've never been a huge fan of the Remastered Classics. B'Wana She No Home is like night and day difference on the Remastered Classics vs the 80's original CD 3199/DX 787 AM+. The Remastered Classics has a very muddy sound and Karen sounds like she's buried down in the mix.

The original CD and LP and 45 of this track are the best sounding to me. Even the version on the Sweet Memory Set is pretty close to how it sounds on the original CD but not exactly the same as the original CD in my opinion. After you hear these other ones the Remastered Classics just doesn't sound good.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
The single was released May 2 ,1977 and interestingly enough my WLP mono/stereo 45 doesn't mention what album the single appears on either. Passage was released in Sept so you may be right.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
Thanks to Gary who posted the Biography and Discography Press Kit for Passage here.

I found what looks like the complete 1977 Passage Press Kit.
I own the "A Foreplay Special" 33 1/3 45 rpm which I got at a local record store.
So now I see where it actually came from.
This is a cool press kit. Note where it says the 45 was not to be played on the radio.
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