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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)

    7 vote(s)
  2. ****

    42 vote(s)
  3. ***

    25 vote(s)
  4. **

    5 vote(s)
  5. *

    0 vote(s)
  1. song4u

    song4u Well-Known Member

    I guess it could sound dated, but to me it just sounds like more of a 'down home' expression. I quaint but successful way of not saying 'damn shame'.
  2. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    "A Song for You" and "Horizon", which I like about equally for different reasons. Really great stuff.
    ullalume likes this.
  3. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Interesting, I'm a #1 Horizon,#2 Passage, #3 Close to You (but, Song For You easily a tie).
    I always thought that the extra singers used for the overdubs/chorus on Passage was off-key, and would rather
    have had just Karen and Richard overdubbing on All You Get From Love is a Love Song.
    But, still great music.
    Jeff likes this.
  4. goodjeans

    goodjeans Active Member

    ...hmmm. Perhaps if they changed 'dirty old shame' ( and Paul Williams has stated that they tended to change lyrics), to "It's a f*cking damn shame', that it would have both given street cred, and a #1 hit.
    Jamesj75 and A&M Retro like this.
  5. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    Man, I'd give ANYTHING to hear that! :)
  6. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Yeah, I think much of "Christmas Portrait" is others. He was in the throws of his addictions at that point and he's termed it a Karen solo album before. His arrangements are conspicuously absent too.

    She barely matters. The rhythm section (of which Richard is not a part, btw) is killin' it. Love the sax punctuating the bass too. Nice arranging from Richard. You also have to love that the bulk of the tune is two chords. They repeat ad nauseum...and you don't care! Deft writing from Franks.

    I get what you mean but we'd already heard them do tunes like that before. They decided to switch up their sound on "Passage" and it would have been nice if they'd have "gone left" with all the tunes instead of just some. What could it have hurt? Sales were already sluggish. The result didn't do well anyway. One imagines an album without the "safe stuff" wouldn't have fared any worse.

    Yes! This! "You're The One" is a fantastic tune (even with an at times awkward lyric) but Karen sings the fool out of it! It might be her best vocal on anything! I would love to hear that sans strings. Richard put them on just about everything and they weren't always needed. The melody was strong enough to stand on it's own. In terms of street-cred, they never had any ("Sing," anyone?) so "The Rescuers" tune wouldn't have been the worst move either.

  7. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Oldies station, this morning, playing Casey Kasem's top 40 from May 7,1977.
    Some terrible musical material, in my opinion, on that top 40 countdown.
    As the Carpenters single All You Get From Love.. was released May 2, 1977
    (and, LP Passage in October 1977),
    I can not help but wonder if Karen and Richard weren't puzzled by the lack of chart
    success of the singles from this album, as it must have been a 'punch in the stomach'.
    Speaking for myself, I am absolutely mystified as to the lack of significant airplay.
    Quite frankly, their material was far, far better than much (most?) of the trifling pop
    played on the radio at that time.
    A&M Retro, Natesmommy77 and goodjeans like this.
  8. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    That single got airplay here. Before I had the album or the single, I had taped it from the local AC station, WOMC. :D The airplay didn't last as long as others in its time, though.
  9. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    A BBC Radio 1 deejay joked back in '77 that because of Karen's phrasing on "All You Get From Love Is A Love Song", that it sounded like Karen was using the lyric......"that the best love songs are written with a broken arm"
  10. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    Well to be honest, that is what I though she'd sung also! :laugh: I don't think that I corrected myself until I saw the printed lyrics, which may not have been until I found an LP version as I originally had cassette.
  11. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Listened to the entire album Sunday Morning.
    Still get a kick out of the diversity expressed on this album.
    "Two Sides", must be my favorite!
    The only misgiving (and it is minor), in my opinion: edit some of the prolonged
    intro's (Say, the "On the Balcony"of "Evita", maybe even the DJ on "Occupants").
    (However, I do realize that would 'destroy' Richard's intent,the theme, of those songs.)
    and, thus allow room to include more Karen Carpenter vocals (add another song).
    But, still, Karen's vocals should get more time on this album (even as good as this album is!).
    I notice Richard Carpenter is not credited for keyboards on "Sweet Sweet Smile",
    yet he does the keyboard duties on the clips I have seen of this song.
  12. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    "Passage" is up there as one of Carpenters most interesting and diverse studio album recordings. It has an edge to it that had been almost forgotten in the previous two albums, "Horizon" & "A Kind Of Hush". Karen's vocals were incredible during this period, she had never sounded so at ease and yet confident at the same time. It's interesting to note, that it's Karen who wants to push Carpenters musically to new and unchartered territories, whereas Richard gives the impression of someone who wants to play it safe and stick rigidly to a formula, not too many risks allowed, that would rock the boat.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014
    Passage_Ta_C likes this.
  13. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Chris, please explain your last sentence. How do you know it was Karen that wanted to push the envelope starting with Passage and not Richard? I never read that.
  14. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    Karen's influence during the recording of "Passage" must have grown as Karen was the one prepared to take risks. Karen was already centre stage visually and probably had more control behind the scenes as well. If the choice of music for the "Passage" album had been entirely in the hands of Richard, we would have ended up with a safe collection of songs similar to "A Kind Of Hush" album
  15. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    If you listen to the Passage interview they gave in 1977, I still get the idea that much of the album was in Richard's control, he mentions that he bought the Klatuu LP and he was a sci fi buff and how he wanted to record and arrange this piece. Later he is asked how does he pick songs for Karen and he said something like, first he has to like the song and it has to "hit"him, then he says is this something that is it meant for Karen to sing then he arranges it, he says in that order. He also said something like they have been thinking of doing something like Passage for a while (going in a different direction) So I think it's probably a joint effort to make something different but much of it was in Richard's control I think.
    GaryAlan and Jamesj75 like this.
  16. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    Always thought that Tony Peluso brought "Calling Occupants" to Richard's attention
  17. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I do agree with this Chris. If I had to write it down in formulaic terms, I get the impression that it's in this order:

    1. Richard writes/sources the song
    2. Richard presents it to Karen
    3. Richard has Karen lay a vocal down in the studio
    4. Richard decides it's a hit/album-worthy
    5. Richard takes Karen's opinion into account
    6. They record it anyway.

    This formula applies to songs like 'Solitaire', 'Superstar', 'The Rainbow Connection' and 'Ordinary Fool'.
  18. "When I was going I listened to the radio, waiting for my favorite songs." I am definitely a child of the am radio. Most of my childhood music came from what I heard on the radio. I did not buy albums, I was more of a 45s kind of kid. Passage was my first CarpenterS album, on 8-track no less. It was MY album. Karen's voice came thru solidly, Richard's production work was great. It was unlike those songs from my childhood, though I was 13 at the time. They had matured with me and were trying new things, things slightly ahead of its time. As the next few years passed, the music seemed to fit into those times and in no way could be considered vanilla.
    I remember being home alone and playing the first song on repeat over and over. That was 'Bwana she no home'. I was amazed at the funky nature and movement that song had. I was surprised it was not released as a single. It could have been edited for radio with some of the melody cut down. It brought me out of many teenage funks. Just me at home alone with Karen and Richard. The unease of growing up seemed doable.
    The other stand out to me is 'Two Sides'. The message in that song is spot on for every situation. This too I thought would have been a great single. They were not irrelevant just misunderstood in their genius. I was surprised that my friends did not know this album, because it was great music.
    On a funny side not (slightly off topic), when 'If I Were A Carpenter' came out, I played it while my brother was visiting. I asked him his favorite CarpenterS song to figure what to play first and he said 'Man Smart,Woman Smarter'. Passage was a big album around our house.
    It pained me when they became the butt of many jokes. People can be so cruel without ever realizing it.
    BarryT60, byline, Chris Mills and 2 others like this.
  19. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Passage was an album that I first purchased on cassette (from the RCA Music Club) and then,soon
    afterward, on LP (1977).
    So, I loved it quite a bit back in the day.
    Could not understand why no one else, known to me, got as much of a kick out of those three singles from this album.
    The Cover Art was colorfully creative and perfectly complemented the enclosed gems placed on vinyl.
    Another missed opportunity for a Grammy Award, as far as I am concerned.
    Diversity from Carpenters, indeed.
  20. Song4uman

    Song4uman Well-Known Member

    A friend gave me mp3 of all of the albums. I have them on vinyl and have almost all the compilations.... Just listened the last several days in the car to this album. I really liked it. I think it is moving up on my favorites list.
    Passage_Ta_C likes this.
  21. Song4uman

    Song4uman Well-Known Member

    Yes, as I have listened to the album again, I am amazed at the diversity on this album.....probably one of their most diverse.
    Passage_Ta_C and A&M Retro like this.
  22. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    I totally agree. 'Passage' is an album like no other, and it deserved a Grammy Award. 'Occupants' was nominated for best arrangment, if memory serves, but didn't win.
  23. BarryT60

    BarryT60 Well-Known Member

    I hadn't heard there was a Disney song "almost" recorded.... Could this have made it to the studio and be one of the ones in the vault that we haven't heard - or have we heard - it was not recorded? Just looked the song up - and I can hear Karen singing it... :) Thanks,
  24. ullalume

    ullalume Well-Known Member

    Yeah, it was never recorded. And I don't think negotiations went very far at all.
    BarryT60 likes this.
  25. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Listening to this fantastic album early this morning.
    After all of these years, I still get quite the charge listening to this brilliant album.
    My original copy of this cd (3199/DX787 Made in USA !) seems to be brighter and clearer than
    some of my other pressings (from Japan!).

    Now, a question for the cognoscenti
    At the beginning (say: at ten seconds) of
    Man Smart, Woman Smarter
    there is a very unmusical sound--it bugs me to no end---
    a click/thump, does anyone else hear it?
    What is the instrument making this noise?

    (N.B.:Grateful Dead does this song in concert ....who says the Carpenters were not ahead of their time and inspirational !)

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