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

How Would You Rate This Album?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 8 9.6%
  • ****

    Votes: 42 50.6%
  • ***

    Votes: 28 33.7%
  • **

    Votes: 5 6.0%
  • *

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    83

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'.
 

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.
 

goodjeans

Active Member
The 'dirty old shame' lyric never phased me in the States. In fact, I've never really thought about it. Sounds better than 'rotten old shame'. :wink:
...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.
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known 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.
Man, I'd give ANYTHING to hear that! :)
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Yeah, there really is a great propulsive funk groove to this song that's spot on. . .it's become a favourite of mine. . .but you're right. . .it could have been anybody's lead on it. Perhaps better would have just been 5 minutes of instrumental but with more of those great Puerling splashes of vocal blasts which sound soooo good. Not sure but I think that's the only time anyone else ever did a vocal arrangement for their blended voices (actually, isn't there a little bit on First Snowfall "folks put runners etc. . ." that Peter Night arranged with a nice Andrews Sisters feel). Sometimes you forget just how well they blended. . .genetically. .. and it's refreshing to hear those melted tones in the hands of someone other than Richard.
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.

But yeah, you know a track's good when you don't mind the lead being inconsequential. . .especially when that lead's from your favourite singer.
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'd come to the rescue of Two Sides, though. They had a real gift for lilting country/pop and I find most of my favourite cuts fall into that category (Reason To Believe, When It's Gone, Uninvited Guest etc.)
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.

Man Smart should have been bumped, however. . . replaced by "You're the One" and the almost recorded Rescuers track "Someone's Waiting". Having a single from the number one US film (as Rescuers was) would surely have shifted a few hundred thousand more albums, regardless of whether radio stations deemed them turn-table poison. Can you imagine. . .all the kids pestering their parents for "that song from the disney film" Xmas of '77. It may not have helped their street-cred (. . . by that point could anything!!??) but it would have put them back in the Top Ten.
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.

Ed
 

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.
 

Rudy

ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ
Staff member
Site Admin
Moderator
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.
 

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"
 

Rudy

ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ
Staff member
Site Admin
Moderator
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"
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.
 

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.
 

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.
 
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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.
 

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
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Honolulu City Lights
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.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
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.
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'.
 
"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.
 

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.
 

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.
Jonathan
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.
 

Song4uman

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.
Yes, as I have listened to the album again, I am amazed at the diversity on this album.....probably one of their most diverse.
 

BarryT60

Well-Known Member
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.

Ed
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,
 

ullalume

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,
Yeah, it was never recorded. And I don't think negotiations went very far at all.
 

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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