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Official Review [Album]: "VOICE OF THE HEART" (SP-4954)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Sep 30, 2013.


  1. ***** (BEST)

    14 vote(s)
  2. ****

    22 vote(s)
  3. ***

    26 vote(s)
  4. **

    6 vote(s)
  5. *

    1 vote(s)
  1. BarryT60

    BarryT60 Well-Known Member

    I am mixed on Make Believe... I want to like her solo version more... and in many ways it's like a totally different tune.. Maybe it is because it is the first thing I heard new after Karen's death, or maybe because I really like the sad, introspective arrangement, but I always was enchanted by her vocal on the Voice of the Heart version. Seemed beefier to me.

    I just do not like that chorale... :rolleyes:
  2. That's interesting because for me it's flipped. I think I would like the solo version more of her vocal was stronger - she sounds like she's running out of breath and just all around wispy. And we all know she was capable of conveying vulnerability whilst sounding sturdy. Sounded like a ONJ impression. I much prefer her vocals on the Carpenters version, much richer, more natural sounding for her. As we know, Richard knew how to her arrange her voice technically much better than Ramone so he knew how to pull forth that deeper, more comfortable range.
  3. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    As is often the case, I had to return to listening to each song side-by-side:
    Perhaps I erred in my original assessment. What impedes my greater appreciation
    of the Voice of The Heart version is not Karen's vocals, but the over-all arrangement.
    (1) The intrusive choir needs to be jettisoned.
    (2) The added bridge has Karen singing too high (IMHO). If you are writing a bridge
    specifically for Karen Carpenter, you should think to bring in more of the 'basement.'
    (3) There is (IMHO) more accentuating of the 'high' notes in the later than in the solo.
    (4) The notes held by Karen in solo version seem to have more impact than Voice version .
    (5) The strings and pedal guitar in Voice version are beautiful.
    However, the Piano accompaniment in solo version is used to great effect.
    Jeff likes this.
  4. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    All of which is very ironic given that Richard's main criticism of Karen's album is that Phil had her singing too high.
    Jeff likes this.
  5. sing AWSOMLY high!, i just love how she sounds, make believe. my vote goes to solo kc. if there was a way to dump the ok choir on the carpenters version... now that would be a treat!
    Jeff likes this.
  6. The choir really needed to go but it doesn't bother me like it does for many others. I think the bridge also makes it more compelling, and though she is too high she still nails it in feeling.

    I still have a place in my heart for the solo version but I think her second vocal is technically richer and more comfortable sounding for her.
  7. Sheena

    Sheena Active Member

    Much better than Made In America IMO.
    Mark-T likes this.

    WYBIMLA Active Member

    When was the Carpenters "Make Believe" recorded?

    Seems like not long after Karen knew her solo album was shelved.

    Obviously, she was professional... I don't know how she went ahead and sung something from a personal project again to be re-formetted for a Carpenter album.
    No less an act of sheer determination and recognizing that it's a good song.

    If it had been put out on MIA and fans asked of the origin of it... that would be awkward to explain wouldn't it?
    It almost seems like there wasn't really reason to record it during the MIA sessions... because it was to end up being unreleased anyway (Rich stated "Now" would have been the only follow up).

    I agree 100% with fans saying the choral is intrusive. I'd like to hear that deleted for an alternative mix.
    Mary Beth likes this.
  9. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Between May and August 1980, so not long after Karen's album was shelved.
    Mary Beth likes this.
  10. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    When I listen to the chorus on Sailing On The Tide I can hear the following lyric:

    Sailing on the tide in the morning
    How I love that salty air

    Take a look at the lyrics from the CD insert and it reads as follows:

    Sailing on the tide in the morning
    Open sea and salty air
  11. The printed lyrics are probably what John Bettis wrote, but Karen probably changed them to an easier-to-sing set of words.
    Chris Mills likes this.
  12. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    The printed lyrics are wrong, your hearing is fine :)
    Chris Mills likes this.
  13. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    I stumbled across this lyric change in the chorus by chance while playing the album. During playback of Sailing On The Tide, I couldn't understand what Karen was singing when she reached the segment of the song with the lyric:

    Leaving at dawn
    After I'm gone things'll go on

    It was after checking the lyric that I then noticed that the chorus had been changed.
  14. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Karen's pronunciation on the word "leaving" is a bit sloppy, which is also what confused me way back when I first heard it. She doesn't sing the letter "l" properly, so bizarrely it sounds like she's singing "heaving at dawn".

    Also, the second line above is actually "After I'm gone life will go on" as far as I remember.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
    Chris Mills likes this.
  15. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    You've found another lyric change.
    newvillefan likes this.
  16. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    Well it's not the first time Karen changed the lyrics of a song.
  17. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I have become more interested in the (background to) song
    Outside album Voice of the Heart LP (CD),
    it pops up on 16 other compilation cd's.
    Orchestra, Chorale and sax solo added in 1983.
    Richard Carpenter:
    "I thought it would be perfect for Karen" (Treasures Set).
    "...only Now would have made any bona fide follow-up to "Made In America"(R&KC Website).
    "Karen's voice was never lovelier..." (40th CD Set).

    I would very much like to hear this song without the additions from 1983.
  18. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I don't really think it's as strong a song as Richard always seems to make out. I think he's emotionally attached to it because it was the last vocal she laid down, so I feel like he looks at it through rose-tinted spectacles.

    If you've heard the unsweetened version of Honolulu City Lights, it would sound similar to that. All that would be on the track would be bass, piano, drums and Karen's lead.

    ThaFunkyFakeTation likes this.
  19. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^As with Chris May's recent post (Karen's studio recording of California Dreaming),
    the unsweetened tracks appear to be so good as to need little amplification, let alone any additions.
    Regarding LP Voice Of The Heart,
    I have continued to wonder if the "Chorale" vocals were the "direction" the duo were headed,
    or, merely used as fill-in for the characteristic background vocals/harmonies.
    Especially considering that Karen's solo album had utterly fantastic background vocals,
    it really surprises me that Made In America failed to utilize same (on every song).
    And, I may have asked previously, but, why were the sax solos now being performed by
    John Philips (he's credited with the flute on Lovelines album).
    That's also a major difference between VOH and Lovelines albums,
    where only once is the tenor sax utilized (on solo song If I Had You).
  20. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Re-listening to the Album this morn.
    I still rather enjoy this album. I recall back in late 1983, it was consistently played.
    And, of course, that was Vinyl.
    Now...regarding the song
    I've altered my assessment a bit, as I realize this vocal is a "work lead,"
    and, that is the great thing about the song... Karen's flawless work lead.

    And, that raises another issue/question in my mind:
    This, in light of Bob Messenger's interview, when he mentions the "splicing" incurred on recordings.
    Is it correct to assume that Karen's work lead is a "one-take" work lead ? That is, no splicing ?
    If so, I marvel all the more at her vocal prowess.
    I may not (totally) love the song, Now,
    but I do marvel at her work lead vocal !

    Note, too, absence of Bob Messenger on credits for LP Voice of The Heart.
  21. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Work leads are usually done in one go so rarely spliced. It's usually the basic track that is spliced, for example where a drummer goes slightly out of time at a certain point on the track, they may "fly in" another take and join it to the first take where the timing issue occured to fix the problem. Richard did that on Yesterday Once More, although I'm not sure of the reason why. There must have been something he was dissatisfied with.
  22. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    Wow! Did Richard ever bury the tropical drum beat of that song in the background chorale. Either way its still a great song, but if Richard hadn't added the Chorale, and brought the drums up, I think it might've found a some traction on the charts in the mid-80's when you had Caribbean flavored hits like Pass The Douchie on the charts!
  23. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    The gorgeous pedal steel guitars are also either drowned out by the syrupy strings or mixed out altogether. Hearing the unsweetened demo makes me realise how much Richard has a tendency to over-orchestrate and over-produce their later material. Too many flutes, too many strings and too many chorales.
    GaryAlan likes this.
  24. ullalume

    ullalume Well-Known Member

    No, I don't think so Gary.

    I've mentioned it before, but during their active recording career there's only 5 songs where a choir's used (outside of Xmas Portrait): I Need to be in Love, Just Fall in Love Again, Evita, Occupants and the Wedding song. In fact in '78 both K and R said they wanted to get back to their big vocal sound. . .something that was evidenced by I Believe You a few months later, and then in MIA which is smothered in their harmonies.
  25. ullalume

    ullalume Well-Known Member

    I actually really like both versions, but I do see where you're coming from, Stephen. It's ironic. . .in '74/5 Richard got 8 more tracks to play with, but chose to add instruments rather than enhance their trademark harmonies. In fact it was during the Horizon sessions that he reduced their backing vocals - from 12 voices to 8. I know there's exceptions, but overall that was the rule.
    newvillefan likes this.

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