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

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 17 20.7%
  • ****

    Votes: 27 32.9%
  • ***

    Votes: 30 36.6%
  • **

    Votes: 7 8.5%
  • *

    Votes: 1 1.2%

  • Total voters
    82

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
In another thread, Ed mentions the " audio-master-plus " series,
and, many of my cd's are stamped with that insignia.
My Voice Of The Heart cd, is an "audio-master-plus, "
and, it sounds so very good to my ears.

So, whether or not " audio-master-plus " has any sonic significance,
(outside of marketing),
I still believe that Voice Of The Heart is a very good album !
Not,
Lovelines great...
but, in its own way, a very nice listen.
I'd like to think that the new 2017 vinyl set with increase appreciation of these three LP's:
Passage, Voice Of The Heart, and
Lovelines......
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
In another thread, Ed mentions the " audio-master-plus " series,
and, many of my cd's are stamped with that insignia.
My Voice Of The Heart cd, is an "audio-master-plus, "
and, it sounds so very good to my ears.

So, whether or not " audio-master-plus " has any sonic significance,
(outside of marketing),
I still believe that Voice Of The Heart is a very good album !
Not,
Lovelines great...
but, in its own way, a very nice listen.
I'd like to think that the new 2017 vinyl set with increase appreciation of these three LP's:
Passage, Voice Of The Heart, and
Lovelines......
As I recall from somewhere else, apparently the AM+ logo was first used by A&M on high quality vinyl pressings of the late-70's, early-80's to indicate that the mastering and production was of higher quality than the regular vinyl pressing. And when CD's came out, A&M just slapped the logo on to indicate that CD's offered a better sound quality. It was A&M's version of the warning that you saw on a lot of CD's of the time (I can think of Michael Bolton's The Hunger and Burl Ives' Have A Holly Jolly Christmas, with Ives' CD I just picked up about 8 years ago, having notes saying that CD's offer a higher resolution for audio than the "old" analog tapes, and you might hear limitations on the CD) that were coming from analog copies.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Oops, I missed it....10/17/1983....release date for Voice Of The Heart !
Happy Birthday to one of my favorite albums....
so what, there are no "hit singles" here, but this is a nicely sequenced album...
And, that utilization of sax on Prime Time Love....I do enjoy that very much !
Two Lives is a heck of a song.....Love Look To Your Dreams.....listen to that final
"...seems..." as sung by Karen Carpenter.....
 

WYBIMLA

Well-Known Member
Does anyone notice that a lot of this album not only seems fairly low on overall volume, but it seems Karen's voice is Eq'd without much higher frequencies...
I don't know how else to explain it, but compared to Akiko's album who's tone and within a similar range... Akiko pops out more in the mix to my ears.
I don't think it was a lack of ability on Karen's part or that it wasn't there on the mics she used.
Was this perhaps due to the technology at the time or a particular aesthetic Richard had in mind when producing Karen?

This is a nit picky thing on my part, but it's only been until now I could put it into words.
Any techies here have an idea of what I mean?
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
On top of listening to the LP Christmas Portrait this morning,
I gave this LP yet another spin....
again, my opinion has not budged,
excellent album given its constraints.
Many "first/only"-take vocal leads makes this one all the more memorable.
Listen to the flawless-ness when Karen sings...."and, ... I ...I...I...love you more than ever, and ever..."
on Two Lives.
Look To Your Dreams....its stand-alone vocals (sans chorus and piano-tail) are beautiful.
Sailing On The Tide, every bit as good as Happy.
Prime Time Love....loving that sax !
You're Enough
and At The End Of A Song.....still very good to my ears...
Oh well,
I now remember why I have Two Promo Posters for this album.

I'd love to get Richard Carpenter's detailed thoughts on each song here.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Oh...back to this album,
which--as is evident--I have been listening to a lot, lately....
given the time-frame in which Richard Carpenter completed this Album
(March 1983 to mid-1983) and, in contrast to the Made In America time-frame,
I remain more impressed than ever about the positive attributes of this album.
I really wish that Richard Carpenter felt the same way.
I'd love to write-- and send (snail-mail)--
a written letter expressing my admiration for the Album !
 

Sue

Active Member
Having a wander around the charity shops yesterday looking for Stickle bricks for my Grandson and found a really good Vinyl copy of this album. A bargain at the price of 99p!
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Listening to Voice Of The Heart,
an album with which I grow more and more fond.....

Billboard Magazine
July 9, 1983 ?
Paul Grein presents a brief article "Karen Carpenter Remembered"

"Karen Carpenter Remembered"
LOS ANGELES -Richard Carpenter and the University Choir at California State Univ. at Long Beach
mounted a fitting tribute to the late Karen Carpenter Saturday(25) at the First Congregational
Church of Long Beach.
The briskly paced two -hour concert stressed the joy in the Carpenters' music rather than the sadness
of Karen's death. Lyricist John Bettis set the tone for the show in a light-hearted spot in which he performed
the Carpenters' "Top Of The World" and the Pointer Sisters' "Slow Hand," both of which he co- wrote.
( "Can you believe we did that in a church ?" he exclaimed after singing the latter tune.)
Dennis Heath, another choir alumnus, performed several songs, including "Look To Your Dreams," an eloquent Carpenter -Bettis ballad which is expected to appear on the Carpenters' studio album "Voice Of The Heart" in
September.
And Richard Carpenter offered instrumental piano versions of such Carpenter- Bettis hits as "Yesterday
Once More"
and "I Need To Be In Love.
" Carpenter also offered a jazzy version of "The Girl From Ipanema,"
with which the Carpenter Trio won the Hollywood Bowl Battle of the Bands in 1966.
And Carpenter dueled with choir director Frank Pooler (coauthor of the Carpenters' "Merry Christmas, Darling ")
on a medley of songs from the '30s and '40s, including such gems as Burton Lane and Ralph Freed's charming
"How About You ?" and Kermit Goell's comical " Hupgin' And Chalkin'."
The show also featured the University Choir in a series of brightly arranged songs, including the pop -
jazz classic "Cloudburst" and the gospel -rooted "Just A Little Bit Of Faith."
The choir also performed such Carpenters hits as "For All We Know" and "We've Only Just Begun."
PAUL GREIN
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
In case you missed it....Voice Of The Heart.....
Billboard Magazine, October 29, 1983...
"Album Spotlight:
SP4954. Produced by Richard Carpenter. This is a collection of previously unreleased studio tracks cut
between 1976 and April, 1982, 10 months before Karen Carpenter's death. It's the duo's strongest album
in a decade and contains a few cuts that rank with their all -time best. The most radio -worthy are
"Two Lives," a rock -edged ballad previously recorded by Bonnie Raitt; "Your Baby Doesn't Love You Anymore,"
a brooding, slow -boil pop piece in the tradition of "Hurt So Bad," and "Make Believe It's Your First Time," the soft reflective ballad which is the first single. But the most gripping cut is "Ordinary Fool," a Paul Williams ballad which
features the bluesiest vocal of Karen's career."
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
In case you missed it....Voice Of The Heart.....
Billboard Magazine, October 29, 1983...
"Album Spotlight:
SP4954. Produced by Richard Carpenter. This is a collection of previously unreleased studio tracks cut
between 1976 and April, 1982, 10 months before Karen Carpenter's death. It's the duo's strongest album
in a decade and contains a few cuts that rank with their all -time best. The most radio -worthy are
"Two Lives," a rock -edged ballad previously recorded by Bonnie Raitt; "Your Baby Doesn't Love You Anymore,"
a brooding, slow -boil pop piece in the tradition of "Hurt So Bad," and "Make Believe It's Your First Time," the soft reflective ballad which is the first single. But the most gripping cut is "Ordinary Fool," a Paul Williams ballad which
features the bluesiest vocal of Karen's career."
Billboard's album and singles reviews were often quite superficial, but aside from 'Look to Your Dreams', I think they've picked out all the key tracks on the album there. I'd also agree that overall it was their best album since Horizon, strange when you consider that it was largely 'outtakes' (and in fact two of the weakest tracks were the two non-outtakes recorded in 1982).
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
CashBox ,Feature Picks, 10/22/1983
VOICE OF THE HEART — The Carpenters — A&M SP-4954 — Producer: Richard
Carpenter — List: 8.98 — Bar Coded
Completed before Karen Carpenter’s death earlier this year, this LP will probably be
the last and most remembered collection of new songs by the brother and sister duo.
One cannot help feel sad about the void she has left, but the songs featured on this LP
are some of the best the duo has recorded in some time and the uplifting messages in
their lyrics demand that “Voice of the Heart” be taken as a message of happiness and
optimism. This is a fond farewell from a great singer who will be long appreciated for
her inspirational and strong love for the music she sang. Recommended cuts Include
the single, "Make Believe It’s Your First Time,” the nostalgic “At The End Of A Song
and the escapist “Sailing On The Tide.”
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Wouldn't an album consisting of Only
Work Leads be interesting ?

Each time I listen to
Voice Of The Heart,
I think of those "Work Leads"......
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
CashBox ,Feature Picks, 10/22/1983
VOICE OF THE HEART — The Carpenters — A&M SP-4954 — Producer: Richard
Carpenter — List: 8.98 — Bar Coded
Completed before Karen Carpenter’s death earlier this year, this LP will probably be
the last and most remembered collection of new songs by the brother and sister duo.
One cannot help feel sad about the void she has left, but the songs featured on this LP
are some of the best the duo has recorded in some time and the uplifting messages in
their lyrics demand that “Voice of the Heart” be taken as a message of happiness and
optimism. This is a fond farewell from a great singer who will be long appreciated for
her inspirational and strong love for the music she sang. Recommended cuts Include
the single, "Make Believe It’s Your First Time,” the nostalgic “At The End Of A Song
and the escapist “Sailing On The Tide.”
Did they even do any research before publishing this article?
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Did they even do any research before publishing this article?
If you mean why didn’t they realise this was an album full of outtakes rather than an album “completed before Karen Carpenter’s death”, Richard didn’t really give that impression during interviews at the time. He certainly never mentioned that many of the songs were tracks they’d previously abandoned. That wouldn’t have exactly helped sales if people thought it was full of substandard material.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
She asks Richard “It must have been quite a while before you could go in and listen to her voice and work with it again?

Richard’s response? ”Oh yeah, yeah. It was about a month”.

That response always really, really shocked me. When I first watched this years ago, I thought he was going to say six months or so. But he was back in the studio working with those tapes just four weeks after she’d died.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^And, not only that ("it was about a month"), but,
realizing that the initial intention was for a Summer release.
Billboard Magazine (page 6, 11/19/83):
" Carpenter completed work on the album in May, but its release was held up for five months by
A & M chairman Jerry Moss and the Carpenters' personal manager, Jerry Weintraub. The most likely reason
is that A &M didn't want to appear to be capitalizing on Karen's death by releasing an album of
mostly sad, sentimental ballads so soon afterwards."

Here is John Bettis, April 19,1983, Billboard Magazine (page 34)
entitled, Lyricist Bettis Waxes Bullish.....
"I have a whole different outlook on the love song these days. I enjoy writing assertive female love songs.
It seems to be something I'm good at. I've never lived in a world where sexism played much of a part.
Obviously, I was writing for a woman (Karen Carpenter) for a lot of years and was very comfortable with it.
"But now I'm starting to say some things I never knew I could say, and they come very naturally.
The lyrics are more frank and down -to -earth and honest."In a way, my style has come full circle..."
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I had to re-listen to Make Believe It's Your First Time:
These are the versions I listened to this morning,
(1) Bobby Vinton,
(2) then Karen's solo,
(3) then the augmented 1983 release (the "requested" bridge).

Now, for my tastes, the first one is terrible.
The second one is quite inviting.
The last is almost tolerable.

But, my big question remains this:
If you are going to re-record a song (as Richard did with Karen's solo MBIYFT)
then, Why request a new bridge, where the "key" of the bridge ("so close your eyes and....)
is higher--or, at least as high of key--as anything on the aforementioned Solo album ?
How does that make any sense ?
If that bridge had been sung in a lower key, I might have been sold !
Just my two cents worth.
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
I had to re-listen to Make Believe It's Your First Time:
These are the versions I listened to this morning,
(1) Bobby Vinton,
(2) then Karen's solo,
(3) then the augmented 1983 release (the "requested" bridge).

Now, for my tastes, the first one is terrible.
The second one is quite inviting.
The last is almost tolerable.

But, my big question remains this:
If you are going to re-record a song (as Richard did with Karen's solo MBIYFT)
then, Why request a new bridge, where the "key" of the bridge ("so close your eyes and....)
is higher--or, at least as high of key--as anything on the aforementioned Solo album ?
How does that make any sense ?
If that bridge had been sung in a lower key, I might have been sold !
Just my two cents worth.
I listened as well. I have always promoted the version Karen did with Phil Ramone. It’s inviting and it’s simplicity makes me fell as if I am in the same room with Karen. The choir in the background with Richard kills the song. I think the bridge is nice, just not needed. I have no idea why Bobby Vinton chose to record that song with an arrangement that only Placido Domingo could fulfill. Maybe they wanted Maureen McGovern to sing with him as she did with Domingo in the song A Love Until The End Of Time. I feel if Richard wanted to use Karen’s songs from her solo they should have released the solo version out of respect, but I guess that shows that I know little about the music business. Maybe that’s why it was not chosen for Made In America. Despite all of these comments, I think it stands that Make Believe it’s Your First Time is a good song, well chosen to record. One aside comment: if A Sing For You used the chorale for harmony it would be a forgotten version and no one would have purchased the album that followed which is what happened to Voice Of The Heart. It could have sold much more with different arrangements without the chorale. The use of the chorale removed it from radio station playlists that had followers who purchased music. Radio stations in our area refused to play it. I feel that the solo album version would have received radio play.
 
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GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
CashBox October 15, 1983:
Singles Feature Picks,
"CARPENTERS (A&M AM-2585)
Make Believe It’s Your First Time (4:05)
(Music City Music, Inc. — ASCAP) (Bob Morrison and Johnny Wilson)
(Producer: Richard Carpenter)
The first Carpenters single since Karen’s tragic death related to anorexia nervosa
shows a return to the duo’s early hit period of soft romanticism. Richard Carpenter’s
immaculate production always brought out his sister’s crystal vocal clarity and this is
no exception. An intimate flute and piano opening leads the way into the bailed, with
strings, steel guitar, harp and background vocals filling out Karen's beautiful,
haunting soprano
."
 
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Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
I don't see where MBIYFT was significantly improved by Richard's over-production. The song is intimate. It's meant to be sung intimately. It didn't need all the bells and whistles. And the chorus shouldn't be there. The solo album was deemed not worthy of release, don't cherry-pick songs from it one year later! The usual bag-o-tricks from RC. I'm surprised there's not a lengthy TP fuzz guitar solo on the track. Karen's vocals, sublime on both accounts. I don't understand the whole thing with Richard remaking great songs, ex: Top Of The World, Merry Christmas Darling...

Also, it would be interesting to know what the mindset of Karen was at that time. Her solo album gets kicked to the curb and she agrees to remake a track from it to put on MIA? Strange dynamics.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
She asks Richard “It must have been quite a while before you could go in and listen to her voice and work with it again?

Richard’s response? ”Oh yeah, yeah. It was about a month”.

That response always really, really shocked me. When I first watched this years ago, I thought he was going to say six months or so. But he was back in the studio working with those tapes just four weeks after she’d died.
Based on the interview, it seems to have been part of his healing. That makes sense to me. He was doing the thing that brought him closest to her.

Ed
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
It could have sold much more with different arrangements without the chorale. The use of the chorale removed it from radio station playlists that had followers who purchased music. Radio stations in our area refused to play it.
The problem is, what else was Richard supposed to do with Karen gone and unable to contribute any backing vocals to the remaining songs? Most of the outtakes would have sounded unfinished and bare stripped back and without something else on there. Maybe he could have gone down the road of using established a small group of session singers similar to those used on Strength Of A Woman. At least with that kind of sound the songs might have sounded more personal and less like elevator music.
 
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