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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)

    17 vote(s)
  2. ****

    26 vote(s)
  3. ***

    30 vote(s)
  4. **

    7 vote(s)
  5. *

    1 vote(s)
  1. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Has Richard ever commented that Karen didn’t like the song? I can’t recall reading that anywhere. I do recall him saying it would have remained on the shelf had Karen lived and that baffles me to this day. It’s one of her finest, most soulful readings ever.
  2. Jarred

    Jarred Active Member

    I could have sworn I've read that Karen didn't like it and that's why it would have stayed on the shelf. I mean, he obviously liked it because it was released at some point, but in her lifetime he may have respected her wish to not have it out. So had she lived it really probably wouldn't have been heard. I could see her not liking Rainbow Connection because of its juvenile nature, but OF was very mature, sophisticated so you wonder why she may not have liked it. Maybe.

    Also, I love (and still need to do the edit of) that someone on here once mentioned that the end of Maybe it's You, would segue beautifully into Ordinaey Fool; one ends with "Only a fool..." and the other starts with it. And thematically it's a gorgeous companion piece.
    John Adam likes this.
  3. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Karen's rendition of Ordinary Fool is sooo good that I can hear it in the soundtrack of a romantic movie. You know, boy gets girl - boy loses girl - boy hoofing it back home to his miserable existence. That brings me to the point; wouldn't a complete Carpenter's soundtrack fit an ENTIRE movie like that?! Like the Harry Connick Jr soundtrack in "When Harry Met Sally" or Simon & Garfunkel in "The Graduate". Sorry, wandered off the trail there a bit...
    Mark-T likes this.
  4. AnnaSock

    AnnaSock Active Member

    I found the following comments on a YouTube video of the song. I’m not sure where they came from though (maybe the album sleeve notes?).

    Richard's comments on "Ordinary Fool" -- "Karen and I recorded it in 1976 while working on our "A Kind Of Hush" album. Originally it was recorded the way we did virtually all our recordings, bass, piano, drums and a "work lead" so, as you know, the drummer and bassist could hear the melody while reading their charts. Karen was not that taken with the song and it did not make the album."
  5. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I believe the one and only appearance of Chuck Delmonico on any Carpenters' recording,
    is here, Ordinary Fool. He is credited on Bass.
  6. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    I agree. ‘You’re Enough’ is a really nice song with a great performance by Karen.

    ‘Voice of the Heart’ is one of my favourite albums by Carpenters.
    Mark-T and Rick-An Ordinary Fool like this.
  7. Jarred

    Jarred Active Member

    Yeah that's the quote, I knew I read it somewhere. I think it could have been the song's subject matter with little hope that got to her. Perhaps why she didn't like Solitaire; there's sadness like in many of her songs but no way out of it. Subversion in certain songs seems futile.
  8. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    I’ve never thought of the work leads on VOTH as being weaker. I do think that Karen sounds very relaxed on some of the tracks - especially the ones that are set lower, in a pitch where she’s very comfortable. (‘Now’ has sections that are pitched higher and Karen has to work harder, but she sounds great doing it).

    Presuming that Karen actually was super-relaxed, maybe because she thought these vocals wouldn’t be presented to the world, this state of mind brought out a very rich, warm, extra-inviting, immediately magnetic tone in her voice. This, I feel, is true of most recordings on the album.

    Come to think of it, yes, there are a couple of tracks that sound weaker, partly, I feel, because the material is weaker. For me, the main song in this category is ‘Prime Time Love’. And on ‘Your Baby Doesn’t Love You Any More’, Karen sounds out of her comfort level in the choruses, and loses it a little, particularly at the end. I think, if she’d lived, they could have kept almost the whole vocal for that song but would have been wise to re-record all the choruses but the first one.
  9. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    The vacillation between highs and lows in the song
    Your Baby Doesn't Love You Anymore
    is one of the reasons I like the song.
    Yes, Karen is reaching for those high-notes,
    but, it is after-all a "work lead," a one-take wonder !
    We get Chuck Findley--trumpet solo (think Close To You).
    We get Gayle Levant on harp.
    I have to say, I like the song the more I listen to it.
    Brian and Mark-T like this.
  10. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    Spot on...I've always felt that "You're The One" could have also made a great song on a movie soundtrack. A break up relationship scene where each one....now alone....realizes they need the other and that they were meant for each other. "All that's right, all that's wrong, suddenly becomes so clear......I keep coming back for more"...The song would be perfect for that tender spot that holds with an emotional grip.
    Brian and Murray like this.
  11. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Really, the only thing I like about this one is Karen's lead (at times) and Richard's backgrounds. Beyond that, this one is just so overproduced for me. Findley's trumpet is a decent way to avoid the prototypical sax solo that another might have gone for (especially in 1983 when the album was released) but the thing is just so orchestrated that the song almost crumbles. It's also just painfully square. Here's the original and it's magnificent. This is how you do drama, folks.:

    I also noticed when I first heard Ruby's that Carpenters' version has lyrical changes at the end of each verse that simply, to my ears, aren't really needed. I don't hate them; I just don't need them.

    Just my insignificant 2 cents... :wink:

    Murray and John Adam like this.
  12. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Somehow I missed that. This is the only time that I completely disagree...like completely disagree with Karen. This is another tune that is very produced and orchestrated but Richard stays out of Karen's way here so she doesn't get caught in the current. The Rhodes/vocal verses are just gorgeous. Karen's vocal is perfection here too. Don't get me started on the ending. Goosebump city. How Karen "wasn't that taken" with the tune totally confounds me. I'm glad Richard disagreed too and we got to hear it. It's one of my very favorite Carpenters' songs.

    AnnaSock and Murray like this.
  13. Murray

    Murray Well-Known Member

    Great minds think alike! I've always thought that "You're The One" would be perfect in one of those romance movies on the Hallmark Channel. Not that I watch that mushy stuff myself... :whistle: :love: :D
    Brian and Rick-An Ordinary Fool like this.
  14. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I think Ruby's version is good for the 60s, but the Carpenters' remake is so much better! It doesn't sound dated- even after all these years. And Karen and Richard both sound magnificent.
  15. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    Yes, the vocal is pretty amazing for a one take shot, right through. I just think that Karen’s voice sounds a little...thin maybe....that’s the wrong description....right at the end in the higher sections. But, as you say, it is a song with variation in the pitch, low to high...at least, it sounds like it.
  16. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    The first time I heard this song was before ‘Lovelines’ was released, on ‘The Karen Carpenter Story’. It was heavenly, and a surprise, hearing a ‘new’ recording and a ‘new’ performance by Karen. The song suited the scene from that movie, I thought at the time.
  17. John Adam

    John Adam Well-Known Member

    Very 1960's, but very well done! I had never heard this before.
    ThaFunkyFakeTation likes this.
  18. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I just don't know...Ed...the Ruby and the Romantics version is a good 1960s effort, however,
    the Carpenters' version is a great update by the duo (imho).
    I have to stick with my original (positive) assessment:
    (1) As a "one-take" vocal by Karen, it is very well done. One can hardly imagine what the
    results would have been had the duo finished the song with their usual background harmonies.
    (2) The low notes and the high notes sung by Karen show her incredible versatility,
    and the song is reminiscent of an earlier Carpenters' remake: Hurting Each Other.
    Had the song YBDLYA gotten that kind of attention to detail--at that time--1980,
    who knows what may have materialized !
    (3) Ultimately, we are left with a song that was rescued from "the shelf."
    No, the song as delivered to the public, in late 1983, is NOT perfect. How could it be otherwise ?
    The arrangement was completed after Karen had left us...
    The background harmonies are not complete--how could it be otherwise?
    Karen wasn't there to help complete those harmonies....
    The lead vocal is a bit strained (thin ?)--how could it be otherwise ?
    After all, the lead vocal is completed in ONE take !
    No chance for a "do-over"

    So, I have to say of the Carpenters' version:
    Great song, all things considered.
    Jarred and John Adam like this.



    I agree and in fact, as well as `Made in America` and `Lovelines`, I listen to these three albums more than the others, not that I dis-like the other albums :)
  20. AnnaSock

    AnnaSock Active Member


    ‘Lovelines’ is one of my favourites, too. There are some great tracks on it :)

    I need to give ‘Voice of the Heart’ another listen as I can’t say it’s an album I’ve given much attention in the past. I shall play it in the car this week.
  21. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Step back in time and re-read Billboard Magazine:

    Album Recalls Karen Carpenter,
    By PAUL GREIN, November 19,1983.
    "LOS ANGELES -There's a story behind every album on Billboard's Top 200, but none is more
    poignant than that behind the album that debuts at number 84 this week -the Carpenters'
    "Voice Of The Heart." The album, which has been in the top 10 in Britain for the past month,
    comes nine months after Karen Carpenter's death, at 32, from complications associated with
    anorexia nervosa. Karen died on February 4, and by the end of that month Richard Carpenter was back
    at A & M Studios finishing work on the album. While one would think it would be hard to focus on work at a time
    of such shock and grief, Carpenter says returning to that familiar regimen actually helped pull him
    through. "It actually made the time a little bit easier," he says. "I think if I'd just stayed home, it would
    have been that much more difficult. "I felt strongly that the material shouldn't be stuck away on a shelf.
    Putting myself in a fan's position - if I'd never met Karen -I'd want to hear it. I hear now there's more unreleased
    John Lennon on its way, and I want to hear it. I feel it deserves to be heard." 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. For the past month, Carpenter has been on a promotional tour of England, Japan and Australia.
    He has also done selected press and television interviews in the U.S., including "Good Morning America"
    and People magazine. But Carpenter and his parents called off a scheduled interview for ABC -TV's
    "20/20." "We felt it was going to be a little too painful," he says. "In early research, calling different people,
    they were getting into really painful subjects, and who needs it? I don't want Karen remembered that way.
    Karen brought a great deal of joy to many milllions of people, and that's how she should be remembered."
    Carpenter says time had been booked for the Carpenters to begin recording a new album on Feb. 11
    of this year. It would have been the first time the duo was in the studio since April 1982, when they cut
    four sides. "We were making plans and figuring that Karen was going to get her strength back and we'd be
    ready to go back in. That's where that was left." "Voice Of The Heart" includes two songs from the April 1982
    sessions ( "Now" and "You're Enough "), and other cuts dating as far back as 1976 ( "Ordinary Fool ") and
    1977 ( "Sailin' On The Tide "). But Carpenter says there's still enough releasable material left over for a
    second studio album. "I'd love to do another one," he says, "but, obviously that's up to A & M.
    I don't know if its release is predicated on the success of this album, or if, to them, this is it.
    But there are plenty of other things (in the can). It was killing me not to put them on this album,
    but I was hoping there would be another."


    CARPENTERS -Voice Of The Heart, A&M 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."
    newvillefan likes this.
  22. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Ordinary Fool and Your Baby are two of my most loved songs from that album. So glad they saw the light of day!
    AnnaSock and John Adam like this.
  23. Jarred

    Jarred Active Member

    It was a good idea that they did wait until later in the year to release the album because people probably would have been mad that they could be exploiting her death. Interestingly this album did better on the charts than MIA, I don't know if it's because of people who had stopped hearing them but suddenly feeling sympathy were curious or if more people just wanted to hear her voice one "last" time for the first time.
    John Adam likes this.
  24. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Difficult to answer, but, I remember finding exactly one copy of Made In America
    in a 'record-store' during its initial 1981 release.
    Voice of the Heart was prominently displayed in the record store during its release, I remember well.
    I recall that the retail outlet, Record Bar, played the album in-store, and affixed the label 'best-seller' on their copies.
    Richard Carpenter also appeared on the ABC Morning show, where he promoted the album (Pt. 1 at 2:22),
    and there were televised commercial spots for the album.
    John Adam likes this.
  25. [QUOTE="Also, I love (and still need to do the edit of) that someone on here once mentioned that the end of Maybe it's You, would segue beautifully into Ordinaey Fool; one ends with "Only a fool..." and the other starts with it. And thematically it's a gorgeous companion piece.[/QUOTE]

    That was me. I got no response when I posted it. Glad someone was paying attention! I keep wanting to play with this in a song list sometime and see how it sounds with Only a Fool right after Maybe It's You.
    John Adam likes this.

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