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

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 18 20.5%
  • ****

    Votes: 28 31.8%
  • ***

    Votes: 34 38.6%
  • **

    Votes: 7 8.0%
  • *

    Votes: 1 1.1%

  • Total voters
    88

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Randy Crawford (on whose albums I've been having a bit of a binge recently) also recorded 'Two Lives' in 1981 for her Secret Combination album
My all time favourite Randy Crawford track is Almaz. There’s just something about that song that takes me to another place.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
An astounding interview with Herb Alpert, 1989 interview Bob Costas
(Carpenters and Karen, at 11m13s through 14m24s):
Funny timing: At the very end of this interview, Costas says he's going to get his WHIPPED CREAM album autographed and that in the meantime the audience can go out and buy MY ABSTRACT HEART which contained the single "3 o'clock Jump".

Just this week, I found a copy of the promo CD single for "3 o'clock Jump" containing three mixes of the song. It's identical to the 12" promo vinyl that I already had, but I wanted the CD version too.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
The 1983 Entertainment Tonight interview is perplexing.
They imply that Karen's Voice of the Heart vocals were recorded months earlier (1m18s),
and the spot closes with the video of Beechwood 4-5789 (surely a poor decision).
If I recall correctly, the spot was intended to coincide with release of Voice of the Heart,
and, outside of the song Make Believe It's Your First Time, nothing else about that music.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I must say, and I am sure I have said it more than enough,
certain songs on this album really resonate with me, including:
You're Enough, At The End of A Song and Look To Your Dreams...
Ordinary Fool i
s simply astounding.

It will be interesting to read what is written about this album in the new
Schmidt Discography publication, as I feel the album is generally underrated.
 

Brian

Well-Known Member
I must say, and I am sure I have said it more than enough,
certain songs on this album really resonate with me, including:
You're Enough, At The End of A Song and Look To Your Dreams...
Ordinary Fool i
s simply astounding.

It will be interesting to read what is written about this album in the new
Schmidt Discography publication, as I feel the album is generally underrated.
I agree with your assessment of ‘Voice of the Heart’, GaryAlan. I also agree with your choice of stand-out tracks - ‘You’re Enough’, ‘At The End of a Song’ and ‘Look To Your Dreams’. Absolutely sublime. I’d add two other brilliant tracks - ‘Now’ and ‘Make Believe It’s Your First Time’. Seeing as ‘Voice of the Heart’ mainly consists of first-take work leads, this album proves that Karen and Richard could have just walked into a studio any day of their lives, recorded forty songs in their first-time run-throughs with Richard on piano and Karen on vocals and had product good enough for world-class release. There are a couple of dud tracks on the album, the low-point being ‘Prime Time Love’, mainly due to its limited range - it’s just a dull composition in terms of melody, chord structure, lyrics and (lack of) ideas. Overall, though, the LP is great and one of my favourite Carpenters albums.
 

Brian

Well-Known Member
I'm pretty sure the lovely Karen herself did the drumming on Happy. . .the last album track she'd drum on until her work on When It's Gone in 1980.
I’m sure the only track Karen drummed on for ‘Horizon’ was ‘Please Mr. Postman’. :)
 

Brian

Well-Known Member
Randy Crawford (on whose albums I've been having a bit of a binge recently) also recorded 'Two Lives' in 1981 for her Secret Combination album:


Karen's reading is definitely the best of the bunch though. As everyone has said, her delivery on that line 'and I love you more than ever... and ever' is just gorgeous.

I quite like 'Two Lives'. It's definitely one of the stronger tracks recorded during 1980-81. The one thing that lets it down is the use of the oboe at the start and the end, which sets it up to be another MOR track when in fact it's a lot more interesting than that. If they'd have gone for an acoustic guitar intro like the one used on 'The Uninvited Guest' instead, it would have been more effective.
I also like Randy Crawford and occasionally give a slew of her albums a spin. I must have about ten or fifteen of her albums on CD.
 

Brian

Well-Known Member
My all time favourite Randy Crawford track is Almaz. There’s just something about that song that takes me to another place.
I also like ‘Almaz’. Interesting that it’s your favourite, newvillefan. My impression is that Randy Crawford wrote very few songs on her LPs, but she wrote words and music for ‘Almaz’, from memory. One of my favourites is the obvious choice - ‘One Day I’ll Fly Away’, which I bought when it was a Top 30 in my country. A couple of years later, in 1982, I bought ‘Imagine’, which was a Top 40. Her album, ‘Wind Song’, stayed on the charts here for eight months. I believe she used to have a healthy following here for tours, although, generally, she’s not had a high profile on the charts, probably because she’s never focused upon being highly commercial in a pop sense.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I also like ‘Almaz’. Interesting that it’s your favourite, newvillefan. My impression is that Randy Crawford wrote very few songs on her LPs, but she wrote words and music for ‘Almaz’, from memory.
I didn’t know she wrote the words and music to this song, makes it even more special. There’s just something about it: that great line “you lucky, lucky thing” as well as the stripped back arrangement and the atmospheric, hypnotic beat of the song. Just sublime!
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
I agree with your assessment of ‘Voice of the Heart’, GaryAlan. I also agree with your choice of stand-out tracks - ‘You’re Enough’, ‘At The End of a Song’ and ‘Look To Your Dreams’. Absolutely sublime. I’d add two other brilliant tracks - ‘Now’ and ‘Make Believe It’s Your First Time’. Seeing as ‘Voice of the Heart’ mainly consists of first-take work leads, this album proves that Karen and Richard could have just walked into a studio any day of their lives, recorded forty songs in their first-time run-throughs with Richard on piano and Karen on vocals and had product good enough for world-class release. There are a couple of dud tracks on the album, the low-point being ‘Prime Time Love’, mainly due to its limited range - it’s just a dull composition in terms of melody, chord structure, lyrics and (lack of) ideas. Overall, though, the LP is great and one of my favourite Carpenters albums.
It's always interesting how different some of our opinions are. I'd say that 'You're Enough' and 'At the End of a Song' probably the two weakest tracks on Voice of the Heart. They're not awful, but they're fairly pedestrian and unremarkable.

'Ordinary Fool', 'Your Baby Doesn't Love You Anymore', 'Two Lives' and 'Look to Your Dreams' are the highlights on the album for me. And I actually quite like 'Prime Time Love'!
 

Geographer

Well-Known Member
It's always interesting how different some of our opinions are. I'd say that 'You're Enough' and 'At the End of a Song' probably the two weakest tracks on Voice of the Heart. They're not awful, but they're fairly pedestrian and unremarkable.

'Ordinary Fool', 'Your Baby Doesn't Love You Anymore', 'Two Lives' and 'Look to Your Dreams' are the highlights on the album for me. And I actually quite like 'Prime Time Love'!
Case in point, I think VOTH one of the weakest albums in the entire catalogue. Certainly, in my opinion, weaker than what came before (MIA) and after (OFC and especially Lovelines).
I was totally underwhelmed at the time it was released, but happy to have it thinking these were the last ever songs we'd get since Karen is gone.
I still can't help but think that tracks like "You're The One," "Where Do I Go From Here," and "Kiss Me the Way You Did Last Night" sat in the vaults while much weaker songs took their place on VOTH. This, actually made me mad, later, thinking about VOTH could have been. The only track, in my humble opinion, that was stellar on VOTH is "Ordinary Fool." "Two Lives" and "You're Baby.." are adequate for sure; however, songs like "Sailing on the Tide," this album's version of "Make Believe...." and any one of the others could have waited until the As Time Goes By release.
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
I agree for the most part. By far the weakest album in the catalogue. It must have been so painful for Richard to even go in the studio at all without Karen and put anything together. Most of the tracks were ruined for me with the choir instead of Richard’s or the Carpetts singing background vocals on the entire album. I was so disappointed after listening the first time. I would rather have waited longer for a better collection for sure. Lovelines more than made up for it though. Even As Time Goes By was a big surprise, though I wish Richard was able to use the whole Perry Como medley intact instead of singing half of Como’s parts. Glad we have the dvd to hear it the way I remembered them performing on his special. Karen’s interpretation of It’s Impossible still gives me goosebumps. Again just my personal views. Lots of opinions about this album positive and negative. There are many on here that are newer fans of Carpenters and I think most accept whatever they do, it’s great. Those songs were left off from previous sessions because they weren’t up to par with other recordings, accept a couple that were done before she passed on. We all know that to be true. My favorites are You’re Baby and Ordinary Fool, in that order. No choir!
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
VOTH ranks up there with me for a variety of reasons. I love Ordinary Fool and Your Baby, but I find other tracks very well done. I do dislike the choir with the exception of Look to Your Dreams as it seems to fit there. Side One feels much weaker to me, aside from Now- which I love. Side Two is just great. At the End of a Song is just so different, it's engaging. And I find Prime Time Love a fun break from the sadness and drama. A Four Star album in my opinion.
 

Geographer

Well-Known Member
I agree for the most part. By far the weakest album in the catalogue. It must have been so painful for Richard to even go in the studio at all without Karen and put anything together. Most of the tracks were ruined for me with the choir instead of Richard’s or the Carpetts singing background vocals on the entire album. I was so disappointed after listening the first time. I would rather have waited longer for a better collection for sure. Lovelines more than made up for it though. Even As Time Goes By was a big surprise, though I wish Richard was able to use the whole Perry Como medley intact instead of singing half of Como’s parts. Glad we have the dvd to hear it the way I remembered them performing on his special. Karen’s interpretation of It’s Impossible still gives me goosebumps. Again just my personal views. Lots of opinions about this album positive and negative. There are many on here that are newer fans of Carpenters and I think most accept whatever they do, it’s great. Those songs were left off from previous sessions because they weren’t up to par with other recordings, accept a couple that were done before she passed on. We all know that to be true. My favorites are You’re Baby and Ordinary Fool, in that order. No choir!
I forgot to mention the choir. Yes, that added a lot to my opinion on its mediocrity. The tracks where Richard sings back-up almost bring it back to a "Carpenters" album for me. He should have done more of his own back-up harmonies, for sure. I think (I hope, anyway) he learned his lessons as Lovelines doesn't rely on the choir nearly as much. Can you imagine "Kiss Me..." with the OK Choral? It'd be nice if, in his world of remixing, he'd revisit a few of the OK Choral tracks on VOTH and replace it with his own overdubbed back-up vocals (assuming he still has the chops at his age and smoking habit).
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
I know Richard would never do this but is it possible to take the original mastering from Voice of the Heart and remove the choir parts? There are only a few parts where I like the choir but mostly overdone and Richard should have really added his own backing vocals...if time was an issue he should have demanded more time. One would think if there was ever a time when he would have "wanted" to add his vocals to Karen's on a Carpenters album it would have been this album, Voice of the Heart....with the closeness of Karen's death. I wouldn't have minded if the album got a release several years later with Richard's backing vocals instead of an 83' release without them.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
I know Richard would never do this but is it possible to take the original mastering from Voice of the Heart and remove the choir parts? There are only a few parts where I like the choir but mostly overdone and Richard should have really added his own backing vocals...if time was an issue he should have demanded more time. One would think if there was ever a time when he would have "wanted" to add his vocals to Karen's on a Carpenters album it would have been this album, Voice of the Heart....with the closeness of Karen's death. I wouldn't have minded if the album got a release several years later with Richard's backing vocals instead of an 83' release without them.
What a GREAT idea as part of a new boxed set!
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Not surprisingly, I rank the album
Voice of The Heart
quite highly.

Is it of the same calibre as
Horizon or A Song For You ?
No....how could it be ?....
However,
given how many fantastic Karen's WORK LEADS are (that is, no do-overs)
and the self-imposed time-constraints Richard Carpenter worked with (originally scheduled for SUMMER 1983 release),
a few wonderful Carpenter/Bettis compositions....and working without Karen to complete this album,
Well...
I will not change my opinion,
great album.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I know Richard would never do this but is it possible to take the original mastering from Voice of the Heart and remove the choir parts?
You mean for Richard to do this as new tracks or for fans to do it using modern technology? Richard would never do it otherwise they’d sound like the work leads they are, which would defeat the point of their release. Imagine if he’d released the unsweetened version of Honolulu City Lights on the Lovelines album :laugh:
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I think VOTH is way better than MIA. The two worst tracks on VOTH for me are “Now” and “Make Believe”. The stand-out tracks are “Prime Time Love”, “Your Baby” And “Sailing On The Tide”.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
I think VOTH is way better than MIA. The two worst tracks on VOTH for me are “Now” and “Make Believe”. The stand-out tracks are “Prime Time Love”, “Your Baby” And “Sailing On The Tide”.
I agree completely with your worst and likely said as much earlier. "Now", is elevator fare with an uncharacteristically weak (as in physically, not technically) Karen vocal that was all wrong for them and "Make Believe" is vastly superior on Karen's solo album. My standout is "Ordinary Fool". That tune alone justifies the existence of the whole album. Had we not gotten it, this tune would just have languished in the vaults.

Ed
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
I agree completely with your worst and likely said as much earlier. "Now", is elevator fare with an uncharacteristically weak (as in physically, not technically) Karen vocal that was all wrong for them and "Make Believe" is vastly superior on Karen's solo album. My standout is "Ordinary Fool". That tune alone justifies the existence of the whole album. Had we not gotten it, this tune would just have languished in the vaults.

Ed
It's astonishing to think that 'Ordinary Fool' might never have seen the light of day. It's better than any track on A Kind of Hush, Passage or Made in America. I guess sometimes the artists are too close to the material to always see what a gem is staring them in the face.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
My standout is "Ordinary Fool". That tune alone justifies the existence of the whole album. Had we not gotten it, this tune would just have languished in the vaults.
It's astonishing to think that 'Ordinary Fool' might never have seen the light of day. It's better than any track on A Kind of Hush, Passage or Made in America. I guess sometimes the artists are too close to the material to always see what a gem is staring them in the face.
It's ironic to think that we may have only got this track as a result of Karen passing away.
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
It's ironic to think that we may have only got this track as a result of Karen passing away.
It's a bittersweet thought and I'm sure is also true of most of the other outtakes that were released after 1983. 'Ordinary Fool' had been hanging around since 1976, so it seems like it had been filed away and wasn't in contention for inclusion on any albums they recorded thereafter (even if these albums would have benefited enormously from its inclusion).

Maybe it might have cropped up on a later box set, but only if their later profile and commerical standing had been sufficient for this to happen, and that wouldn't have been a given.
 
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