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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. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Not much really to add to all of the insightful commentary regarding Voice Of The Heart,
    except to say,as I re-listened today to the Japan LP pressing, that there are some definite positives on this album,
    especially when placed in comparison to Made in America.
    The vocals are much stronger than MIA, Karen's use of her lower register is more often prominent on VOH.
    Ordinary Fool (first rate), Your'e Enough, Look to Your Dreams, Now, At the End of A Song : all strong ballads, I believe.
    Upbeat tunes, Sailing on the tide & Prime Time Love, are very good.
    Then, Your Baby Doesn't Love You Anymore, has sparks of creativity and depth,very good use of drums.
    Overall, the use of saxophone and drums, throughout the LP is excellent.
    Excepting the (over)use of choir, this is a very good album to my ears.
    1979lee likes this.
  2. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I agree GaryAlan!
  3. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I listened to this again today- sandwiched between A Kind of Hush and Made in America. It's a pretty powerful album. It has much more "bite" than the other two. Ordinary Fool and Your Baby continue to impress me as much as anything the duo ever did earlier.
  4. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    My album listening for today has been the Japanese LP Superdisc 1977, which so far has all the original mixes prior.
  5. Natesmommy77

    Natesmommy77 Active Member

    I remember hearing their music around the house from a very young age as my parents had an eclectic taste in music (I liken it to how Richard describes Harold's taste in music…it ran the gamut. My parents grew up in the same generation as K&R. My dad came along a few weeks after K on 4/15/50 and mom the next year in 1951). But like Randy Schmidt, I trace my true and utter fascination with Karen's voice back to the airing of "The Karen Carpenter Story" on 1/1/89. I remember that day like it was yesterday for more reasons than the movie that night. I was 11.5 and let's just say that it was a sort-of, coming-of-age kind of day for me and I'll leave it at that. :wink: But I remember being at a New Year's Day party with my sister (8.5 years my senior) and parents and we were both begging them to leave so we could get home to see the movie. Even at 11.5 and only knowing the voice from the popular songs and knowing she had died when I was in kindergarten and remembering…even then, I kept thinking after the movie was over that something just didn't add up. I wasn't satisfied. Little did I know it'd be 21 years later with the release of "LGB" before I was as probably sated on the subject as I'll/we'll ever be. I digress, I have collected all of the original albums and am into collecting the remixes, etc now. There are some other obscurities I've collected over the years and some I still would like to. *cough* The Fan Club Belt Buckle *cough* :goodie:

    Having said all of this, I've had the "Voice Of The Heart" album now for years and never listened. Kinda saving something in a way. Sure, I'd heard "Now", but I avoided the others (other than "Make Believe..." and "Your Baby…"). I finally cracked it open the other day. I have to say that my heart goes out to the older fans who were old enough to remember living through her death. I cannot imagine what it would've been like to go to the store to buy this album.

    The songs that I'm entranced the most by are "Two Lives" and "Ordinary Fool". "Two Lives" pulls at my heart strings so hard it almost brings me to tears. There are others of theirs that have this effect too. And "Ordinary Fool"…gosh, I can't say enough for this song. If I was going to try and say anything to someone about Karen Carpenter who didn't know her at all or only knew their hits, I think I would direct them straight to "Ordinary Fool". Don't pass GO, don't collect $200. This song embodies Karen's voice at its best and the way she effortlessly delivered a song. Despite having one of the greatest voices of our time, Karen knew how to deliver a song like no other. Controlled and oh so emotive. She never danced all over a note like a lot of singers think they have to do (and it drives me INSANE). It was worth the wait. It's bittersweet, but it was worth taking the plunge. :love:

    I do have a question. "Make Believe…", obviously Richard rearranged it. But Karen didn't re-record the vocals, right? I mean, why did Richard include her saying, "Ugh, I've got to get into a serious mood here" with her finger nails clicking the mic? I do enjoy hearing those outtakes, but why put this on the album? Was this because he was rushed or because of the perceived "raciness" of the song?

    The only song I ever questioned on her solo album (which is an unreleased track) insofar as it being more sexually overt than anything the Carpenters ever did was "Love Makin' Love To You" (which I love by the way). After they'd recorded and released "I Believe You" in 1978 (love it too), I don't see anything wrong with the others…especially "Make Believe…". :shrug: Just curious for the inclusion of the blurb at the beginning.
    BarryT60, 1979lee and Timmerman like this.
  6. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I distinctly recall that the radio station, here, WDBO ,played Ordinary Fool as their first off of the LP.
    The very second that the song ended I went out and purchased the LP.
    They then played Make Believe the next hour, interspersed with kind words about Karen.
    The album was very difficult to listen to through its entirety without shedding tears.
    How Richard managed it, as far as finishing up in the recording studio, I will never understand.
    It had to be emotionally wrenching.
    I seldom think of that day,sometime in October 1983, spinning that record,with the Jacket photo of Karen
    staring out at me . Just too sad.
    1979lee and Natesmommy77 like this.
  7. ullalume

    ullalume Well-Known Member

    A moment where I'm proud of being a Brit. VOTH got to No 6 on the UK chart with no singles. .. .pretty special
  8. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Well, you can be proud of much more, as Passage and Made in America both went to #12.
    Quite frankly, I'm proud for you, and of the good taste that the British seem to possess!
    Where the later albums faltered on the US charts, they made up for on the foreign charts.
    Rather interesting to speculate upon.
  9. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Hi Amy

    Richard went back to the drawing board for the Carpenters' version of this song. Karen's vocal is a completely new take. The pace of the song is slightly slower, and the vocal inflections in her voice are different to the solo version (she holds some notes longer, changes the pronuniciation of some words etc).

  10. Natesmommy77

    Natesmommy77 Active Member


    Thank you for clearing this up for me. I kept thinking I heard changes in the length of the notes she was holding (ie they were longer), but then I thought, "Nah, I'm imagining it."

    As cute as it is and I do love hearing things like that, why include her little blurb at the beginning though about needing to get into a serious mood? Do you think that's the only take he had?

  11. Doesn't the solo version also omit this verse: "So close your eyes and hold me close / Let our hearts pretend / That love is ours to share tonight / And it might never end".
  12. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Richard was asked about the little spoken intro once (I think in a Fans Ask when he was running that on his website) - he didn't explain why it was there or whether there could have been a better take; my guess is it's something she may have once said while at the mic preparing to lay down a work lead and he thought it would be nice to put it in for posterity. I've never liked it - she sounds like she's drunk when she says it lol. Also the little 'clapping' noise after she says it is actually a 'cheek pop'. Richard explain it was a little gimmick thing they used to do together. Pinch your cheek with your thumb and forefinger and pull your cheek in and out quickly - that's what that noise is. Still sounds more like she's clapping to me :laugh:

    That's right, the solo version doesn't have the bridge.
    HAPPYONE and Natesmommy77 like this.
  13. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Natesmommy77 likes this.
  14. Natesmommy77

    Natesmommy77 Active Member


    Always a wealth of knowledge you are. Thank you, sir. :)

    I vaguely remember this same conversation on LeadSister 100 years ago. I cracked up about your "drunk" comment. :biglaugh: I wonder why she sounds so muffled? Did she step away from the mic a ways and say it? I dunno. Kinda sounds like she's got cotton in her mouth too. Something. Just odd because it's strange sounding and then you think the same mic is about the pic up on the best voice there ever was and every nuance of it.

    And if you think I haven't been sitting here with my thumb and forefinger flapping the crap out of my cheeks to try and remotely mimic that sound, then you're wrong. Damn my face hurts now! :biglaugh: That's hilarious they had that though and it's cute learning about it. Thank you for sharing it.


    Edited to say: I have just re-listed to the MBIYFT intro from VOTH about 10-15 times in a row and I can see where the cheek flap would've made that kind of sound in the mic especially if she wasn't right on top of it. Having said that, I may be hard-pressed to hear my grandchildren in 20-25 years. That was loud. Ooooh. LOL.
  15. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    I think the opening blurb makes the track on VOTH that much more special! It shows Karen's personality, and I couldn't be happier that we have it.
    BarryT60, 1979lee and aaflyer98 like this.
  16. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    And, only today, after all of this elapsed time, did I realize (i.e., reading the liner notes) that Look To Your Dreams was
    arranged by Peter Knight.
    This song, thus, has quite an interesting history.
    1974: Karen requests Richard and John to write a cross between a standard and a show tune.
    1978: Song is finally recorded. (No mention in the Fan Club Newsletters regarding its recording-- in 1978).
    Karen was quite happy with "the completed form" of the song --a favorite. (CFCN#82,Nov 1984)
    1983:Remains unreleased until 1983, because Richard felt the song was not contemporary enough.
    Why the Peter Knight treatment? Exactly when (month) were the vocals recorded?
    A beautiful song, though.
  17. MissK

    MissK Active Member

    Why the Peter Knight treatment? Exactly when (month) were the vocals recorded?
    A beautiful song, though.[/QUOTE]

    It's my understanding that PK was asked to do the arrangement for this when he was in LA working on the arrangements for the Christmas Portrait album. It's a beautiful song - and arrangement.
    1979lee likes this.
  18. Graeme

    Graeme Active Member

    I always thought Karen was gently slapping her cheeks in a mock attempt to get into that "serious mood". Always like any snippet of talking - even counting in.

    For me the standout track on this album is Two Lives. It tends to get overlooked but it's one of my favourites. The arrangement has an almost Trying To Get The Feeling thing about it (possibly the strings towards the end) and the way Karen tackles the chorus slightly differently each time - it all comes together rather nicely. Not entirely sure about the middle eight or whatever it is you call it (the final "and ever" a bit harsh perhaps) but it's the track I listen to most from the album.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  19. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Two Lives, a vastly underrated gem. (Unfortunately, again, the Chorale spoils the depth of the song).
    Also, from the MIA sessions.
    Often wondered why this song wasn't completed for MIA album.
    Thankfully, a beautiful vocal rendition by Karen; along with a creative drumming arrangement.
    Jamesj75 and LondonRobert like this.
  20. LondonRobert

    LondonRobert Active Member

    Karen's vocals on this track , being from the MIA sessions, sounds , IMHO, so much better than those on MIA. It confirms for me, the fact that her vocals on MIA weren't mixed correctly. I don't think she had lost any vocal capability at all actually - they sound a bit wishy washy because of the way they are mixed. On two lives and other MIA session tracks on lovelines and voice of the heart, they sound brilliant.
    A&M Retro likes this.
  21. Graeme

    Graeme Active Member

    In defence of the perhaps-ok-on-a-Disney-type-track-but-not-not-so-ok-on-a-Carpenters-track Chorale I'd say their use on Two Lives is a bit more subtle and restrained than usual!
  22. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Absolutely spot on! When I think of the tracks on MIA, the only ones where Karen's vocals 'jump out' at me are 'Touch Me When We're Dancing' and 'When You're Gone'. Karen's vocals on the rest of the tracks just don't have the presence of the other songs from the same sessions, like 'Two Lives' and 'The Uninvited Guest'.
    A&M Retro and LondonRobert like this.
  23. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I couldn't agree more. I've always said and will always maintain that Karen chose to sing the way she did during the MIA sessions. It was nothing to do with her physical condition, and everything to do with the style she was going after in 1980-1981. All you have to do is listen to 'Prime Time Love' and 'At The End Of A Song'. THAT'S the old Karen loud and clear, and it was recorded at the same time as 'Those Good Old Dreams' and 'Strength of a Woman', which are sung whispery and quiet. It sounds like two different singers. She picked the style (and volume) for each song she sang.

    As Karen herself stated to Paul Grein in an interview for Billboard in 1981: "I'm just a real easy going singer. I don't push. Even if I screamed, I couldn't sing as loud as some people. I just open my mouth and thank God it's there".
    1979lee likes this.
  24. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    ^^ And aren't we all grateful! :)
    BarryT60, 1979lee and A&M Retro like this.
  25. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    Yes, we are. :)
    BarryT60 and 1979lee like this.

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