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

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 19 20.2%
  • ****

    Votes: 31 33.0%
  • ***

    Votes: 35 37.2%
  • **

    Votes: 7 7.4%
  • *

    Votes: 2 2.1%

  • Total voters
    94

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^Well, I went back and listened to Ordinary Fool,
I do not see where the 15sec instrumental opening adds anything to the song,
the gravitas of the song is set with Karen's opening vocal.
Sorry, that is how I hear it. No offense to Richard Carpenter intended.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
^^Well, I went back and listened to Ordinary Fool,
I do not see where the 15sec instrumental opening adds anything to the song,
the gravitas of the song is set with Karen's opening vocal.
Sorry, that is how I hear it. No offense to Richard Carpenter intended.
Oh I think that opening sets the atmosphere exquisitely, it might be my favorite opening to any Carpenters song.
 

Geographer

Well-Known Member
Oh I think that opening sets the atmosphere exquisitely, it might be my favorite opening to any Carpenters song.
I quite agree. I think the song is perfect as it is. Using Karen's "gravitas" in an opening vocal, one could argue that removing the instrumental intro to any of their songs. How about removing the instrumental openings from, let's say, Superstar? For All We Know? Close to You (who needs that pesky piano riff, anyway, when you have Karen's first note to start it off)? We've Only Just Begun (that oboe just keeps us from hearing Karen that much longer)? And what's the point of the drum opening to Only Yesterday? I could go on and on...but I won't.

That evil, rascally Richard! I bet Agnes put him up to putting an instrumental opening to Ordinary Fool!
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^Please do not twist what I am proposing. I NEVER intended anything NEGATIVE in my proposal.

Memorable "instrumental openings" would encompass this list:
Superstar (26 sec opening)
Only Yesterday (initial drums. three seconds long)
Ticket To Ride (piano/strings/piano, 35 seconds long).
Close To You (opening piano)
We've Only Just Begun (oboe ? and keyboards 0-12 sec "calling" out the melody line )
For All We Know (oboe, descending bass line)
Top of the World (guitar, piano)
Rainy Days and Mondays (harmonica)
Solitaire (piano begins, 8 seconds in duration)
Touch Me When We're Dancing
Sing (flute, then horns)
Yesterday Once More (three bars of piano)
Please Mr. Postman (initial drums, about one second)
Bless The Beasts and Children (soundtrack version)
Sweet, Sweet, Smile (a really nice "country-fied" opening)
I Need To Be In Love (the long version: piano 0-12s, then flute and strings 13-28 sec).
Jambalaya (0-12 sec long intro, flute and guitar).
1974 Santa Claus is Comin' to Town


Brilliant "cold" starts (song begins with Karen's vocal):
Hurting Each Other
Goodbye To Love
Let Me Be The One
Eve (Karen and piano simultaneously).
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Interestingly enough, one of the writers (Danny Ironstone) of the song
Prime Time Love
has nice things to say about how Richard and Karen interpreted the song.
Ironstone says: "Richard did a wonderful job and I am forever grateful."
I agree.

For the record:
the initial 16 seconds here is one of the few Carpenters' songs with Richard providing his vocals.
This works quite well.
I reiterate: I love the album
Voice of the Heart.

Do You Hear What I Hear is another where Richard's vocals are instrumental to the beginning of a Carpenters' song.

If anyone misinterprets my musings regarding the "intros" to Carpenters' songs,
I only ask your indulgence-- not your acceptance of changes I muse about.
I have been touting Richard's accomplishments as a great arranger since becoming a Carpenters fan in the 1970's
so, my sentiment in that regard is not about to change.
 

Geographer

Well-Known Member
If anyone misinterprets my musings regarding the "intros" to Carpenters' songs,
I only ask your indulgence-- not your acceptance of changes I muse about.
I have been touting Richard's accomplishments as a great arranger since becoming a Carpenters fan in the 1970's
so, my sentiment in that regard is not about to change.
Just ribbing you, GaryAlan! Your reputation as a devoted fan is still intact! ...and I rarely miss an opportunity to point out the absurdity of the Richard haters (not you, but your observation provided me an opening...couldn't resist).
 
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GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^Thanks !
I am a strange duck...some will recall that I was not really content with the recent RPO album,
but, even there, it has its moments (example: I love what RC did with Postman).
That is one of the things I like to point out to non-Carpenters' fans,
even if you think the songs are trivial pop music or easy listening or Muzak (obviously, not I),
each song has something to recommend it (I love the congas in I Believe You, for example).
I realize it is all too easy to become an armchair quarterback and I do not pretend for a moment that any
of the Carpenters' songs was ever "easy" for Richard to arrange (especially after February 4th, 1983).
I do like the instrumental opening of
Rainbow Connection, which puts me in another smallish group of people !
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
I like the opening of Rainbow Connection. I can understand it’s criticism of some with the child like piano used, but is Kermit the frog not a child’s attraction?
Not really, no, he wasn't - not at the time. The beauty of the Muppets as Jim Henson envisioned them is that those that weren't used by Sesame Street/CTW were for adults more than they were for kids. The jokes, the guests stars on "The Muppet Show", etc - all of that was geared toward adults. The songs in the movie are largely geared for adults too, though kids like me back then certain did love all of it. We liked it all - even if we didn't understand it all.

My point in saying all of that is that Richard's arrangement feels really kiddie and kitschy. The toy piano you mentioned is silly and unnecessary. Karen sings it with a "fairy godmother" kind of quality that just totally misses. A retrospective and lovely lyric like that which Paul Williams came up with deserves far better. Further, the tune was written for Kermit's phrasing and mannerisms. You can't just go in and do it; the melody has to be re-addressed to some extent. That didn't happen here as Karen didn't like the tune and may not have wanted to bother. Words are simply chopped off to make the melody flow better and, for my ears, that's not the answer as the impact of the lyric is hindered by simply chopping off inconvenient words.

I won't mention the chorale. I know this is a work lead and there was no choice.... :wink:

Ed
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
A retrospective and lovely lyric like that which Paul Williams came up with deserves far better. Further, the tune was written for Kermit's phrasing and mannerisms. You can't just go in and do it; the melody has to be re-addressed to some extent. That didn't happen here as Karen didn't like the tune and may not have wanted to bother. Words are simply chopped off to make the melody flow better and, for my ears, that's not the answer as the impact of the lyric is hindered by simply chopping off inconvenient words.
Having read Paul Williams’ comments about their version, this is a rare instance where I believe he really didn’t like what they did with the song...but out of respect to both Richard and Karen toned his comments down.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Having read Paul Williams’ comments about their version, this is one instance where I believe he really didn’t like what they did with the track...but out of respect to both Richard and Karen toned his comments down.
I've never seen his comments. Do you remember them?

Ed
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
Not really, no, he wasn't - not at the time. The beauty of the Muppets as Jim Henson envisioned them is that those that weren't used by Sesame Street/CTW were for adults more than they were for kids. The jokes, the guests stars on "The Muppet Show", etc - all of that was geared toward adults. The songs in the movie are largely geared for adults too, though kids like me back then certain did love all of it. We liked it all - even if we didn't understand it all.

My point in saying all of that is that Richard's arrangement feels really kiddie and kitschy. The toy piano you mentioned is silly and unnecessary. Karen sings it with a "fairy godmother" kind of quality that just totally misses. A retrospective and lovely lyric like that which Paul Williams came up with deserves far better. Further, the tune was written for Kermit's phrasing and mannerisms. You can't just go in and do it; the melody has to be re-addressed to some extent. That didn't happen here as Karen didn't like the tune and may not have wanted to bother. Words are simply chopped off to make the melody flow better and, for my ears, that's not the answer as the impact of the lyric is hindered by simply chopping off inconvenient words.

I won't mention the chorale. I know this is a work lead and there was no choice.... :wink:

Ed
I know I’m in the minority, but I like it and loved hearing it on its release. I never cared for the song until I heard this version. It is a little choppy in general as Kermit sang as you mentioned and that kept me from liking it back in the day. The first time I wanted to listen to the entire song was when I heard Karen sing it. The vocal has to be really good for me to like it and Karen sells every time. If I was the puppet doing the show, then perhaps I would like it, but it never stood outside just a puppet show song for me until Karen’s release. Now, I see it’s magic.
As I said, I understand your perspective and why you have it, I just don’t share it. Is it my favorite, no, but I listen to it when I play the album and sometimes even repeat it.
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
I know I’m in the minority, but I like it and loved hearing it on its release. I never cared for the song until I heard this version. It is a little choppy in general as Kermit sang as you mentioned and that kept me from liking it back in the day. The first time I wanted to listen to the entire song was when I heard Karen sing it. The vocal has to be really good for me to like it and Karen sells every time. If I was the puppet doing the show, then perhaps I would like it, but it never stood outside just a puppet show song for me until Karen’s release. Now, I see it’s magic.
As I said, I understand your perspective and why you have it, I just don’t share it. Is it my favorite, no, but I listen to it when I play the album and sometimes even repeat it.
I’m with you, CraigGA. I think it’s one of the best (if not THE best) lead vocals from the MIA sessions. Karen sounds like KAREN and she’s not singing with the whispery style as she did on so many songs from that period. While she herself didn’t like the arrangement (it is quite sappy), her VOICE saves the day. If anybody questions Karen’s vocal savvy during this period, all they have to do is listen to that song. Her voice was still outstanding.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
I’m with you, CraigGA. I think it’s one of the best (if not THE best) lead vocals from the MIA sessions. Karen sounds like KAREN and she’s not singing with the whispery style as she did on so many songs from that period. While she herself didn’t like the arrangement (it is quite sappy), her VOICE saves the day. If anybody questions Karen’s vocal savvy during this period, all they have to do is listen to that song. Her voice was still outstanding.
I totally agree that she actually sounds like herself and not like a cog in a machine like she does on the rest of "MIA". In fact, on the outtakes we got from "Lovelines", she sounds clear and unmuffled. It's only on "MIA" itself that she's mostly trapped in the production of the songs.

Ed
 

Chris May

Resident 'Carpenterologist'
Thread Starter
Staff member
Moderator
Wow. I'd LOVE to hear this! Whatever work was involved in bringing it up to scratch for release I'm sure could be discerned by comparing the two versions.
They actually began work on the track to Sailing On The Tide as early as February of '75, with the bulk of it being completed in March and April of '77. :)
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
The song
Your Baby Doesn't Love You Anymore
has recently been discussed on another thread. It's deficiencies have been pointed out there.
It deserves emphasizing that this is a WORK LEAD by Karen.
Also, the song was completed in 1983.
Granted, there are some rough edges to the song--how could there not be ? It is a WORK LEAD.
Keep in mind, this is a very difficult song to sing (I think I hear the first breather between notes at 44sec).
The song begins low (in key) and slow (in beat) and then builds to a higher key and faster beat (the chorus--"YBDLYA").
Then the conclusion sorta remains in a higher key (2:57 onward).
Is it the perfect song ? Perhaps not. It is quite "rangy."
But, it shows how Karen --during a WORK LEAD-- was able to move between highs and lows, slow and fast.
A nice example of a rough cut, which-- had it been finished in its own time--
provides a vehicle for Karen to stretch her vocals.
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
One gets a whiff of Hurting Each Other, thanks to the same songwriter (I believe). The arrangement is built very similarly. The former is much better but you see the strengths of it enough in the latter.
Different writers I think, but both were originally recorded by Ruby and the Romantics (who also had the original hit with 'Our Day Will Come', so Richard and Karen covered them three times), so perhaps that would explain the slight similarity.

Karen does sound a little strained in the chorus (perhaps this is something they'd have redone had the song been completed in her lifetime), but overall a very nice performance with the 'basement' vocal much in evidence.

I'd agree entirely that there is at least a flavour of the depth and drama of some of their earlier songs in 'Your Baby...' which was lacking from much of what they recorded in the Made in America sessions - and it's all the better for it.
 
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