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

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  • ***** (BEST)

    Votes: 17 20.5%
  • ****

    Votes: 27 32.5%
  • ***

    Votes: 31 37.3%
  • **

    Votes: 7 8.4%
  • *

    Votes: 1 1.2%

  • Total voters
    83

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
After listening again to "I Won't Last a Day Without You" due to the Williams / Nichols discussion (and I stand by my vote for "Begun"), a few songs later VoTH came on. What a great album. Warm, rich, varied, and Karen's vocals upfront where they belong. Nice arrangements too. It's amazing what Richard accomplished in the midst of grieving...
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
In regards to the song "Two Lives", according to the liner notes of the Japanese Anthology CD,
this is a Work Lead. (Presumably a one-take version, then?)
Awesome:
And, one can only speculate as to how it could have turned out if completed for the MIA album.
The song is a diamond-in-the-rough!
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
In regards to the song "Two Lives", according to the liner notes of the Japanese Anthology CD,
this is a Work Lead. (Presumably a one-take version, then?)
Awesome:
And, one can only speculate as to how it could have turned out if completed for the MIA album.
The song is a diamond-in-the-rough!
Yeah it was a work lead :). Your description 'diamond in the rough' is a perfect one. The vocal is ok, but the OK Chorale treatment just drags it down. Would love to hear her have another go at the vocal to really perfect it and see how it would have been either stripped back or with their own backing vocals.
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
I've always loved 'Two Lives'. It's my favorite along with 'Your Baby Doesn't Love You Anymore', from VOTH. 'Two Lives' lets us hear a very different side of Karen with more of a rock-edged approach. And the drums are awesome. I don't really hear too much of the OK Chorale, which is OK with me. :) Sorry, couldn't help myself.
 

mr J.

Active Member
Why the Peter Knight treatment? Exactly when (month) were the vocals recorded?
A beautiful song, though.
"Look To Your Dreams" was recorded in Spring 1978.

Richard wanted to use a full orchestra for the track-and Peter Knight was asked to chart the arrangement.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Well, while ruminating about this album, which (despite its lingering 1983 sadness) is actually
a rather good album:
I wonder (in Karen's mind?) how she felt about re-recording "Make Believe It's Your First Time" (during the MIA sessions),
after the solo album was claimed to have "no hits" on it.
(Even then, the song was subsequently omitted from MIA ).
I wonder if her 'take' on the solo album is also a one-take vocal?
She sings both versions stunningly, but I am (now) gravitating to the Solo version as definitive.
(And, was not the solo photo of Karen then used as VOH Cover? ).
But, would love to hear a stripped-down version of the later, if only to get rid of the Chorale drowning her out!
Just some thoughts.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Alongside my previous thoughts, I might append:
On the Sweet Memory "At Last", we have this sequencing of songs,
5. Now 6. (I'm Caught Between) Goodbye and I Love You 7. We've Only Just Begun
That is, vocals from (5) April 1982, (6) early 1975, (7) July/August 1970.
Arrangements from (5) 1982, (6) 1975, (7) 1970.

The evolutionary progression of the music is quite startling to listen to.
At, least, it is to me.
By 1982, the vocals are much higher, the arrangements much less forceful.
Am I imagining this progression in light of hindsight?

 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
This album, has always been a mixed blessing for me to listen to.
I am forever grateful that Richard Carpenter saw fit to finish it in 1983, under such duress.
I applaud him for that, as with his continuance of Carpenters' musical legacy.
It was difficult to listen to in October 1983, as it was this morning, August 2014.
Psychologically, and especially with, "At The End of A Song" and "Look To Your Dreams",
this is a tough album to enjoy.( That is, the kind of enjoyment as was felt in the halcyon 1970's.)
Without the aforementioned psychological baggage, it does capture some of the earlier Carpenters' brilliance.
And, moving beyond the purely psychological, it is a ripe musical pointer to " What might have been.."
 

1979lee

Member
One of my fav' c's lp's.
about 20 years ago. i was 15.
i got "voth" lp at this record store for $3.00 us.
i wore that vinyl out!
got the cd new for $15 (still have both)
now......just kills me.
at the end of a song pure butta!
 

ullalume

Well-Known Member
At The End Of A Song was poignant for me then (1983) and still gets me now. One of Karen's finest in my opinion.
Yeah, I've always liked it. I remember reading how Karen confided to Levenkron that she felt empty after a live performance. You can totally imagine her discussing this with Richard and Bettis, and them weaving it into this sweet little ballad. It would have been a nice track for MIA (with the duos background vocals, obvs.)
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Regarding the song "Now",
at 58 seconds into the song there is a sound
that has always grated on my ears, I believe it
is a guitar string (squeaking?).
Does anyone else hear this sound in the recording?
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Regarding the song "Now",
at 58 seconds into the song there is a sound
that has always grated on my ears, I believe it
is a guitar string (squeaking?).
Does anyone else hear this sound in the recording?
Yeah, it's a guitar string. I'd never noticed it before now :)
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
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.
I believe Richard asked for a bridge to be added to "Make Believe..." for Carpenters to record. It didn't have one originally, hence the reason Karen recorded her solo version without it.

Ed
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I believe Richard asked for a bridge to be added to "Make Believe..." for Carpenters to record. It didn't have one originally, hence the reason Karen recorded her solo version without it.
Same thing applies to 'I Won't Last A Day Without You' - that didn't have a bridge either until Karen asked Paul Williams to write one for their version.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Same thing applies to 'I Won't Last A Day Without You' - that didn't have a bridge either until Karen asked Paul Williams to write one for their version.
In both cases, Richard was absolutely right. "I Won't..."'s bridge is absolutely gorgeous and it adds so much to the tune. "Make Believe..."'s bridge is a bit clunkier lyrically but I'd love to have heard Karen's solo version with that bridge. I think it would have been irresistible.

Ed
 

Song4uman

Well-Known Member
In both cases, Richard was absolutely right. "I Won't..."'s bridge is absolutely gorgeous and it adds so much to the tune. "Make Believe..."'s bridge is a bit clunkier lyrically but I'd love to have heard Karen's solo version with that bridge. I think it would have been irresistible.

Ed
It seems I remember reading/hearing/seeing somewhere that Paul Willims talked negatively about the added bridge to his song. Or maybe someone else. Can't remember.
 

byline

Active Member
It seems I remember reading/hearing/seeing somewhere that Paul Willims talked negatively about the added bridge to his song. Or maybe someone else. Can't remember.
Roger Nichols is the one quoted in Randy Schmidt's book, Little Girl Blue (excerpt from page 90):

Roger Nichols and Paul Williams considered "I Won't Last a Day Without You" to be a complete song with just two verses and a chorus, just as they submitted it to the Carpenters on a demo in 1971. They struggled to honor Karen's last-minute request for an additional bridge and third verse. "We finally worked it out and went in and did the demo the day before they recorded it," Nichols recalls. "They were screaming at us to get it to them and were upset with us because they were right down to the wire in the studio. What bothered me was that I heard Richard never listened to the demo. He just looked at the sheet music and started changing it. It was kind of a sore point with me because he changed the melody in the bridge and the chord structure. After that, other people heard our version of the song – like Barbra Streisand and Diana Ross – and they all recorded the version as we had written it. I always felt that if the Carpenters had cut a better bridge it would have been a bigger song for them."​
 

Song4uman

Well-Known Member
Roger Nichols is the one quoted in Randy Schmidt's book, Little Girl Blue (excerpt from page 90):

Roger Nichols and Paul Williams considered "I Won't Last a Day Without You" to be a complete song with just two verses and a chorus, just as they submitted it to the Carpenters on a demo in 1971. They struggled to honor Karen's last-minute request for an additional bridge and third verse. "We finally worked it out and went in and did the demo the day before they recorded it," Nichols recalls. "They were screaming at us to get it to them and were upset with us because they were right down to the wire in the studio. What bothered me was that I heard Richard never listened to the demo. He just looked at the sheet music and started changing it. It was kind of a sore point with me because he changed the melody in the bridge and the chord structure. After that, other people heard our version of the song – like Barbra Streisand and Diana Ross – and they all recorded the version as we had written it. I always felt that if the Carpenters had cut a better bridge it would have been a bigger song for them."​
Thank you. I knew I had read it somewhere. Sorry Randy Schmidt that I forgot it was in your book.. :)
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Roger Nichols is the one quoted in Randy Schmidt's book, Little Girl Blue (excerpt from page 90):

Roger Nichols and Paul Williams considered "I Won't Last a Day Without You" to be a complete song with just two verses and a chorus, just as they submitted it to the Carpenters on a demo in 1971. They struggled to honor Karen's last-minute request for an additional bridge and third verse. "We finally worked it out and went in and did the demo the day before they recorded it," Nichols recalls. "They were screaming at us to get it to them and were upset with us because they were right down to the wire in the studio. What bothered me was that I heard Richard never listened to the demo. He just looked at the sheet music and started changing it. It was kind of a sore point with me because he changed the melody in the bridge and the chord structure. After that, other people heard our version of the song – like Barbra Streisand and Diana Ross – and they all recorded the version as we had written it. I always felt that if the Carpenters had cut a better bridge it would have been a bigger song for them."​
I hope, at some point, Roger heard Carpenters version of it and learned to love it. It really is something. Richard was totally right with the bridge. Karen was right to request it too. It sounds incredible. The lyric is just great and Karen's delivery of it is fabulous. If Nichols/Williams still don't like it, I don't know what to say.

Ed
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Any word on Paul Williams feelings regarding their (outstanding)
rendition of "Ordinary Fool" ?
(NB: Why was that song not included on the Hush album?).
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Any word on Paul Williams feelings regarding their (outstanding)
rendition of "Ordinary Fool" ?
(NB: Why was that song not included on the Hush album?).
Your guess is as good as mine, it's far superior to anything from that album. I recall a comment by Richard about this and other outtakes, saying that if Karen had lived, they would have remained unreleased and that they would have moved on to other material and not given these tracks another thought. This is the one song that nearly got away. It's one of her finest, bluesiest performances.
 
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