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Anyone read this?

crescentnoon

Active Member
Thanks for the responses about the book 'Why Karen Carpenter Matters'. I will pass on this one. Like that other book I think titled 'Some Kind of Lonely Clown', it doesn't seem like it offers much of anything for the already informed fan.
 

crescentnoon

Active Member
This guy reviews Billboard Number 1 records. You won't be happy with what he mostly says about Carpenters, but he does admit Karen has a great voice. Go here.
This was fun to read. Lots of comments on there, too. It would be great if they reviewed top 3 records... Some better ones in there for Carpenters than 'Please Mister Postman'.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
10 Best Country Christmas Songs to Hear Now: Keith Urban, Kacey Musgraves

"Brandy Clark, “Merry Christmas Darling”
Brandy Clark brings out the melancholic ache in this holiday staple.
The thick harmonies during the song’s final stretch nod to the Carpenters, who first released “Merry Christmas Darling” in 1970,
while the electric guitar — played with expert restraint by Charlie Worsham — cranks up the soul without clouding the sorrow."

Listen and read here:
10 Best Country Christmas Songs to Hear Now: Keith Urban, Kacey Musgraves
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
10 Best Country Christmas Songs to Hear Now: Keith Urban, Kacey Musgraves

"Brandy Clark, “Merry Christmas Darling”
Brandy Clark brings out the melancholic ache in this holiday staple.
The thick harmonies during the song’s final stretch nod to the Carpenters, who first released “Merry Christmas Darling” in 1970,
while the electric guitar — played with expert restraint by Charlie Worsham — cranks up the soul without clouding the sorrow."

Listen and read here:
10 Best Country Christmas Songs to Hear Now: Keith Urban, Kacey Musgraves
It’s one of the more decent versions but still does not surpass the 1970 version of Karen's vocal interpretation or Richards arrangement. Plus, the Carpenters not only first released it but Richard created and wrote the music. Where is a critics responsibility to facts?
 

goodjeans

Well-Known Member
Carpenters Shine in Tarrytown Concert
By John Rockwell
  • May 21, 1975 Rolling Stone Magazine

The Carpenters—Karen, who sings, and Richard, her brother, who plays keyboards, composes, arranges and conducts—have never been very big in Manhattan, at least in concert. Their records sell enormously all over the world, however, and presumably they sell here, too. But apart from a tepidly received Carnegie Hall date in 1971, they have stuck to semiannual visits to the suburbs, most recently at the new West‐ Chester Premier Theater in Tarrytown, N. Y., where they opened Monday for a week.
Richard Carpenter explains this pattern by stories of being ripped off in Manhattan hotels and troubles with endless layers of overlapping unions here. But one imagines the main explanation is part hard reality and part hurt feelings.
The Carpenters are still in their mid‐20's and use an electric backup quintet, but their appeal is middle‐of‐the‐road rather than rock. They sing pretty music prettily, even the rock and pop standards they appropriate into their repertory, and they project an image so clean that it glistens. All of which raises the hackles of the rock press in the same way that John Denver does.
But like Mr. Denver, the Carpenters have much to recommend them as long as one accepts the bland premise of their act, and like him they represent a rather interesting counter current within the mainstream of middle‐of‐the road music.
Much adult pop music (Tom Jones, etc.) is based on a neooperatic notion of extroverted musical rhetoric. Singers, as Henry Pleasants has suggested, are still trying to project as if the microphone weren't there and rouse the feelings of an audience that can only be roused by signs of actual physical exertion.
The Carpenters come out of a post folk tradition that takes the microphone for granted'Cool, unruffled and relaxed, they slip through their songs like fish, Karen's sweet soprano gliding with an easy rhythmicality through Richard's tasteful arrangements.

  • Monday's show offered a medley of greatest hits, a Burt Bacharach medley and a pop rock medley from 1957 through 1964—years perfectly picked to express their relation to rock, post‐Presley and pre‐Beatles. There are flaws: Karen has no business behind a drum kit, and the between ‐ songs patter sounds as if emitted by androids. But of its type, this is first‐class contemporary pop entertainment.



  • I saw them twice at the Valley Forge Music Fair in the Spring of '75.
Probably a week or two before(?) this show.
 

Yamaguchi

Member
Carpenters Shine in Tarrytown Concert
By John Rockwell
  • May 21, 1975 Rolling Stone Magazine

The Carpenters—Karen, who sings, and Richard, her brother, who plays keyboards, composes, arranges and conducts—have never been very big in Manhattan, at least in concert. Their records sell enormously all over the world, however, and presumably they sell here, too. But apart from a tepidly received Carnegie Hall date in 1971, they have stuck to semiannual visits to the suburbs, most recently at the new West‐ Chester Premier Theater in Tarrytown, N. Y., where they opened Monday for a week.
Richard Carpenter explains this pattern by stories of being ripped off in Manhattan hotels and troubles with endless layers of overlapping unions here. But one imagines the main explanation is part hard reality and part hurt feelings.
The Carpenters are still in their mid‐20's and use an electric backup quintet, but their appeal is middle‐of‐the‐road rather than rock. They sing pretty music prettily, even the rock and pop standards they appropriate into their repertory, and they project an image so clean that it glistens. All of which raises the hackles of the rock press in the same way that John Denver does.
But like Mr. Denver, the Carpenters have much to recommend them as long as one accepts the bland premise of their act, and like him they represent a rather interesting counter current within the mainstream of middle‐of‐the road music.
Much adult pop music (Tom Jones, etc.) is based on a neooperatic notion of extroverted musical rhetoric. Singers, as Henry Pleasants has suggested, are still trying to project as if the microphone weren't there and rouse the feelings of an audience that can only be roused by signs of actual physical exertion.
The Carpenters come out of a post folk tradition that takes the microphone for granted'Cool, unruffled and relaxed, they slip through their songs like fish, Karen's sweet soprano gliding with an easy rhythmicality through Richard's tasteful arrangements.

  • Monday's show offered a medley of greatest hits, a Burt Bacharach medley and a pop rock medley from 1957 through 1964—years perfectly picked to express their relation to rock, post‐Presley and pre‐Beatles. There are flaws: Karen has no business behind a drum kit, and the between ‐ songs patter sounds as if emitted by androids. But of its type, this is first‐class contemporary pop entertainment.



  • I saw them twice at the Valley Forge Music Fair in the Spring of '75.
Probably a week or two before(?) this show.
This Rolling Stone reviewer is less than clueless. He is so musically illiterate that he refers to Karen -- one of the greatest contraltos of 20th Century pop -- as a "sweet soprano"!? I won't even comment on his inept snippet that "Karen has no business behind the drum kit." Buddy Rich, Hal Blaine, the 1975 Playboy poll-voters, etc., etc., would put this clown in his place on that. Rolling Stone's ingrained incapacity to appreciate the Carpenters' musical greatness is demonstrated once again in this feckless article.
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
John Rockwell keeps trying to define pop, rock and middle of the road as if he is giving lessons to his audience and doing his best to keep the Carpenters categorized in middle of the road where their audience of mature adults don’t over exert themselves. I wonder if he was ever there or if his column was prewritten and based on gossip between writers like him. They can’t explain the popularity of sales so all they say is that they sell well as long as they sing where they are most popular. Those backhanded compliments just define the writers own limitations of his craft.
 

Geographer

Well-Known Member
I must agree with the above last couple of posts. Yes, on the first night of the Carp convention last spring, Karen Tongson gave a brief discussion of the book and had brought some for sale. She was autographing copies. I was on the fence because her presentation left me with more questions than answers on what she was trying to communicate in the book. When my wife and I got back to our room at the hotel, I asked her "should I get the book?" She left it up to me and I went back downstairs where there was still a line for purchase of her book with autograph. I decided to buy the book because the title suggested a favorable evaluation of KC and I wanted to support any effort to put KC out there in a good light. She was very cordial to me and we briefly talked as I gave her the money and she autographed my copy. It wasn't until weeks or even a few months after the event that I read the book as I was waiting for my daughter in a hospital waiting room. I must confess, I found the book "bazaar". It's basically a narrative of Tongson's childhood/life and how Karen Carpenter kind of "related" to it all. I wish no ill will towards Karen Tongson. I'm just expressing my own experience. Others might enjoy it, I don't know. It wasn't the compelling read, for example, that I had with Randy Schmidt's Little Girl Blue, which I had a hard time putting down.
I agree with this and had similar thoughts after her discussion and reading; however, I opted not to purchase the book. I already know why Karen Carpenter matters to me...and could have written a book myself, I guess. I saved my money for Randy Schmidt's works which I enjoyed (and enjoy) more.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Yes, on the first night of the Carp convention last spring, Karen Tongson gave a brief discussion of the book and had brought some for sale. She was autographing copies. I was on the fence because her presentation left me with more questions than answers on what she was trying to communicate in the book. When my wife and I got back to our room at the hotel, I asked her "should I get the book?" She left it up to me and I went back downstairs where there was still a line for purchase of her book with autograph. I decided to buy the book because the title suggested a favorable evaluation of KC and I wanted to support any effort to put KC out there in a good light. She was very cordial to me and we briefly talked as I gave her the money and she autographed my copy. It wasn't until weeks or even a few months after the event that I read the book as I was waiting for my daughter in a hospital waiting room. I must confess, I found the book "bazaar". It's basically a narrative of Tongson's childhood/life and how Karen Carpenter kind of "related" to it all.
Yeah...I gave the book a miss for all the reasons you mention here. I got the impression that the book wasn't actually about Karen at all.
 

Yamaguchi

Member
Yeah...I gave the book a miss for all the reasons you mention here. I got the impression that the book wasn't actually about Karen at all.
Agreed. I bought and read the book and was very disappointed. Tongson uses a distortion of Karen's personal history to promote her own agenda, much of it political/sociological. The only really worthwhile element she contributes is documenting how remarkably popular Karen/Carpenters were and still are in the Philippines and the remarkable stature of the song "You" (an album cut in the "Kind of a Hush" LP) in that country. It is a terrific Carpenters song that I had never really noticed until Tongson called it to my attention in the P.I. context. Lea Salonga also does a nice version of "You" in a Carpenters tribute medley.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
1/27/2020 by Paul Grein
Lizzo, Barbra Streisand & 5 More Artists Experienced This Reversal of Fortune at the Grammys
  • 1970: Carpenters " (They Long to Be) Close to You" beat Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" for best contemporary vocal performance by a duo, group or chorus, but S&G prevailed for record of the year.
  • Likely reason: The voters sensed that the majestic "Bridge," the year's longest-running No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, would sweep the top awards, but wanted to find a way to salute and welcome Carpenters, fronted by Karen Carpenter, a one-of-a-kind vocal talent.
  • "Close to You" was their breakthrough single."
 

Rachel

Someone said that time would ease the pain...
Singing Rock Drummers: From the Skins to the Mike - Best Classic Bands

Unique list of drummers: how often do you hear the name Don Brewer or Peter Rivera? Rivera says he used to think he was a drummer who sings. Sounds awfully familiar.

"...leaves us to wonder how much she would have added to her legacy." I know I think about that quite often. Thankful for what we do have, but particularly on the 4th of February, one's mind can't help but wonder, "What if...?"
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
April 15, 1994, NetWork-40 (page 22):
CLOSE TO X
"An impressive list of groups are coming together to celebrate The Carpenters' 25th anniversary.
Smashing Pumpkins, Bettie Seveert, The Cranberries, Sonic Youth, Sheryl Crow, Babes In Toyland and Redd Kross,
among others, are contributing to a tribute album honoring the '70s brother -and -sister duo of Karen and Richard Carpenter.
Each band will remake a favorite classic hit of the duo, who won three Grammys and sold millions of singles and albums
worldwide. The enthusiastic participation of these Alternative heavyweights spotlights the duality of Karen's life -
the wholesome image and pure voice vs. her self-destructive, tragic battle with anorexia nervosa, the eating disorder that
claimed her life February 4, 1983. The album is due out this fall."
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Herb Alpert Interview February 7, 2020:
JM: Could I ask you about some of the A&M artists? First of all, The Carpenters, who were hugely successful. What’s your favorite memory of Karen Carpenter, or working with them?

HA: I signed them in 1969. I just heard a tape, and was very intrigued by the sound of her voice. So I met with them, and realized that they were making the type of music that they really loved. That music was coming out of them. They weren’t trying to make a hit record, they were just trying to make the music that they liked.

Richard was just like a student of recording. He knew about recording studios, what type of echo chambers to use, and microphones, etc. It was an interesting combination. Not the type of music I normally listen to, but I recognized there was something in her voice and his way of putting it together. There’s a certain authenticity that some artists have, that transcends genres. It doesn’t matter what type of music they’re making. If they’re doing it in a passionate and honest way, it resonates. And it’s very personal.

When I signed them and they had a record before “Close to You”, people in my own company were thinking, “Wow, man, why did you sign those kids? What are we going to do with those records?” At any rate, after I gave them “Close to You” to record, and it became Number One, all of a sudden people realized how important their artistry is, and to this day they’re still selling records. CDs. Or 0’s and 1’s. I’m not sure what they’re selling now. We’re selling streaming.

Complete:
Music-Illuminati.com | Interview: Herb Alpert
 

byline

Well-Known Member
I just read Linda Ronstadt's memoir, Simple Dreams. Wonderful book, wonderful life! For those who say, Karen should've just recorded the American standards the way Linda Ronstadt did, fair enough. But pay attention to all the opposition Ronstadt faced before she was finally able to record that album with Nelson Riddle. It's ridiculous. She was a successful solo performer, yet many said this would wreck her career. In hindsight, we can see that wasn't the result, yet at the time, the opposition she faced (as in, "You're going to derail your career!") was shocking. And Ronstadt was a solo performer, with power all her own. Karen was part of a duo, with all the power struggles that entailed.
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
Not promoting their show...I thought it was very touching what this performer had to say about the duo...

“I’m honored. People still want to see this,” she said. “It’s 50 years later that ‘Close to You’ went number one. It makes me tear up thinking about her. If they’re loving us, can you imagine what they would have been doing for them? It will always be a tragic loss. I think any female performer understands what she went through, to some extent. It’s totally relevant because people still want to hear it.”


Tribute band honors the legacy of the Carpenters in ‘Close to You’
 
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Portlander

Well-Known Member
Very pleased with the top ranking, but to be honest I would have to place Hall & Oates ahead of the Carpenters. Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney shouldn't be on the list with only 2 hits. Failure to include Donny and Marie at all where they should probably be in the top 5 shows a total lack of research for the article.
 

Yamaguchi

Member
Very pleased with the top ranking, but to be honest I would have to place Hall & Oates ahead of the Carpenters. Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney shouldn't be on the list with only 2 hits. Failure to include Donny and Marie at all where they should probably be in the top 5 shows a total lack of research for the article.
If you really think H&O are a superior group to Karen and Richard your musical judgment needs reconsideration. In their tragically shortened 10-years of active recording, the Carpenters spread more great music throughout the world than any artist or group in the 70's. See, e.g., KAREN CARPENTER'S POSTHUMOUS CONQUEST OF CHINA; WHEN CARPENTERS WERE ON TOP OF THE WORLD -- OF MUSIC. The only way one could place the C's superior music (e.g., Superstar, CTY, WOJB, For All we Know, Good-bye to Love, A Song for You) behind H&O is if one shares the biases of the Rolling Stone magazine crowd.
 
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Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
If you really think H&O are a superior group to Karen and Richard your musical judgment needs reconsideration. In their tragically shortened 10-years of active recording, the Carpenters spread more great music throughout the world than any artist or group in the 70's. See, e.g., KAREN CARPENTER'S POSTHUMOUS CONQUEST OF CHINA; WHEN CARPENTERS WERE ON TOP OF THE WORLD -- OF MUSIC. The only way one could place the C's superior music (e.g., Superstar, CTY, WOJB, For All we Know, Good-bye to Love, A Song for You) behind H&O is if one shares the biases of the Rolling Stone magazine crowd.
There are other superior music artists, if you limit that to only Carpenters then your limiting your music taste to only one flavor. I like vanilla but I also like peppermint mocha. We all have different tastes in music.
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
If you really think H&O are a superior group to Karen and Richard your musical judgment needs reconsideration. In their tragically shortened 10-years of active recording, the Carpenters spread more great music throughout the world than any artist or group in the 70's. See, e.g., KAREN CARPENTER'S POSTHUMOUS CONQUEST OF CHINA; WHEN CARPENTERS WERE ON TOP OF THE WORLD -- OF MUSIC. The only way one could place the C's superior music (e.g., Superstar, CTY, WOJB, For All we Know, Good-bye to Love, A Song for You) behind H&O is if one shares the biases of the Rolling Stone magazine crowd.
I can see her point. We all are our own judge to our own tastes and should not let the reviews of others interfere with what highlights our own senses. I enjoy easy music better than most any other and Karen and Richard did it better than most. Seldom do I enjoy heavier sounds which are The Rolling Stones review crowd and those sounds don’t enter my world. I’d rather listen to classical music and when in the pop feeling, the Carpenters do it best. Even after hearing others for a few months, one listen to Karen’s voice brings me back!
 
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