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B. L. Mitchell, Venus (1978)

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
Thanks for uploading this - don't think this has ever appeared online before.

I have a soft spot for the Frankie Avalon original as it was on a compilation tape that got hammered by my parents in the car on family holidays when I was very young. But this is quite a nice version. There are a couple of trademark Carpenter touches in the background - dashings of oboe and a few Peluso-esque guitar licks. Not really the sort of thing that was going to burn up the charts in 1978, but I prefer this to the A side.
 

John Adam

Well-Known Member
I just uploaded this to YouTube. Enjoy!

Thanks Donn for uploading this! I didn't think anyone actually had a physical copy of this single. It was fun hearing, very well produced, but both the "A" side, Where I Want To Be, are very MOR. My wife heard this playing and thought it was a Carpenters record. It's a fascinating little piece of the Carpenter's legacy.

Maybe this is just where Richard was at by 1978. Even the Carpenters tracks recorded then, I Believe You, Where Do I Go From Here, Honolulu City Lights, etc. although beautiful, were all kind-of in this vein musically, mellow. Did any more tracks of Mitchell's get recorded or finished, or did this project suffer the same fate as the Carpenters new (pop) album of this period, it just never came to be?
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I wonder if the original masters still exist for this 45? It would be nice if these tracks were maybe tacked onto a compilation as bonus tracks, or something like “Collected” where there was a disc just for the Carpenters “Pet” projects (kind of like the Brian Wilson “Pet Project” CD).
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I think I hear Richard on background vocals. But for B.L Mitchell, I think “Venus” should’ve been the A side.

But I think Richard should’ve recorded a lead vocal himself and put it on “Horizon” or “A Kind Of Hush”, it would’ve made either album better and would’ve been a stand-out track on either. Richard did a good job with lead vocals on the older songs on “Now & Then” And “Live In Japan”, such as “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes” And “Daddy’s Home”.
 

ullalume

Well-Known Member
I think I hear Richard on background vocals. But for B.L Mitchell, I think “Venus” should’ve been the A side.

But I think Richard should’ve recorded a lead vocal himself and put it on “Horizon” or “A Kind Of Hush”, it would’ve made either album better and would’ve been a stand-out track on either. Richard did a good job with lead vocals on the older songs on “Now & Then” And “Live In Japan”, such as “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes” And “Daddy’s Home”.
Yeah, is that Karen and Richard on the backgrounds? Richard's mixed it low coz this was a Mitchell showcase not the Carpenters, but I think I hear him and maybe her too.

B.L. has a sweet voice. . .reminds me of David Gates, whom Karen loved so it makes sense they backed this fellow.

Considering how ill they both were in '78 they were spinning a lot of plates. . .massive Christmas Album, recordings for a planned '79 album, concerts, 2 TV specials, producing this chap, promoting and remixing a new singles album, several guests spots on TV shows. . . .I think I'd be ready for Menninger's by the end of that lot.
 
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tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Yeah, is that Karen and Richard on the backgrounds? Richard's mixed it low coz this was a Mitchell showcase not the Carpenters, but I think I hear him and maybe her too.

B.L. has a sweet voice. . .reminds me of David Gates, whom Karen loved so it makes sense they backed this fellow.

Considering how ill they both were in '78 they were spinning a lot of plates. . .massive Christmas Album, recordings for a planned '79 album, concerts, 2 TV specials, producing this chap, promoting and remixing a new singles album, several guests spots on TV shows. . . .I think I'd be ready for Menninger's by the end of that lot.
Makes me wonder if there is a Richard lead to “Venus” in the vaults. We know that Richard And Karen recorded tracks for their own collections, so I wonder if Richard maybe used the same backing track but recorded his own vocal (just like he would do years later, but in reverse for “All Those Years Ago” And strip Veronique’s vocals from the track and just put the instrumental track on PACC).
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
Thanks for sharing this record! Very pretty. Lots of oboe....again.

I think I can hear K&R’s background vocals, too. B.L. really does has a beautiful voice. I’d like to hear the other tracks they might have completed.
 

Brian

Well-Known Member
If you heard this on the radio and you didn’t know the Carpenters were associated with it, you definitely would have pricked up your ears when you heard that electric guitar passage and the drum sounds before the chorus. They are real trademark sounds of Carpenters.

The repeated motif is the oft used oboe, isn’t it?

Do my eyes deceive me or was Karen associate producer? I had forgotten that.

‘For All We Know’ was the first single I ever got. I asked my Mum for it for Christmas when I was ten. Strangely enough, ‘Venus’ was perhaps the next single I got, but my version was by Jamie Redfern - a 1973-released ‘A’ side. My Nana gave it to me, maybe for Christmas the same year as I received ‘For All We Know’ from my Mum, or maybe the following year. Jamie Redfern is an Australian who toured the USA in the early 70s as Liberace’s protege.

BL Mitchell has a good voice - a high voice, mind you! It’s probably not a voice that I would be drawn to listen to, but I do recognise that he can certainly sing.
 

Brian

Well-Known Member
I was just listening to the ‘A’ side of this single, ‘Where I Want to Be’, on YouTube, and thought that B. L. Mitchell sounds quite a bit like Neil Sedaka in the quieter sections of that song.

Discogs lists ‘Where I Want To Be’ as B. L’s only release, but wasn’t ‘Leave Yesterday Behind’ also a single by him?
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Makes me wonder if there is a Richard lead to “Venus” in the vaults. We know that Richard And Karen recorded tracks for their own collections, so I wonder if Richard maybe used the same backing track but recorded his own vocal (just like he would do years later, but in reverse for “All Those Years Ago” And strip Veronique’s vocals from the track and just put the instrumental track on PACC).
I think the lead actually sounds a lot like Karen and wonder if there's a demo with her voice on it that BL was listening to before he recorded this. Karen's phrasing is all over this one.

Ed
 
I was just listening to the ‘A’ side of this single, ‘Where I Want to Be’, on YouTube, and thought that B. L. Mitchell sounds quite a bit like Neil Sedaka in the quieter sections of that song.

Discogs lists ‘Where I Want To Be’ as B. L’s only release, but wasn’t ‘Leave Yesterday Behind’ also a single by him?
The “A” side almost sounds like a dramatic Barry Manilow tune at the end, with the orchestra and choir. I think with a little “de-easyfying” the “A” side could have been a decent hit. For me its the oboe on both of these tunes that takes it one toe over the line too far into the easy listening category. I’d love to know more about how they found him though and what their plans were and where he is now. Outside of what was in the fan club letter, that is.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I’d love to know more about how they found him though and what their plans were and where he is now. Outside of what was in the fan club letter, that is.
With all the troubles going on in their personal and professional lives, why were they going to all the additional time and effort of producing a non-entity at this point in their careers?
 
With all the troubles going on in their personal and professional lives, why were they going to all the additional time and effort of producing a non-entity at this point in their careers?
I imagine they stumbled across him somewhere/somehow and wanted to share the magic? But that is a very good question.
 

Bobberman

Well-Known Member
Sounds a LOT like Neil Sedaka.
Agree it sounds to me like something to the effect of " Neil Sedaka Meets the Carpenters". I like the song and this cover version as well but sadly this came out several years too late but it would have been a hit had it been recorded in about 1973 or so. Just my opinion.
 

Donn

Member
Thread Starter
Did you have actual 45?
Hi Jarred - no I do not have the single; a friend of mine does, and he graciously made a mp3 for me of both sides. I'd like to get single from him someday, so we will see...
 

Donn

Member
Thread Starter
Did you have actual 45?
Jarred - I do have the promo 45 (bought it online recently). with Where I Want to Be on both sides. Was always curious to hear Venus, and to think I could have bought copies from the fan club when I was a member in the late 1970s. There are at least three other songs that B. L. Mitchell recorded for this project that were never released: Mad, Lately, Funny Faces
 
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