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Bless The Beasts

Matthew Lowe

Well-Known Member
Hi everyone :) Which version of Bless The Beasts is on the remastered Song For You CD from the late 90s? Doesn't seem to clear on the relevant page on the website!
 
If it's a "Remastered Classic" then it's the original album version, noise and all.
 
I like the vocal stacks that are brought forward in the chorus of the newer version. Karen sounds clearer too. But I do miss the older instrumentation. This is one of my favorites of the Carpenters. I seem to never get tired of it. It sounds fresh at each listen, even after all these years. It is one of the most appealing from the album for me along with the title track, A Song For You. It’s a perfect album.
 
"Bless the Beasts..." is a lovely, heartfelt call for concern and compassion. Richard's arrangement is near perfect, with just the right amount of variation in dynamics and tempo to make it compelling. Karen's vocal is sweet and subdued and - as one would expect - breathtakingly beautiful. The only part that slightly diminishes the recording for me is the doubled lead vocal on the chorus line:

Light their way
When the darkness surrounds them...


and we lose Karen briefly...And yet the second half of this chorus is "solo Karen":

Give them love
Let it shine all around them.


Who can make sense of this? But, others would disagree...so be it.
 
I like the vocal stacks that are brought forward in the chorus of the newer version. Karen sounds clearer too. But I do miss the older instrumentation. This is one of my favorites of the Carpenters. I seem to never get tired of it. It sounds fresh at each listen, even after all these years. It is one of the most appealing from the album for me along with the title track, A Song For You. It’s a perfect album.
Craig nailed it! It does sound as fresh today as it did in 1971. The first chorus where Karen sings, 'Light their way....' hits you right in the gut. So good. I finally managed to find both the 8-track and cassette tapes of the soundtrack after many years of searching for them. The title tune sounds supreme on both.
 
As a note of trivia, the “vibraphone” is actually Richard’s Wurlitzer electric piano, utilizing the tremolo setting. 😀
I also love the pipe organ effect that Richard achieves in the first chorus (and maybe the second, too, but it sounds like strings in the second chorus). I had forgotten all about that! It goes so well with Karen's doubled lead.

And, yes, I love the tambourine in the second chorus. It's such a lovely driving part of the rhythm section. I miss hearing it in pop music.
 
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I also love the pipe organ effect that Richard achieves in the first chorus (and maybe the second, too, but it sounds like strings in the second chorus). I had forgotten all about that! It goes so well with Karen's doubled lead.

And, yes, I love the tambourine in the second chorus. It's such a lovely driving part of the rhythm section. I miss hearing it in pop music.
Totally agree. It’s a great arrangement. Some more trivia—the organ is a Hammond B3, and Karen played the tambourine track.
 
This thread got me playing around with the audio to the soundtrack version. Many may know that the album was released in vinyl and the tape formats of the day, but when it came to CDs, it never appeared in the US. Japan issued it on mini-CD in that Japan Single Box Set, so one would think that would be the place to start. But after analyzing the audio to that mini CD, I came to the conclusion that my LP was a better source.

Listening to my prior cleanup, I found that I'd left a bit of very minor clicks and pops, and I've fixed those. I also noticed that when checking the phase of the recording, Karen's vocals seemed tilted to the left. Just altering the levels didn't totally fix that either, so I started digging deeper into the sample level. As I've done with other recordings, generally from a tape source, I found that the left channel was slightly ahead of the right channel by something like two or three samples. And I double checked the channel balance to make sure that her vocals were the same relative levels in the peaks and valleys of the waveform.

I think this came out better than the Japan CD and I'll share the WAV file in my OneDrive to anyone who wants it. I'll leave it up there for a few days, so grab it if you want it.

OneDrive file:
01 Bless The Beasts And Children (Carpenters).wav
 
This thread got me playing around with the audio to the soundtrack version. Many may know that the album was released in vinyl and the tape formats of the day, but when it came to CDs, it never appeared in the US. Japan issued it on mini-CD in that Japan Single Box Set, so one would think that would be the place to start. But after analyzing the audio to that mini CD, I came to the conclusion that my LP was a better source.

Listening to my prior cleanup, I found that I'd left a bit of very minor clicks and pops, and I've fixed those. I also noticed that when checking the phase of the recording, Karen's vocals seemed tilted to the left. Just altering the levels didn't totally fix that either, so I started digging deeper into the sample level. As I've done with other recordings, generally from a tape source, I found that the left channel was slightly ahead of the right channel by something like two or three samples. And I double checked the channel balance to make sure that her vocals were the same relative levels in the peaks and valleys of the waveform.

I think this came out better than the Japan CD and I'll share the WAV file in my OneDrive to anyone who wants it. I'll leave it up there for a few days, so grab it if you want it.

OneDrive file:
01 Bless The Beasts And Children (Carpenters).wav
MUCH prefer this version for the absence of the oboe. It really changes the color of the outro and I like it. The overall mix is better to my ears too. Nice job on the restore, Harry!

Ed
 
@Chris May did Karen play on any other tracks? Aside from the couple of bass tracks on Offering and tambourine here, were there any other uncredited contributions Karen made, I wonder?
If you're referring to the tambourine specifically, Karen was the one that played that on virtually all of the Carpenters recordings.

If you want to hear something funny, on the tambourine track on the master tape to "We've Only Just Begun"—when isolated—you can actually hear Karen start humming one of the background vocal parts faintly under her breath, albeit out of key. She was wearing headphones so she wouldn't have been able to hear herself while overdubbing the percussion. I got a kick out of that the first time I heard it.
 
If you're referring to the tambourine specifically, Karen was the one that played that on virtually all of the Carpenters recordings.

If you want to hear something funny, on the tambourine track on the master tape to "We've Only Just Begun"—when isolated—you can actually hear Karen start humming one of the background vocal parts faintly under her breath, albeit out of key. She was wearing headphones so she wouldn't have been able to hear herself while overdubbing the percussion. I got a kick out of that the first time I heard it.
She also provided the "burping" effect on a couple of tracks. :laugh:
 
Add it to her list of roles !

Karen Carpenter: singer, drummer, record producer, tambourinist
I would call her a percussionist, since tambourine is a percussion instrument. She also played other instruments in the percussion family. Didn't she and Richard play vibraphone on "Boat to Sail"? All those finger snaps and other sound effects she created would be percussive, too. So she wasn't simply a drummer who knew her way around a drum kit, she was a skilled all-around percussionist!

By the way: Dunno why I thought Karen's tambourine was only on the second chorus. It's featured both times. And that powerful piano playing by Richard in both choruses ... love it! Such a contrast to his delicate piano work in the verses, intro and outro.
 
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