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Official Review [Box Set]: "FROM THE TOP" (AM75021/6875)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Jun 14, 2007.


  1. ***** (BEST)

    39 vote(s)
  2. ****

    26 vote(s)
  3. ***

    6 vote(s)
  4. **

    1 vote(s)
  5. * (WORST)

    1 vote(s)
  1. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Well, let's qualify it by saying that they originate from the same recorded "moments" and the same Palladium concert.

    On the PALLADIUM disc, "From This Moment On" is a longer recording. After analyzing it in Audacity, I can see that Richard's piano intro repeats itself making it 20 seconds long at the Palladium concert. On FROM THE TOP, ten seconds of this intro is chopped out.

    Once Karen's vocal begins, the two songs are identical (though the Palladium version is about .3% slower) up until the audience applause. Because it's a concert album, the applause goes on much longer than the FROM THE TOP version allows with its quicker fade-out.

    I also think that the FROM THE TOP version is equalized with a bit more highs than the Palladium version.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2017
  2. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Excellent analysis, Harry !
  3. I agree completely. I listened to Disc 1 tonight (being mid-November) and enjoyed it, but it may have been only the second or third time I've played it since 1991! Sad, but true. I think there were too many Christmas songs included and I certainly don't want to hear them (or have to skip them) 10 months out of the year.
  4. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    The best way to listen to this set is to load it onto an iPad, then make a playlist of everything but the Christmas tunes, if you don't want to hear them. I've also got all my Christmas songs tagged with the "Christmas" genre on my iPod, that way I can select all of the Christmas tunes at once and select the "skip when shuffling" option.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  5. I haven't listened to my iPod in even longer! LOL
  6. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Noticing that the song
    Iced Tea
    was produced by Rick Jarrard.
    Naturally, I wanted more information.
    Here is a link to Billboard Magazine, Page 4, October 29,1966.
    What is rather interesting is that Karen is never mentioned by name !
    "The drummer is Carpenter's 16-year-old sister. He is 19."

  7. Interesting. It was the "Richard Carpenter Trio" after all. Was he credited as producer for that song on From The Top?
    He also produced the David Cassidy album, Dreams Are Nuthin' More Than Wishes (a line from Nilsson's "Puppy Song", featured on the album).
  8. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Yes, Rick Jarrard produced the RC Trio song--Iced Tea-- as heard on
    From The Top.
  9. I meant to say, was he listed in the credits for that song (as producer) on From The Top? If not, shouldn’t he have been?
  10. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Yes, he is credited as such on that song, on the set.
  11. Interesting. I missed that. I'll have to look at my booklet again. Thanks!
  12. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I always wished it had A Song For You. I do however think that the commercials are a nice inclusion. Luckily, whatever this box set is without is in the Essential Collection. Both together make a great set. Add the SACD Singles for awesome sound and new mixes and Gold for some options on the remixes and all together we have a good picture into their career of songs. Add the Remastered Classics and it feels like a package from the heavens.
  13. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    So, I am listening to Disc #4, 1978-1982, From The Top.
    This is a favorite. The versatility here is a stand-out.

    Now, the inside-inlay has that portrait of Karen, from Solo Sessions.
    It is the black and white portrait which was "colorized" for the 1996 cd-release.
    That inlay photo (untouched ?) should have been the Cover of the 1996 cd !
    Another great solo session portrait (8X10 size)
    is in the "Carpenters Complete Music Book" Volume One.
    newvillefan, Mark-T and Jamesj75 like this.
  14. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    What photo does the Complete Music Book use?
  15. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    There are 2...one is the front album cover of VOTH in B&W and the other is this photo also B&W. I scanned this in from my Vol 1 book so it might be large. I'm actually pretty impressed with how this scanned in from my music book.

  16. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Completely agree!

    I first saw that in the same booklet, when I bought the square four CD box set in 1990. I remember falling in love with the photo from first sight and it’s still a favourite today. She looks so well in that picture.

    And you’re right, untouched it looks a hundred times better than the abomination that was used for the 1996 release of the solo album. She was badly let down yet again by the A&M marketing team, even after all those years.
  17. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Some stylist FINALLY saw Karen through fresh eyes and brought out her sass and inner beauty.
  18. John Adam

    John Adam Well-Known Member

    Over the years, I know I've read this entire thread and have enjoying reading the responses to this box set. My opinion is, this is the single biggest gift to Carpenter's fans! I prefer "From The Top" to Essential Collection. I like the album size box set, the full sized booklet with Richard's essay, the individual Cd's in their own jewel cases with period photographs on the cover and the track listings on the back. Plus the sound is nice, not brickwalled like on the essential Collection. It's easier to crank up the volume than listen to distortion!

    I am like a lot of you that listen to disc one and four the most. The old stuff, pre-1970 I had never heard of before, (Magic Lamp single-get out!) this is where I really started getting into the Carpenters. Disc four is also cool too, because at that time I didn't know of a solo album, or of Music, Music, Music, so that was a wonderful revelation for me!

    The other two discs are also great, the hits are not entirely there, but it's OK for me as there are plenty of "hits" compilations already. Sometimes the holiday music mixed in is sort-of annoying, the CD's could of been filled up a bit more. I wish a couple of Richard solo tracks would of been included as there was plenty of room on the last disc. But the remixes, jingles, alternate versions, like "Sing" and "Let Me Be The One" keep your ears on guard for more new discoveries. There are many also that I didn't mention. If you can find a copy of this box set, I think you might enjoy the original concept that Richard wanted us to hear. Music, music, music! -John
    MorningOpensQuietly likes this.
  19. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Honolulu City Lights

    That would make a great thread which of the 4 CD's on From The Top gets the most play or are your favorite discs. I'm also with John when he says that FTT is my favorite box set and I enjoy the mastering sound better than The Essential Collection. FTT will always have a special place in my heart, I can still remember picking this up at my local record store, Peaches Records and Tapes. When I turned over the 12x12 box and I saw all these songs I'd never heard of and titles that were all new to me...my heart was pounding and I thought I struck gold. In my own little world I was holding this large box of so much new material...it was like Karen came back and never left.

    I also think Disc 1 and 4 are the best of the best. I really like the jingles as well. There is literally something on each disc that contained something new. The medley of Music Music Music alone was worth the cost of the entire set back then and more. The full color booklet was like an album cover, the whole package is one of the best box sets I feel ever released by Carpenters.
  20. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Discs 1 and 4 are my favourite too. When I think back, I don’t think I fully appreciated at the time just how many unreleased tracks there are on this collection. Richard really delved into the archives here and gave us some gems and most of them are on these two discs. I remember marvelling at the comparison between the early, rougher sound of their 1960s demos and the stylish, sophisticated sound of Karen’s solo tracks on disc 4.
  21. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    From The Top....
    is still my "go to" source when I listen 'chronologically.'
    I rarely choose only one disc to listen to,
    as I listen to the entire set in one sitting, in order: first, disc one, then disc two, three, four....
    Now, to really be an historical Carpenters' retrospective,
    I would prefer all songs be unmixed, untouched.
    Be that as it may, what we got is a treasure trove of music.
    A superb compilation that everyone should own.
  22. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

  23. CarpentersToYou

    CarpentersToYou What I feel has come and gone before...

    For some reason I like FROM THE TOP better than THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION. I feel it was a mistake dropping some of the tracks that they did and using ATGB tracks as new tracks. I realize that it wasn't yet released in the USA, but I imagine most fans already imported it from Japan if they were interested in making the financial decision to purchase this set.
  24. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I love both Box Sets, FTT and EC.
    But, I'll stick to favoring the initial box set,
    even though the decision is a tough (nearly impossible) call.
    My favoritism based merely upon which set came first.
    Malu Makana likes this.
  25. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    Yes, From the Top was the more exciting set since it contained so many then-unreleased tracks. The Essential Collection is slightly more thorough, but it contained very few additional unreleased tracks.

    Also, because the Essential Collection omitted several of the rarities from From the Top like 'Goodnight' (I still don't understand why, as there was enough space left on the discs to have retained them), that meant From the Top became the only release to feature these tracks, which meant that instead of being superseded as the go-to box set, it retained its place as a possible choice for fans who wanted all the tracks.

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