• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are now available. The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy can be ordered here. A big thanks to the authors and Richard Carpenter for their tremendous effort in compiling this book! Also, the new solo piano album Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is available for ordering here.

🎧 Podcast Carpenters: Q&A, Ep. 2: "A Kind of Hush" (Album)

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JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
...Well, Richard states that on the specific song There's A Kind of Hush that Karen
did not sing "full-out." (15:54). Richard goes on to say "It had a whole different sound to it." (16:12).
Randy Bash listened to the song and said "it doesn't quite sound like Karen" and Richard adds "and, it doesn't." (16:36).
Richard says "I made the mistake of putting a synthesizer on it."(17:12).

In a rare moment of honesty and lucidity even Richard has to agree that Karen doesn't sound like Karen when she doubles herself - I rest my case. But the mistake wasn't putting a synthesizer on it - it was using the doubling technique from the start.

You'd think two talented, intelligent people could have figured that out at the beginning - Hey Herb, where was the rational adult in the room? What a monumental waste of talent...
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^With all due respect, I must disagree with such an assessment.
Having just listened to the Carpenters' single and the original by Herman's Hermits original,
I believe Karen & Richard put a nice spin on the HH's 1960s tune--they sorta brought it into the 1970s.
My analysis:
11 sec in, Karen's first use of the word "hush" in a lovely, softer tone. That "softness" (for wont of a better description) is replicated
at 26 sec on the lyric "us." Karen's enunciation of the word "dream" (52sec) is well, dreamy ! Following which, the brass/trumpet interlude.
The word "whisper" (60sec mark) is well, rather whispery--sorta fits the mood. I think the synthesizer comes in right after (?).
Then, the lyric "hush" at 1:11 precisely replicates Karen's initial enunciation (recall that at 11sec). Brass again from 1:25-1:38.
Then, the lyric "dream" is accentuated (1:52), because as Karen sings "It isn't...a dream." Whisper-ing, again at 2:01.
Regards the clapping-- an additional stroke of genius. Then, the instrumentation constructs the song's finale, that is from 2:24 on.
There are a lot of "s" words in this song.
So, it is "hush-y."

So, sue me,
I love this single.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Here is what the Carpenters were up against:
Billboard Magazine February 28, 1976 (page 1 & 14):
" A move toward fresh, new disco sounds, away from the worn -thin dance tracks now overly familiar to the public and industry alike, appears imminent..."
"Remaking oldies for young listeners who've never heard them might be valid, but I still think that it's going to fade very quickly," says one producer who wishes to remain anonymous. Others, also seeking anonymity on this -point, generally agree. "I'd like to get away from heavily orchestrated records."
"Disco is going to produce superstars, and these will be the artists and producers that keep up with their crafts, take chances and create rather than recreate."
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
I've always thought that 'There's a Kind of Hush' (title track) had a kind of detached quality. It's rather emotion-less and unlike most of Karen's work. Now I see why.
That’s how I’ve always felt about this song. I definitely agree with Randy Bash and Richard that it just doesn’t sound like Karen to me. It almost sounds forced or she’s rushing through the song. There’s no emotional connection for me.

It’s also not because it’s a faster song either, Please Mr Postman is just as catchy a pop song but she sounds like Karen on Postman. She’s warm and conveying.

The other problem I have is the mono single is so sped up and sounds awful. It reminds me of the sped up version of Ave Maria. It just doesn’t sound right. I can’t believe Richard would allow that sped up version to be released as a single.

Take a listen to the album version and then compare it to the mono single or even to PBS Complete Singles of A Kind Of Hush single and they are very different. It almost sounds like she singing in a whole different key too.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^ Perhaps this an engineering/mixing/manufacturing issue ?
Surely Karen's lead vocals in its original studio setting were not faulty ??
Would that not stretch credibility (to believe that a faulty lead-vocal was released at the time) ?
One Mono-45:
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
The single was VSO’d. That’s all that’s going on here, and it very much changes the tonal quality of everything, including Karen’s lead.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^Chris May: "The single was VSO ’d."

Apologetically, I ask for a laymen's explanation of that terminology as it applies to this recording.
Thanks.
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
^^Chris May: "The single was VSO ’d."

Apologetically, I ask for a laymen's explanation of that terminology as it applies to this recording.
Thanks.
Oh, sorry! It’s what I explained more or less in the Q&A, episode 1.

It simply means the recording was sped up for faster playback. Unfortunately that meant that the key/pitch changed right along with it. 😀
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Pop radio stations often sped up their music so as to sound "better", "brighter", "happier" than their competitor. It's a subtle psychological thing that programmers would hang onto. *Anything* to beat out the competition.

Richard apparently, a radio listener for years, was cognizant of this fact and along with others in the music biz, would do his own speed-ups, usually on singles, on occasion. I hesitate to think what happened when a sped up record got sped up even more by the station!
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^Thanks for reminding me of that, Harry and Chris May !
Are there any other vinyl 45-WL promo's that are purposefully/intentionally sped-up ?

Richard Carpenter stated ( in a Wink Martindale interview) that
the 45-single of All You Get From Love Is A Love Song was sped-up,
and, I never could understand why that would be done on that song either !
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
^^Thanks for reminding me of that, Harry and Chris May !
Are there any other vinyl 45-WL promo's that are purposefully/intentionally sped-up ?

Richard Carpenter stated ( in a Wink Martindale interview) that
the 45-single of All You Get From Love Is A Love Song was sped-up,
and, I never could understand why that would be done on that song either !
I don't hear any speed-up on that one.
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
^^Thanks for reminding me of that, Harry and Chris May !
Are there any other vinyl 45-WL promo's that are purposefully/intentionally sped-up ?

Richard Carpenter stated ( in a Wink Martindale interview) that
the 45-single of All You Get From Love Is A Love Song was sped-up,
and, I never could understand why that would be done on that song either !
Aside from "I Won't Last a Day," I'd have to think about that. I know that "You" was VSOd I believe for the original Hush release, then returned to normal speed in '98 for the digi reissue. There were a couple of others, I recall.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
The trilogy of songs on SINGLES 1969-1973 was sped up on some of the releases it appeared on.
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
The trilogy of songs on SINGLES 1969-1973 was sped up on some of the releases it appeared on.
Of course! Duh! I even explain all of that in the discography. Glad they were all returned to native speed.
 

David A

Well-Known Member
I can think of two. 'Skyline Pigeon' from Elton John was one he tried to get Karen to record, but she didn't like it. The other is 'Killing Me Softly With His Song' from Roberta Flack, which Richard and Karen always said would have been perfect for them.
Ahhh, thank you for this. It sheds light on a subject I brought up in the "Other Female Singers" thread, regarding Killing Me Softly. I had wondered if Richard and/or Karen had thought of this song and realized it would have been a likely smash hit for them. Based upon your comment, now I know that they did.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
^^Thanks for reminding me of that, Harry and Chris May !
Are there any other vinyl 45-WL promo's that are purposefully/intentionally sped-up ?

Richard Carpenter stated ( in a Wink Martindale interview) that
the 45-single of All You Get From Love Is A Love Song was sped-up,
and, I never could understand why that would be done on that song either !
Maybe for time reasons. Shave a second or two off.
 

Richard’s namesake

Active Member
In episode two, I talk about the Carpenters' seventh studio album, "A Kind of Hush," and how many of the songs were selected—including some nuggets of trivia related to several of them. Also, Richard personally explains the story behind the title track, here in his own words.

But first, I address the question that many fans have asked over the years related to Karen's "work" lead vocals, and how she might have recorded those for tracks she also played drums on, without causing leakage in to the drum mics. The answer is really quite simple!

Chris, a question for further podcasts. Relating to my post regarding your excellent interview with John Bettis in 2014. John mentions the “Bacharach/David medley” and says something to the effect of “there’s a story told elsewhere about that”. Always intrigued me and as memory serves not mentioned in the book. Is there a story or have I just read too much into John’s comment?
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
Chris, a question for further podcasts. Relating to my post regarding your excellent interview with John Bettis in 2014. John mentions the “Bacharach/David medley” and says something to the effect of “there’s a story told elsewhere about that”. Always intrigued me and as memory serves not mentioned in the book. Is there a story or have I just read too much into John’s comment?
I listened to the portion of the interview that you mention, and I think John is just referring to the backstory that we've all been told about how and why Richard put the medley together. There isn't any additional backstory (that I'm aware of).

I know that Richard felt they rushed it on The Tan Album, as they'd become accustomed to playing it at that speed in concert by the time they went into the studio to record it. This was something that happened with a lot of their songs in concert, where a particular tune would be played at a slower speed when first introduced into the set, only to have them get faster and faster as time went on every time they would perform the song. Much of this had to do with time constraints they were given to perform an entire set, so they would start speeding things up.

As a side note, the rhythm tracks were all cut live in Studio C with the Carpenters' road band—just the way they were used to playing them in concert, followed by Richard and Karen's vocals, which were of course overdubbed.
 

Richard’s namesake

Active Member
I listened to the portion of the interview that you mention, and I think John is just referring to the backstory that we've all been told about how and why Richard put the medley together. There isn't any additional backstory (that I'm aware of).

I know that Richard felt they rushed it on The Tan Album, as they'd become accustomed to playing it at that speed in concert by the time they went into the studio to record it. This was something that happened with a lot of their songs in concert, where a particular tune would be played at a slower speed when first introduced into the set, only to have them get faster and faster as time went on every time they would perform the song. Much of this had to do with time constraints they were given to perform an entire set, so they would start speeding things up.

As a side note, the rhythm tracks were all cut live in Studio C with the Carpenters' road band—just the way they were used to playing them in concert, followed by Richard and Karen's vocals, which were of course overdubbed.
Thanks Chris
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^I thoroughly enjoy the "you" songs on this album:
You & I Have You. Combined with One More Time & I Need To Be In Love,
what's not to love ?
As I have often said, the album Hush itself gets a bad rap for no good reason.
I do not listen to the album simply for its "hits" I listen for what is is...
a nice selection of various styles of music.
 
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