• 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.

📣 News Carpenters: The Musical Legacy (Discussion)

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
On page 190 in speaking of Anne Murray's 1979 chart success with the beautiful "I Just Fall in Love Again" the authors state: "The divine Murray, as always, sings her heart out on that record, but the sparse production makes it sound like a demo compared with the Carpenter's version." And once again it's mentioned how Richard felt his arrangement was too long for radio and that he didn't know how to (or didn't want to) trim it so that it could be released as a single (thus clearing the way for Murray).

Now, there are several of us here (at least) who have always insisted that Richard's arrangement was an over-production (perhaps ideal for the album version) and that the record as released as a single would have been much better in a "sparser" setting, thus just naturally shortening up it's length, and much more importantly letting Karen's warm and romantic vocal shine through and dominate. As it stands her vocal seems to be buried under too many layers of orchestration, and even the technical treatment that Richard applied to her vocals on the RPO album didn't appear to help that much. Murray's version doesn't sound like a "demo" at all - it sounds exactly as it should - you can hear her every beautiful vocal nuance, and why she was "divine". Karen's would have been even more so.
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
I agree fully - she had some sterling chops - definitely much more than good enough for anything they ever recorded, and highly impressive to 99.99% of their fans...but apparently several people very close to her personally and professionally with unreasonable and stratospheric standards didn't think so...too bad she didn't insist on doing all the drumming or tell them where they could insert her drumsticks...
AMEN TO THAT!! I understand why they used session drummers. Makes total sense, but she could more than carry the beat on pretty much everything. And she had the ability to jump vocally and instrumentally on so many different styles. I think Karen herself could have been a session player due to her versatile abilities, though I don't know the intricacies of drumming as others do.
 
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Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
On page 190 in speaking of Anne Murray's 1979 chart success with the beautiful "I Just Fall in Love Again" the authors state: "The divine Murray, as always, sings her heart out on that record, but the sparse production makes it sound like a demo compared with the Carpenter's version." And once again it's mentioned how Richard felt his arrangement was too long for radio and that he didn't know how to (or didn't want to) trim it so that it could be released as a single (thus clearing the way for Murray).

Now, there are several of us here (at least) who have always insisted that Richard's arrangement was an over-production (perhaps ideal for the album version) and that the record as released as a single would have been much better in a "sparser" setting, thus just naturally shortening up it's length, and much more importantly letting Karen's warm and romantic vocal shine through and dominate. As it stands her vocal seems to be buried under too many layers of orchestration, and even the technical treatment that Richard applied to her vocals on the RPO album didn't appear to help that much. Murray's version doesn't sound like a "demo" at all - it sounds exactly as it should - you can hear her every beautiful vocal nuance, and why she was "divine". Karen's would have been even more so.

Yeah, it makes sense that he'd feel this way. His "everything but the kitchen sink" approach worsened as time went on and by the time of "I Just Fall In Love Again," he was going entirely too far on almost everything. Anne's version of the tune got played on the radio and Carpenters' was justifiably ignored. Even if he had found a way to edit the tune, Anne's just sounds like a hit.

Ed
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
My book has been delivered in Australia. It’s only about ten days since its release in the US, so that’s pretty good.

It’s beautiful late Spring weather, birds singing, so sitting in the sun in the garden and just about to start reading.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
Bar the details, was it common knowledge in the fan base that children didn’t actually sing on the final version of Sing?
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
They did...
...they were just augmented by Karen and Richard to "fix pitch".
They're clearly heard.

Ed
All of this new info is confusing me then. I thought she was mimicking their voices on overdubs and played with the frequency or whatever to make her sound like many children.
 

Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
All of this new info is confusing me then. I thought she was mimicking their voices on overdubs and played with the frequency or whatever to make her sound like many children.

The kids are there but they aren't great. As a result, Karen augments in them either to give them a "pitch center" or to "fix pitch." That's what my ears are telling me and that's what I got out of what was written. Am I wrong, @Chris May?

Ed
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
I too am somewhat confused on how the recording was actually made and who's really on it and in what way and to what extent...
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
What happened to the ERRATA thread - not pinned? Removed because it was inadvertently revealing too much info?
 

Matthew Smith

Well-Known Member
All of this new info is confusing me then. I thought she was mimicking their voices on overdubs and played with the frequency or whatever to make her sound like many children.
Chris explained this same thing to me on Tuesday in this thread and he included a sample.
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
Chris, in the section "A Year In The Life" the promotional video for (They Long To Be) Close To You that was made at A&M Studios is mentioned but I did not find a mention of the promotional video for Love Is Surrender. Were they both taped the same week?
They were both taped the same day, actually. :)
 

Mcair

New Member
Yeah, it makes sense that he'd feel this way. His "everything but the kitchen sink" approach worsened as time went on and by the time of "I Just Fall In Love Again," he was going entirely too far on almost everything. Anne's version of the tune got played on the radio and Carpenters' was justifiably ignored. Even if he had found a way to edit the tune, Anne's just sounds like a hit.

Ed
In the same vein, compare "Make Believe It's Your First Time" on VOTH vs Karen's solo album. The simple piano+voice version on the solo record is far superior IMHO.
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
This has been discussed elsewhere but to reiterate, the pic of Karen and Richard on page 94 is one of their best ever combined portraits - used on the inner sleeve of the "A Song for You" album it should have been on the cover (of that album, or any other album).
 

Mike Cidoni Lennox

Well-Known Member
In the same vein, compare "Make Believe It's Your First Time" on VOTH vs Karen's solo album. The simple piano+voice version on the solo record is far superior IMHO.
I’m an absolute Murray freak, and love her version. But I beg to differ with the consensus on RC’s treatment of “I Just Fall in Love Again.” I just adore it.
This has been discussed elsewhere but to reiterate, the pic of Karen and Richard on page 94 is one of their best ever combined portraits - used on the inner sleeve of the "A Song for You" album it should have been on the cover (of that album, or any other album).
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
Some of the most significant statements made in the book are under the discussion about the "A Song for You" album on page 95 - here the authors write "in fact, Richard says the Carpenters didn't even need to tour by this point for promotion, as the records were already selling."

They also state: "Conversely, the Carpenter's studio recordings were far better investments."

And "They, not concerts, were more important in the big picture, as they laid the foundation for the Carpenters' long-term career and their musical legacy."

Much has been (and will continue to be) said about these considerations - as we know they were critical at the time, but are now after the fact and won't make a difference...but it's still fascinating to speculate on "if only..." or "what might have been..." And maybe we will later...
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Carpenters' version of
I Just Fall In Love Again,
is a superior performance (imho) as compared to Anne Murray.
(But, again, I am not an Anne Murray fan).

What a line-up of talent on this song:​

Produced and Arranged by Richard Carpenter

Orchestrated by: Peter Knight

Lead Vocal: Karen Carpenter

Backing Vocals: The Gregg Smith Singers

Keyboards: Richard Carpenter

Bass: Joe Osborn

Drums: Ron Tutt

Electric Guitar: Tony Peluso

Oboe: Earle Dumler

Engineers: Ray Gerhardt, Roger Young and Dave Iveland.

 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
Carpenters' version of
I Just Fall In Love Again,
is a superior performance (imho) as compared to Anne Murray.
(But, again, I am not an Anne Murray fan).

What a line-up of talent on this song:​

Produced and Arranged by Richard Carpenter

Orchestrated by: Peter Knight

Lead Vocal: Karen Carpenter

Backing Vocals: The Gregg Smith Singers

Keyboards: Richard Carpenter

Bass: Joe Osborn

Drums: Ron Tutt

Electric Guitar: Tony Peluso

Oboe: Earle Dumler

Engineers: Ray Gerhardt, Roger Young and Dave Iveland.

If Richard arranged it but Peter Knight orchestrated it, then what did each do? My understanding has always been that if one arranges the music one is in fact orchestrating it - is it ( or can it be) two separate, distinct tasks? For example, is an arrangement the overall structure or plan or design for a song (intro, outro, tempi, dynamics, repeats, etc.) and the orchestration is the selection of instruments and voices for acualizing the arrangement?
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
One page 126 in the interview with Herb Alpert he is quoted there as saying: "When I asked her [Karen] 'What do you really love to do?' She'd say - I'm not joking - 'I love to play drums!' She couldn't accept the fact that she was a world-class singer."

Well, Herb certainly knew Karen a tad better than I did, but I'm not so sure she didn't or couldn't accept that - she had to have known and accepted it and been quietly but firmly proud of it, and rightfully so - think of all of her recordings she had to listen to in the studio, and all the many female singers she had heard and compared herself to while growing up, and all the raving compliments from countless fans worldwide - she knew and cherished that distinction - maybe what Herb himself couldn't accept was the fact that in spite of her world-class vocal ability & performances she still loved her drumming a little more, which was always so very obvious when you saw her looks of near ecstacy in videos where she was doing some extended drumming...
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
If Richard arranged it but Peter Knight orchestrated it, then what did each do? My understanding has always been that if one arranges the music one is in fact orchestrating it - is it ( or can it be) two separate, distinct tasks? For example, is an arrangement the overall structure or plan or design for a song (intro, outro, tempi, dynamics, repeats, etc.) and the orchestration is the selection of instruments and voices for acualizing the arrangement?
That’s correct! An arrangement also refers to what specifically any given instrument is going to play—whether a particular line or counter melody on the strings, woodwinds or horns… perhaps a particular chord structure or shading underneath, specific intro on a keyboard instrument (but which keyboard—see orchestration).

WHICH instrument or collection of instruments refers more to the orchestration side of things. 😀
 

Geographer

Well-Known Member
If Richard arranged it but Peter Knight orchestrated it, then what did each do? My understanding has always been that if one arranges the music one is in fact orchestrating it - is it ( or can it be) two separate, distinct tasks? For example, is an arrangement the overall structure or plan or design for a song (intro, outro, tempi, dynamics, repeats, etc.) and the orchestration is the selection of instruments and voices for acualizing the arrangement?
I know nothing about music or how it is made compared to most on here; however, I can tell you how I "understand" "arranged" vs. "orchestrated," at least in this instance:

I understand these credits to mean that 1) Richard's "arrangement" called for an "orchestra" (in addition to the "regular" band). 2) Peter Knight was called in to provide the actual orchestra and "orchestrate" the orchestra Richard's arrangement called for.

Was my stab at attempting to explain orchestrated well?

That's my guess...
 

Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
If Richard arranged it but Peter Knight orchestrated it, then what did each do? My understanding has always been that if one arranges the music one is in fact orchestrating it - is it ( or can it be) two separate, distinct tasks? For example, is an arrangement the overall structure or plan or design for a song (intro, outro, tempi, dynamics, repeats, etc.) and the orchestration is the selection of instruments and voices for acualizing the arrangement?

Richard handled the rhythm section and vocal arrangements and Peter Knight handled the strings.

Ed
 
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