• 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)

Proudofyou

Well-Known Member
I have to tell you, I went into Barnes and Noble to buy a calendar and when I unexpectedly saw the book sitting on the table, I gasped and said, "Yay there it is! It's beautiful!" I bought mine for Kindle, but what a nice thing to see in the store especially because I rarely go out these days. All the best to you all!
 

Martin Medrano

Well-Known Member
Yesterday i was at barnes and noble looking for some records and i found none but i did find the rpo album on cd. I also saw the book on display. I was contemplating on buying a second copy.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
I bought two copies, one from Amazon and one from Talk Shop Live. I have to say, the book is gorgeous. I have some library-grade dust jackets and now the books look absolutely fantastic. What an investment. Lots of invaluable information in there too. Thank you, thank you, thank you to Mr. Carpenter, @Mike Cidoni Lennox, and @Chris May.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member

Q&A: Inside the New ‘Carpenters:​

The Musical Legacy’ Book with Richard Carpenter & Authors Mike Cidoni Lennox/Chris May​


KEN SHARPON DECEMBER 9, 2021
Excerpt:
Rock Cellar: Do you recall a Carpenters recording that was more challenging to get a really great basic track ?
Richard Carpenter
: "Yes, Close to You. It’s a very deceptive song and a very deceptive arrangement. The whole thing makes it sound like it’s an easy song and the trouble with that one is it was so strict with timing and rhythm. It was very easy to start rushing. Ultimately, you never want to admit that you need the click track, but on several of them you do, and that was one of them. We finally said, okay, we need a click track so “Close to You” took around 40 takes to get that basic track with bass, piano and drums — but that was an exception."
Source:
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
In the chapter on the "Horizon" album the authors state: "Both lyrically and musically "I Won't Last a Day" was never a favorite of Richard's. Furthermore, this was yet another "A Song for You" selection on which Karen was vocally challenged, thanks to a node on her larynx. So, between troubles with the tune and it's performance the Carpenters never considered it single worthy."

But on outside urging they released it as a single, after having Tony Peluso add some melodious guitar fills to the existing 2 year old recording. However,, Richard and Karen were "never quite satisfied" with the recording, which went to No. 11 on the Hot 100 and No.1 on the Easy Listening charts.

However, Richard never made any changes to the structure or lyrics of the song as originally recorded - and this might have been a cause of some of it's problems and the dissatisfaction.

In Randy Schmidt's "Little Girl Blue" there's this passage about the song on page 90: "Roger Nicols and Paul Williams considered "I Won't Last a Day Without You" to be a complete song with just two verses and a chorus, just as they submitted it to the Carpenters on a demo in 1971.They struggled to honor Karen's last minute request for an additional bridge and third verse. 'We finally worked it out and went in and did the demo the day before they recorded it. They were screaming at us to get it to them and were upset with us because they were right down to the wire in the studio,' Nichols recalls. 'What bothered me was thati heard Richard never listened to the demo. He just looked at the sheet music and started changing it. It was kind of a sore point with me because he changed the melody in the bridge and the chord structure.'

Other artists subsequently recorded the song as originally written.

Nichols continues: 'I always felt that if the Carpenters had cut a better bridge it would have been a bigger song for them'.

How much of what Nichols relates here is accurate is debatable, but it is not addressed in the current book at all.

Nor is the question of why Karen was recording or singing in concert with nodes on her larynx is never explained or justified, especially when the usual therapy for this condition is complete rest of the vocal cords. This also might explain why Karen's lead vocal on the choruses of this recording are double-tracked, being an attempt to hide or disguise the vocal problem on these more demanding sections of the song - about the only conceivable excuse for doing so.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member

Book examines music that made Carpenters superstars.​

Monday After: Remembering the Carpenters 1971 concert in Canton (Gary Brown)​

Special to the Canton Repository

Excerpts:
"In actuality their talents are much more varied," wrote Bosso in the Repository.
"Their songs range from rock to ballads, although most contain a strain of progressive jazz."
" Although all their hits have been of the serious vein, the moods of their concert are as varied as their music."
--
The performers appeared at ease on the stage, Bosso noted, adding that one reason for that "may be that they enjoy it."
--
"We really don't have any problem getting emotionally 'up' for a concert," Richard Carpenter told the writer.
"Sometimes, if we've been driving a long way and we get the equipment unpacked and everything, we're really tired."
"But, once you change clothes and shower and walk out on stage it's different."

Source:
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member

Q&A: Inside the New ‘Carpenters:​

The Musical Legacy’ Book with Richard Carpenter & Authors Mike Cidoni Lennox/Chris May​


KEN SHARPON DECEMBER 9, 2021
Excerpt:
Rock Cellar: Do you recall a Carpenters recording that was more challenging to get a really great basic track ?
Richard Carpenter
: "Yes, Close to You. It’s a very deceptive song and a very deceptive arrangement. The whole thing makes it sound like it’s an easy song and the trouble with that one is it was so strict with timing and rhythm. It was very easy to start rushing. Ultimately, you never want to admit that you need the click track, but on several of them you do, and that was one of them. We finally said, okay, we need a click track so “Close to You” took around 40 takes to get that basic track with bass, piano and drums — but that was an exception."
Source:
The Q&A are FANTASTIC!! Very creative questions and answers. : )
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
This book is so amazing, I feel like I’m going through this journey with Karen and Richard all over again but this time with so many new details. I’m only a few chapters in…I’ve not been reading or looking at any spoilers so far so my apologies if this was mentioned.
on page 49 it says Nov 11-17 was the recording sessions for Merry Christmas Darling but then on Nov 20 it was released in the US. How could the session be a week before the single was released?
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
I guess what I was asking above was how could the 45 rpm be pressed in less than a week and get to all the radio stations for airplay. Was this even possible?
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
I’m half way through the book, currently on Passage chapter. I started yesterday lol…when you start reading you don’t want to stop. I love all the trade ads and so many nice pictures I’ve never seen.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
What I’ve really been enjoying is how honest Richard is speaking about the albums. For instance..
He talks a lot about how how some songs could have been a hit but they were too long and he just couldn’t trim them down (I Just Fall In Love Again)

“Don’t Cry For Me A” It’s also the first time I’ve noticed him say this song was not right for Karen. It was too high and says taking it down a key would have been better. (I sure would have loved to hear this song in a lower key) but then he says the more he thinks about it they shouldn’t have recorded it. I really admire his honesty and openness about this, this might be the reason why I’ve never cared for this song. Karen sings it beautifully but the key is too high for her on this song. I really prefer ONJ’s version which is also higher key but with Olivia it works quite well. These are little tidbits that I’ve always wanted to know how Richard feels now about certain tracks.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
I’m really surprised to read this…
Richard says he’s not happy with An Old Fashioned Christmas except for 2 tracks Home for the Holidays and Little Alter Boy. He says that if there was ever a new edition of Christmas Portrait these are the only 2 recordings he would include. So he would leave out the title track AOFC that’s my favorite off the album and what about Santa Claus Is Coming To Town and He Came Here for Me and I Heard the Bells.

Does this mean when he releases the upcoming new Christmas album (maybe next yr) that most of the tracks from An Old Fashioned Christmas will not appear?
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Well, the good news is that regardless of what is contained in any new iteration of the Christmas albums, we all still have the old ones to revisit any time we want to.

It's like when "Good Night" was taken off the FROM THE TOP box set when it was reissued as ESSENTIAL COLLECTION. Most of us die-hard fans have both, so whenever you wan to hear "Good Night" - its right there om FROM THE TOP.
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
@Rick-An Ordinary Fool

While I'm as big a fan as anyone of Karen singing in her deeply resonant lower range I'm not sure she needed to be in any key other than what she used on "Don't Cry..." - she doesn't sound strained at all, especially since she is well restrained on this interpretation, not trying as others have done to oversing it or get melodramatic - the problem with the recording in MHO is the arrangement calling for a veritable squadron of instrumental and vocal extras - this rendition would have been perfect with just a simple but elegant piano accompaniment from Richard...

As far as "An Old Fashioned Christmas" I agree fully with your choice of other songs to be gleaned from it - I was as surprised as you at what he said and have no idea of what he was thinking or why he would eliminate these great vocal performances...

He said something similar earlier in the book in the chapter on "Offering" when he included (if my memory serves) "Invocation", "Benediction", "Your Wonderful Parade" and "Ticket to Ride" as the only songs he would retain if he had to do the album over, tossing out "Someday", "All of My Life", "Don't Be Afraid" and even the underrated "Clancy..." for some strange reason(s)...
 

Carl

Well-Known Member
I’m on the Now and Then chapter and loving the book ! The pictures are amazing and the book is so interesting !
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
I'm only up to the "Herb Alpert Interview" section so far but I'm really enjoying the book. Now that I'm about to dive in to the Herb section, I'm I wish there would be a "Herb Alpert: The Musical Legacy" book to go alongside this one. I wish there was more minutiae about Herb's music available, like there is with the Carpenters, although I suppose most of the reason for the lack of info is that Herb is not as concerned with detailing his every (recorded) move the way Richard is. There are about a zillion tiny details about the TJB albums I'd love to know about.

Anyway, on with the interview chapter!
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
I have a question about the list of songs toward the end of the book.

Below the song title it shows Instrumental Recording Dates but I don’t see dates for every song when Karen recorded her vocals in the studio. The notes to the right will sometimes show when the song was recorded but many don’t have dates.

For instance, Rainbow Connection shows the instrumental dates were Oct 1980 but there is no mention when Karen recorded her vocals in the studio. If the note section is blank does that mean you didn’t know when Karen recorded her vocals?

I wish it said vocals recorded on….and then the instrumental tracks were recorded on...
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
I have a question about the list of songs toward the end of the book.

Below the song title it shows Instrumental Recording Dates but I don’t see dates for every song when Karen recorded her vocals in the studio. The notes to the right will sometimes show when the song was recorded but many don’t have dates.

For instance, Rainbow Connection shows the instrumental dates were Oct 1980 but there is no mention when Karen recorded her vocals in the studio. If the note section is blank does that mean you didn’t know when Karen recorded her vocals?

I wish it said vocals recorded on….and then the instrumental tracks were recorded on...
Okay, so here's what going on with the discography:

The recording dates on Karen's vocals were intentionally left out because many of them were never documented. However, wherever we had documentation regarding the instrumental recording sessions, those dates got included. Let me explain further.

The reason the instrumental dates were available, is because they involved union contracts for each and every session, complete with dates and times. If a particular entry in the discog omits these, it's simply because the contract on that particular session was either lost or unretrievable. The reason Karen's lead vocal dates were not included, is because these—along with the backing vocal sessions, didn't require a contract, and often times were recorded whenever Karen and Richard were back in town and a studio was available. In other words, the vocals were recorded more sporadically and Karen didn't always document those in her date books.

The good news as far as recording dates on a lot of Karen's lead vocals, is that we know a number of them—particularly in the later years, were "work" leads. These were almost always recorded at the same time the rhythm tracks were recorded. So, many of those we actually do have dates for.

I hope all of this makes sense. :)
 
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JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
The chapter on Karen Carpenter is far too short - and very disappointing.

Since this is a book geared predominately toward a detailed discussion of the Carpenters' musical legacy this chapter should have dwelt at length and in depth on her development as a world class singer and as a highly accomplished drummer, i.e., the history of all of the factors and influences that led to the ultimate creation of the woman many consider to have musical talent that was "mind boggling" and "off the charts"...

The brief, cursory summary of her battle with anorexia should have been relegated to another appendix at the back of the book, and then only for the sake of newbies unfamiliar with this inexplicable tragedy.
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
The chapter on Karen Carpenter is far too short - and very disappointing.

Since this is a book geared predominately toward a detailed discussion of the Carpenters' musical legacy this chapter should have dwelt at length and in depth on her development as a world class singer and as a highly accomplished drummer, i.e., the history of all of the factors and influences that led to the ultimate creation of the woman many consider to have musical talent that was "mind boggling" and "off the charts"...

The brief, cursory summary of her battle with anorexia should have been relegated to another appendix at the back of the book, and then only for the sake of newbies unfamiliar with this inexplicable tragedy.
Given this is a chronological look at their musical legacy, with the caveat that their personal struggles would be addressed—chronologically, if and when the recordings were affected, we all felt it was the most appropriate place, and way, to address it.
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
Given this is a chronological look at their musical legacy, with the caveat that their personal struggles would be addressed—chronologically, if and when the recordings were affected, we all felt it was the most appropriate place, and way, to address it.
I must have misunderstood - I had the impression the recordings were not effected...only the tour schedules.

In either case, I maintain that much more should have been included about Karen's growth and development as a musical artist, since this is such a gigantic part of their Musical Legacy...but I guess we can debate this at length later when the discussion fully opens up.
 
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