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📣 News Carpenters: The Musical Legacy (Discussion)

Rereading the chapter "A Year In The Life" and noticed that Richard mentioned the tragic We Are Marshall plane crash when he recounted traveling to a concert by car instead of by plane on November 29th.
 
He worked on it for As Time Goes By but ultimately decided against putting it out.

Never hearing this before, when I heard Karen sing the song including the Good Vibration parts, I literally had that moment...the Peter tingle...Marvel movie fans will understand this reference 😂. Where the hairs stood up on your arm, like what was that!

I haven't seen any of the TV Specials, other than bits and pieces in documentaries/YouTube snippets but I don't search out the Specials. I only ever listened to what Richard and Karen have released commercially.

So I was totally taken a back hearing this song, I can see why Richard would of considered using this track....hearing it now I wish he would of included it. For much of the reason I stated in my comment to Mark-T in this thread. It was those elements I described in the example of Without A Song (expanded studio version), Good Vibrations just had that something that just stood out.

I am sure there're many gems that fans love from these TV specials. I don't know why I haven't to this day seeked out watching the TV Specials.

I studied music at school and I am first a Richard Carpenter fan, his arrangements and production skills are unparalleled. I would spend hours listening to the music/arrangements/production/his keyboard/piano playing. The background harmonies I would concentrate on the stacking and dubbing up of vocals. I was never listening to the leads, it was never my focus....I know right! 🤦‍♂️

I was a student and with each album I could afford to buy the more I took notice of the leads, again it was Richards....I love his voice!

Then...yep its coming!!! I got the first singles compilation album, of course I was listening to all the arrangements and flourishes that were different to their album releases. I heard Karen sing new leads on Ticket to Ride and Top of the World sounding different to the versions I had heard. Then I started to re-listen to the albums I had all over again...the word listen being the important part 😂. As a student studying music I was looking at specific things and this is why I love Richard and his talent. I wasn't looking at Carpenters as the duo and listening to their music as songs. I spent my time analysing what I was fascinated with, I missed the best part...their partnership and what they uniquly created.

It's interesting on how we all become a fan of music but not always outright for just how a song is sung/being a commercial hit. We all listen for different things. I didn't realise for many years that I had been missing out...that is no longer the case 🤣. So when I heard Good Vibrations I am not liking it because its Karen/or Carpenters related. It is because it just has that magical element...that often happened in so many of Carpenters songs that just cause the Peter tingle 😃.
I want to make sure I've got this right. What Richard considered releasing on "As Time Goes By" but ultimately chose not to do so was a version of "Good Vibrations" with him and Karen singing it or was it the original one featuring Karen and John Denver? If there are two versions, I'd love to see them both be released!
 
There was an outtake, which I have along with a couple of others. “Good Vibrations” would have been the version with John Denver.

There was an outtake, which I have along with a couple of others. “Good Vibrations” would have been the version with John Denver

I'd give a kidney to hear those :)
I'll bet one of them is "You'll Never Know" with Richard's impressive lead vocal. I remember reading years ago that Daniel Levitin, famed professor of music at McGill University in Montreal and a noted admirer of Carpenters music, wrote the original liner notes for "As Time Goes By" when that song was still considered for inclusion on that CD. Levitin wrote: One of the true gems on this collection is "You'll Never Know," in which Richard takes the lead vocal. Richard's voice is reminiscent of the great crooners, with an uncanny sense of pitch. This track is one of the few times Richard's voice is presented without doubling or effects, and you can hear how good he really is.
 
Levitin wrote: One of the true gems on this collection is "You'll Never Know," in which Richard takes the lead vocal. Richard's voice is reminiscent of the great crooners, with an uncanny sense of pitch. This track is one of the few times Richard's voice is presented without doubling or effects, and you can hear how good he really is.

Great anecdotal find!

This is all time favourite lead vocal by Richard. Why it didn’t make the album is beyond me - it’s the perfect companion to all the other Music Music Music material on there. I’ve played the good-quality YouTube version to a few people who are familiar with Carpenters and every one of failed to identify the singer, and were surprised and amazed when told it was Richard.
 
Great anecdotal find!

This is all time favourite lead vocal by Richard. Why it didn’t make the album is beyond me - it’s the perfect companion to all the other Music Music Music material on there.
I think he felt that the album—on the whole, vocally speaking—was best if it emphasized Karen. “Dizzy Fingers” was an instrumental showcase, and of course the rest of Richard’s contribution throughout, was sufficient. 😀

Btw, completely agree with you on “You’ll Never Know.”
 
I’ve played the good-quality YouTube version to a few people
I see two different uploads of "You'll Never Know" on YouTube. Both are pretty bad in audio quality as far as I'm concerned. Was there a better one before?

Doesn't matter, really. I have a copy of the recording that someone sent me and I played around with improving the audio somewhat. It was slightly out of phase and I fixed that, and it had a really overly bright high end. (Sounded a bit like a cassette with Dolby B played back with the Dolby off.) The copy I have also has nice stereo.
 
I'll bet one of them is "You'll Never Know" with Richard's impressive lead vocal... Richard's voice is reminiscent of the great crooners, with an uncanny sense of pitch. This track is one of the few times Richard's voice is presented without doubling or effects, and you can hear how good he of course, one of the eally is.
It's, of course, one of the elite romantic ballads from The Great American Songbook and won the 1943 Academy Award for Best Original Song - and it's been recorded many times over the years, most notably by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Matt Monro and Vic Damone, all of whom are legitimate "crooners" and none of whom Richard is "reminiscent of"...

The fact that Richard's "voice is presented without doubling or effects" is one saving grace (and how did that happen with him around?) but it is swamped by the lavish orchestral accompaniment, which along with the overall beauty of the lyrics and music, masks some of his vocal shortcomings..
but granted it is one of his more outstanding on-pitch efforts (as far as that goes)...
 
I see two different uploads of "You'll Never Know" on YouTube. Both are pretty bad in audio quality as far as I'm concerned. Was there a better one before?
They’re both awful quality, very compressed. There was a much better, cleaner version on there a while ago that looks to have been deleted. I remember because it featured the famous image of Richard leaning against his Ferrari outside the Newville house, which neither of those videos do.
 
I think he felt that the album—on the whole, vocally speaking—was best if it emphasized Karen. “Dizzy Fingers” was an instrumental showcase, and of course the rest of Richard’s contribution throughout, was sufficient.

I understand his decision but think it would have been far more interesting to include such a great lead vocal from him rather than yet another instrumental piano piece - and the arrangement is sublime. For me this track is the missing piece in the Music, Music, Music jigsaw. I know these tracks were re-done with their own leads on a whim but I’d love to know what Karen thought of his reading - I imagine she would have been very proud.
 
Good Vibrations with John Denver was delightful. I couldn’t recall You’ll Never Know so I looked it up and also thanks to Harry this is a clearer recording. Goodness gracious! This is an overwhelmingly solid vocal. Touché Richard.

No surprises really here, though. It is often too easily overlooked that Richard is a highly trained choral singer who studied under Frank Pooler at CSULB and please let's never under-appreciate that Richard is part owner of the lush and intricate backup vocals to every Carpenters multitrack harmony overdub.

Wow. So glad I heard this.
 
Sounds great, Harry. That's always been my favorite performance of Richard's ever since I first heard it. I agree with you all that it should have been included on CD. Beautiful.
 
....

No surprises really here, though. It is often too easily overlooked that Richard is a highly trained choral singer who studied under Frank Pooler at CSULB...
I never had the impression from the literature that Richard received much formal training in choral singing - was he in the Downey High School choir at all (as Karen was), and didn't he strictly provide piano accompaniment only for the CSULB chorus? Or was he singing along too while playing? And wasn't he largely self-trained in the fine art of harmony singing, especially during practice sessions with Spectrum?

There is no doubt that he could have benefited significantly from some intensive, individualized voice training over an extended period from Pooler and other teachers or coaches before, during and after his stint at CSULB...so why didn't he - was he too busy with piano practice and composing/arranging, or simply intimidated by his kid sister's remarkable, and natural, vocal prowess?
 
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I never had the impression from the literature that Richard received much formal training in choral singing -

Richard sang in plenty of choirs and had the talent enabling him to do the arrangements for the early college choir collaborations but no, he was definitely not “highly trained” in choral singing. Much of what he later came up with for him and Karen as the duo was innate within him.
 
I never had the impression from the literature that Richard received much formal training in choral singing
Right. Please allow me to elaborate a bit on my reference to Richard having definitive choral training. The point I make is that it seems to me that his choral training was instrumental to his own vocal approach and even to Carpenters.This of course, is from my novice perspective, and I leave Chris May and the professionals to continually provide much better developed thoughts.

Notwithstanding whatever transcripts Richard may have amassed on his resume, the applications of what he learned from his time with Pooler contributed IMO significantly to further enable Richard to hone into Les Pauls’ paradigm of overdubbing.

Point: Studio techniques were easily handled by Karen and Richard (well the term easy is not really fair here as this was indeed a process in the 70’s). The challenge was to duplicate Carpenters choral arrangements to the touring group.

Doug Strawn, Dan Woodhams and Gary Sims were not hand-picked by Richard by chance. All five of them had strong choral foundations learned under Pooler. Richard and Karen’s harmonies initially were done in four parts in the studio so that they could replicate their sound is person with the touring group.

The article below from American Choral Directors Association speaks to this in great detail. The web address is not working.(or perhaps the user is not able to make it work). Hopefully this is legible. It provides the amazing insight on choral singing that the casual listener (myself included) may not even pick up on.

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Thank you, Harry, for posting that much-improved version of "You'll Never Know." I've never heard it sound better! And Chris May, the next time you talk to Richard, please tell him about all the praise expressed here for his take on this classic song. Thanks!
 
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