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Official Review [Compilation]: "THE SINGLES, 1974-1978"

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Oct 31, 2005.


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  1. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    There were various factors working against this album having been a more 'true' singles album like the 1969-1973 album though. In late 1978, they were also releasing Christmas Portrait, so already had something to promote (this wasn't really an issue in the UK, where Christmas albums generally weren't popular and the album accordingly was given next to no promotion). Richard was also at his nadir health-wise, so was in no position to start augmenting and embellishing new arrangements/segues for the album.

    Plus - and this is the key factor I suspect - by late 1978 in the US, they were completely out of favour on the singles charts. Compilation albums released during an artist's active career tended to only do well if their recent commercial standing was reasonably robust (the 1969-1973 Singles album had been well-served by 'Top of the World' going to #1 around the time of the album's release). By late 1978, the Carpenters hadn't had a Top 30 single since mid-1976 and their last two singles had missed the Top 40. Even if the album had been given that extra attention in terms of arrangements/segues, I suspect it would not have sold well in the US because they were at such a low ebb commercially. In the UK, by contrast, 'Calling Occupants' had made the Top 10 only a year earlier, so they didn't have that same problem to overcome in that market.
  2. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    The fact that the collection opens with two country tracks back to back has always been an instant turn off for me.
    Mark-T likes this.
  3. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I recall finding my LP in the so-called "import section" at a K-mart, in 1980, in Rockford, Illinois !
    I did not have to think twice about buying it.
    I do so love
    Sweet, Sweet Smile !
    A great way to begin an Album !
    BarryT60 likes this.
  4. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    I agree. The sequencing is a bit off on this compliation. Starting the other side of the vinyl LP with 'Solitaire' is another big strike against it - that song is far too slow to open a new side of an album (seemingly they hadn't learnt anything from its poor placement in the Horizon tracklisting).
    newvillefan likes this.
  5. ars nova

    ars nova Active Member

    I agree. although Karen did travel to promote this collection, it appears that this release did not receive complete carpenters support. crappy packaging and lack of Richard's eye for detail.
  6. LondonRobert

    LondonRobert Active Member

    I've always had a soft spot for this album, it was the first cd I ever bought ( in fact i bought it while i was still saving up for a cd player in the early 80's )

    I have probably 20 or so Carpenters compilations and I was thinking how much i prefer the original versions ( album or single versions ) over later remixes, and realised that this album and 69-73 singles are the only two I really need.
    Singles post 78 I am not too fussed about and can enjoy them as album tracks more on the relevent albums.
    BarryT60 and Jamesj75 like this.
  7. I remember back in '84 or '85 finding the "double cassette" of this album and '69-'73. I believe one side had the first "singles" album and the other side had this one. I agree with those who have a "soft spot" for this compilation. I think, although it contained the later less-successful singles, played very well as a whole. I think I remember hearing the alternate "Can't Smile Without You" single take and, surprisingly, liking it more than the album mix...still not one of my favorites by a long-shot; however, I think Richard improved upon the song as much as he could with that single mix (alternate verse, addition of horns, etc.).
    GaryAlan and BarryT60 like this.
  8. LondonRobert

    LondonRobert Active Member

    I remember that cassette!! I had it too at one point - a shame that the Japanese planned shm release of this album was pulled, I would have liked to have had that
    Nick and Geographer like this.
  9. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    Just to give you an idea of where the album covers came from:

    The CD was purchased new in Canada, and even has "A&M Records Canada" on it.
    The Reverse of the 69-73 cover version was manufactured and distributed by Columbia House Canada.
    The Goldfoil cover was printed and made in England by Robor Ltd and the vinyl was made and distributed by A&M UK.
  10. LondonRobert

    LondonRobert Active Member

    I had the UK gold 'effect' cover as I didn't buy it when it first came out ( i was 8 ), but looking through a friends collection I was so excited to see she had the real gold foil version, i kept on and on and on , until she let me have it in exchange for me buying her a brand new copy of the gold effect cover, I still have it now about 35 years later and having lost touch when i left yorkshire for london, it brings back such good memories.
  11. BarryT60

    BarryT60 Well-Known Member

    Is there a picture of the reverse of the 69-73 cover out there on the net? I'd like to see it. Never cared personally for the foil one, but I was old school and loved the rich cover of the original, and of course, since 73 was a peak year in the USA, it has a very special place in my heart.
  12. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    Click the link. You’ll see all 3 covers. The CD is at the top, with the Reverse on the left with the gold foil on the right in both pictures. The reverse features the same colours as the 69-73 set, but reversed to where the beige is the dominant color and the lettering is in brown.
    BarryT60 likes this.
  13. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Carpenters' Fan Club Newsletter #62, November 1978:
    " A&M Records in London, England are compiling another singles album called
    Carpenters Singles 1974-1978,which they plan to release towards the end of the year.
    It is not known at this time if it will only be available in England, so please refrain from
    writing in about it until more information can be published in the next newsletter."
    Newsletter #63, January 1979: "the recently rleased album in England, Singles 1974-1978,
    gained Platinum Status."
  14. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    It went platinum within a month or so of release? Wow.
  15. BarryT60

    BarryT60 Well-Known Member

    Thanks! I rather like the idea of the Canada version, but one can't knock the Platinum London release either! Thanks again for posting, and the clarification!
  16. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    Well the UK version also says to check the actual record for where that was made. So I’m assuming that the Goldfoil cover could’ve appeared anywhere (Canada, Australia). I wonder if the reverse cover was the first cover, and then it was released in the Goldfoil when the album went Platinum. Plus since the Goldfoil has the same Art Deco design as the CD artwork, I wonder if that was the middle artwork.
  17. Murray

    Murray Well-Known Member

    I have both the gold foil version, and the reverse cover version of the album. The gold foil is the original - mine was purchased in 1979 - the jacket says it was made in England by Robor Ltd, and the LP itself was manufactured by A&M Records of Canada. The reverse cover version was purchased around 1985, and both the jacket and LP were made by A&M Records of Canada. My CD, also made in Canada, has the same artwork as the CD you have (similar design to the original foil cover, but of course not in foil).
  18. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    All the original UK pressings were the Goldfoil sleeve. When the album was reissued in the UK the mid-1980s (both on vinyl and CD), the Goldfoil sleeve was replaced with the Art Deco design, which resembles it (presumably it was cheaper to do this than to reprint the Goldfoil sleeve). In the UK we never got the reverse cover version.

    The Goldfoil sleeve was quite a nice idea but I always thought the logo got rathre lost on the sleeve, being all the same colour.
  19. Song4uman

    Song4uman Active Member

    Got mine out and listening now. I used to write on the sleeve when I purchased or received albums. While I have replaced with nicer inner sleeve, I still have the original. It says “Aug 1983 from Mother and Daddy”.
    purchased in Wichita Ks while visiting older sister and her family It was in the import section.

    It is an album I didn’t play much. It is perfect. Not a pop or scratch.

    And it is the foil sleeve.

    jaredjohnfisher likes this.
  20. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Interestingly enough,
    I took another listen to Jambalaya,
    there are aspects about the song that I do like (steel guitar, for one),
    and, actually, not such a bad effort.
    Be that as it may,
    the thing that I do not like about the arrangement is the
    extended flute solo.....it 'softens' the song too much for my tastes.
    Remove it, or shorten it, and
    I'm a fan !

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