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Edited Version of Panel Discussion from Carpenters 50th Event (April 2019)

ringves

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Some of you may have already seen this. If not, here is a link to the panel discussion portion of the Carpenters 50th Anniversary event. (FYI - The panel discussion took place on April 27th 2019 in Thousand Oaks, California.)



In this video clip, Chip Cogswell has taken his raw footage and the raw footage of Gary Strobl to produce a seamless and very professional final product. We all owe Chip and Gary a debt of gratitude for preserving this event for future generations of Carpenters fans. Great job !

And, of course, many thanks also to the panelists who took the time to share their reminiscences and thoughts on the Carpenters music !
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I absolute loved this evening and was so glad to have been there for the whole event. There is so much of what was said that I’d forgotten, even side anecdotes like Earl Dumler’s lovely story about Little House On The Prairie and Michael Landon. Before the event, Gayle Levant came up to our table to chat with us and she was absolutely delightful, such a lovely lady. She was my favourite panel member :)

I had a feeling before I watched this that the edit would remove “Won’t You Play A Simple Melody”. Wise move - I’m sure it would have been ripped and bootlegged from this video. It was a sheer joy to hear it at this event though. I was so surprised how similar Agnes sounded to Karen - she had a similar vocal quality and range.
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
I just listened and replayed some just to catch each detail. Some comments brought tears of joy to my eyes for each detail was packed with emotion and delivered in a similar fashion that is reflected in the work of Karen and Richard. From what I heard it was an exceptional panel. All in all, it awakened a thirst that still needs quenched. I would love to hear more stories. The high esteem given to both is heartfelt and factual. I am appreciative of this product. Thank you! It is a definite treasure.
 

Sabar

Well-Known Member
Thank you, Ringves. I've been waiting for this panel discussion to be posted on YouTube. I found much of it interesting. The moderators did a great job giving all the panelists time to speak. There were a few things I found particularly noteworthy.

The last two interviews I've seen of Chuck Findley discussing the Carpenters, he emphasizes Jack Daugherty's role in their early career at A & M. Those who have read the two biographies know that Richard and Jack had a falling out over producer credits, and this ended in a lawsuit. I wonder if Chuck is unware of this history of conflict, or if feels such a sense of loyalty and admiration for Jack that he goes out of his way to mention him anyway. Apparently, Ray Gerhard was also put off by how Jack was treated in this falling out. Yet, based on what I've read in the biographies, I tend to agree with the view that Jack's role in production was more logistics, and Richard deserves the credit for producing the sound.

I was also pleasantly surprised to hear Steely Dan mentioned two times in this discussion. One doesn't normally associate the two acts When one thinks of the music of the Carpenters, the words romantic, innocent, and melancholy come to mind. In contrast, the songs of Steely Dan are full of cynicism and seedy characters in seedy situations. Despite that, the Carpenters and Steely Dan are my two personal favorite music groups. About the only thing they have in common is that they produce extremely well-crafted pop music.

My favorite part was Paul Grein's comments about Karen starting at about 1:22.00. I pretty much have an unlimited capacity to listen to people gush about Karen's talent. Grien didn't disappoint. I liked the fact that he assumed Barbara Streisand was really the only singer to compare Karen to. It was also pretty clear to me from his comments, which of the two singers he prefers. This was particularly gratifying for me. I have childhood memories from the mid-70s of listening to the adults at my parents' dinner parties all agreeing that Streisand was the greatest female singer of her generation. I'm glad to hear Paul Grein agrees with me to disagree.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
The last two interviews I've seen of Chuck Findley discussing the Carpenters, he emphasizes Jack Daugherty's role in their early career at A & M. Those who have read the two biographies know that Richard and Jack had a falling out over producer credits, and this ended in a lawsuit. I wonder if Chuck is unware of this history of conflict, or if feels such a sense of loyalty and admiration for Jack that he goes out of his way to mention him anyway.

For those few moments during the proceedings when Chuck was almost talking Jack Daugherty up, I distinctly remember feeling a few people around the room bristling. It was barely noticeable if you weren’t aware of the context, but it was definitely there.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
The last two interviews I've seen of Chuck Findley discussing the Carpenters, he emphasizes Jack Daugherty's role in their early career at A & M. Those who have read the two biographies know that Richard and Jack had a falling out over producer credits, and this ended in a lawsuit. I wonder if Chuck is unware of this history of conflict, or if feels such a sense of loyalty and admiration for Jack that he goes out of his way to mention him anyway. Apparently, Ray Gerhard was also put off by how Jack was treated in this falling out. Yet, based on what I've read in the biographies, I tend to agree with the view that Jack's role in production was more logistics, and Richard deserves the credit for producing the sound.
For those few moments during the proceedings when Chuck was almost talking Jack Daugherty up, I distinctly remember feeling a few people around the room bristling. It was barely noticeable if you weren’t aware of the context, but it was definitely there.
I have a feeling that some musician-types like Chuck Findley might have a lot more favorable opinion of Jack Daugherty, having played with him in the studio on his own projects. For example, Jack did a jazz album for A&M shortly after the Carpenters hit it big, and a number of the studio musicians that had worked with Carpenters were present on his own album. The album was called JACK DAUGHERTY AND THE CLASS OF NINETEEN HUNDRED SEVENTY ONE. Here's a page from the gatefold book that was designed to look like a high school yearbook:

DaughertyPage2.jpg
On this page you can see Chuck Findley, Joe Osborn, Ha; Blaine, and Jack Daugherty. Some of the good feelings might have come from this project, while bad experiences tend to recede into our memories.
 

Sabar

Well-Known Member
I have a feeling that some musician-types like Chuck Findley might have a lot more favorable opinion of Jack Daugherty, having played with him in the studio on his own projects. For example, Jack did a jazz album for A&M shortly after the Carpenters hit it big, and a number of the studio musicians that had worked with Carpenters were present on his own album. The album was called JACK DAUGHERTY AND THE CLASS OF NINETEEN HUNDRED SEVENTY ONE. Here's a page from the gatefold book that was designed to look like a high school yearbook:

View attachment 6585
On this page you can see Chuck Findley, Joe Osborn, Ha; Blaine, and Jack Daugherty. Some of the good feelings might have come from this project, while bad experiences tend to recede into our memories.
That makes sense, and it would be the charitable interpretation. Chuck Findley is definitely a jazz musician, and so perhaps his comments about Jack Daugherty are more an expression of solidarity among jazzers than an attempt to pick at old wounds. It's helpful to remember that many of those session musicians were accomplished jazz players. If one listens to interviews from members of the Wrecking Crew, a regular theme is feelings of ambivalence about the records they were making. On the one hand, they were happy to have steady work. On the other hand, they viewed playing pop music as a step down. For instance, Carole Kay talks about having to "dumb down" their playing.
 

Geographer

Well-Known Member
For those few moments during the proceedings when Chuck was almost talking Jack Daugherty up, I distinctly remember feeling a few people around the room bristling. It was barely noticeable if you weren’t aware of the context, but it was definitely there.

I haven't watched the edited recording that was posted yet; however, I was there "live" during the panel discussion and my impression was...and still is...that Chuck Findley was "disgruntled" and did not, at all, like Richard and/or possibly Karen. I felt like this was his last and best chance to give our favorite duo the proverbial "finger," drop his mic, and walk out of the room. This didn't happen, of course, BUT that was probably the cause of the "bristling" that was felt in the room.

Having said that, I will, eventually, watch the discussion again and see if time and distance have moderated my impression of Mr. Findley on this matter. But suffice it to say, I understood his comments. and the way he made them, to be an attack on Richard rather than a defense of Jack Daugherty.
 

Sabar

Well-Known Member
I haven't watched the edited recording that was posted yet; however, I was there "live" during the panel discussion and my impression was...and still is...that Chuck Findley was "disgruntled" and did not, at all, like Richard and/or possibly Karen. I felt like this was his last and best chance to give our favorite duo the proverbial "finger," drop his mic, and walk out of the room. This didn't happen, of course, BUT that was probably the cause of the "bristling" that was felt in the room.

Having said that, I will, eventually, watch the discussion again and see if time and distance have moderated my impression of Mr. Findley on this matter. But suffice it to say, I understood his comments. and the way he made them, to be an attack on Richard rather than a defense of Jack Daugherty.
Thank you for sharing your observations. If accurate, that would reflect poorly on Mr. Findley. To be fair, I have heard him say complimentary things about Karen's voice.
 
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GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Here is another Chuck Findley interview,
let us keep our ears open to the fact that Chuck did perform brilliantly on flugelhorn
for the song Close To You:
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I felt like this was his last and best chance to give our favorite duo the proverbial "finger," drop his mic, and walk out of the room. This didn't happen, of course, BUT that was probably the cause of the "bristling" that was felt in the room.

I don’t think there was any dig at all from Chuck towards Richard or Karen. In fact he actually speaks warmly about Karen and says at one point “she was very special and I’ll always love her”. What I did feel is that Chuck - unwittingly or not - used the opportunity to single out Jack Daugherty as being instrumental in their early success. Here is what he actually says on the panel:

“They [the aviation company] were really struggling and [Jack] brought that company up. So Herb told Jack ‘Listen, whatever they’re going to pay you, I’ll pay you twice that to come to A&M’, and he gave him the Carpenters to record. Jack was really into Ravel a lot, so a lot of those orchestrations with Richard had a lot to do with Ravel”.

I’m pretty sure the feeling in the room - and I felt that exact same sensation again watching this back - was that people were thinking “he’s actually giving Jack a platform...does he not know?”. Who knows if Chuck was aware of the backstory with Richard but all I could think of at that moment was that 1972 Cashbox review of A Song For You. The comment about Ravel also implied that Jack directly influenced Richard’s arrangements. Who knows if that’s the case either, but it was the first time I’d ever heard it in that room.
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
If I can jump in here briefly, it is more than fair to say that Chuck does not have an accurate account of what happened when it came to Jack's actual role and involvement on the Carpenters records. And, I don't entirely blame him.

I recently watched an archived interview with musician Joe Porcaro, whose account of Jack Daugherty's role with the Carpenters was almost precisely the same account that Chuck gave. And Porcaro's recollection was told in a very calm, unassuming way.

It's what the public was allowed to believe based on Richard and Karen's respect for Jack, and the label.

Don't believe everything you hear. :)
 

Geographer

Well-Known Member
I don’t think there was any dig at all from Chuck towards Richard or Karen. In fact he actually speaks warmly about Karen and says at one point “she was very special and I’ll always love her”. What I did feel is that Chuck - unwittingly or not - used the opportunity to single out Jack Daugherty as being instrumental in their early success. Here is what he actually says on the panel:

“They [the aviation company] were really struggling and [Jack] brought that company up. So Herb told Jack ‘Listen, whatever they’re going to pay you, I’ll pay you twice that to come to A&M’, and he gave him the Carpenters to record. Jack was really into Ravel a lot, so a lot of those orchestrations with Richard had a lot to do with Ravel”.

I’m pretty sure the feeling in the room - and I felt that exact same sensation again watching this back - was that people were thinking “he’s actually giving Jack a platform...does he not know?”. Who knows if Chuck was aware of the backstory with Richard but all I could think of at that moment was that 1972 Cashbox review of A Song For You. The comment about Ravel also implied that Jack directly influenced Richard’s arrangements. Who knows if that’s the case either, but it was the first time I’d ever heard it in that room.
Thanks for that. Like I said, I'm just going by my memory of the panel discussion at the time (still haven't watch the post yet) and my gut reaction was Mr. Findley was "disgruntled" over the whole Jack Daugherty affair decades before. I will watch the panel discussion again and see if time has tempered my initial reaction.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
If I can jump in here briefly, it is more than fair to say that Chuck does not have an accurate account of what happened when it came to Jack's actual role and involvement on the Carpenters records. And, I don't entirely blame him.

I recently watched an archived interview with musician Joe Porcaro, whose account of Jack Daugherty's role with the Carpenters was almost precisely the same account that Chuck gave. And Porcaro's recollection was told in a very calm, unassuming way.

It's what the public was allowed to believe based on Richard and Karen's respect for Jack, and the label.

Don't believe everything you hear. :)

As I said above, Jack Daugherty was a musician and among other musicians and session players, he was probably well-liked.

And just like with the Neil Sedaka incident, I feel there are always two sides to every story.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
It is interesting to return to the 13th Grammy awards and watch Richard thanking Jack:
"...needless-to-say, we couldn't have done it without our producer Jack Daugherty...."
Watch here:
 

JohnFB

Well-Known Member
I never saw this before and it's fascinating and 2 things stand out for me - I was aware of the Jack Daughery/Richard Carpenter "dustup" from Randy's book - watching and listening to Chuck Findley here I get the impression that he either wasn't aware of it, or forgot about it if he at one time did know about it, or simply had the impression that it was a minor "spat" that had very little significance at the time. In fact he talks about Jack as if many in the audience didn't know who he was...

The second thing that stands out for me is Paul Grein's remarks about The "Made In America" album and how he strongly feels that it should not have been recorded at all at that time in 1981, because Karen was not well or strong or healthy at that time and she really needed to concentrate exclusively on greatly improving her physical and emotional health and welfare then - he also hinted that if she had done this she would have sounded much better and maybe even surpassed her own high vocal standards - I'm in full agreement with this, although I think there wasn't much chance of that happening because she was just simply beyond all reason at that point with her totally irrational obsession with her weight control...
 

moog

Well-Known Member
I also find it odd that the insistence was made to Karen to get treatment for her eating disorder in 1979 instead of doing the solo album, but in 1981 when she was arguably *worse*, it was "let's get back in the studio to record 'Made in America'!" It feels sort of hypocritical.
 

Proudofyou

Well-Known Member
That's why it's called the music business. It's business. (but it's tough to remember when people are creating....especially at a young age for the first time on that level).
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
For some historical perspective....here is a glimpse into the recording industry of 1979:
"Unrealized Expectations...The success of those albums led to expectations last year that the record industry was about to explode into unparalleled sales figures. In anticipation of the traditionally lucrative Christmas selling season, the companies pressed millions of disks that in fact the public didn't buy; indeed, the poor figures of the 1978 Christmas season not only presaged the problem,
but also actually triggered it." "Signs of the industry problem include:
¶Massive returns of unsold records by retail outlets to the record companies.
¶Slumping sales reported by nearly all companies, after a growth rate that had averaged 20 percent a year,
including a slump in summer sales after a. five‐year period in which sales held steady all year..."
Entire article here:
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
I'm not sure I buy that Jack Daugherty story on producing the Carpenters. If anything, post Jack, Richard's arrangements and productions had the same classic elements as before but became even more polished and sophisticated. (The use of oboe, strings, style of piano etc.) Every act goes through a season where the public has had enough of the artist and moves on. The lessening of their sales post The Singles does not mean Richard wasn't as gifted as Jack as defenders of Jack may think.
 
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