• 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.

Future CD reissues?

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Universal Japan is reissuing Carpenters Christmas Portrait, original version, like the German disc, and Old Fashioned Christmas as well on November 11th. Available for preorder on Amazon.
No information given, but you can see the titles on the C.P. cover are the same as the original album. I’m still hoping for the RPO set this year too.
Considering that the original album masters no longer exist (or does the 80’s digital U-Matic master that A&M West Germany made still exist? Or do the glass masters made back then still exist and Japan is just pressing the CD’s from those?) , I wonder if they are going to just rip an old West German CD and use that, or did they get Richard to go back to the original individual tapes and mix each to the 1978 mix?
 

Matthew Smith

Well-Known Member
From the Universal Japan website, translated by iPhone:
“The Carpenters is the ninth studio album and the first Christmas album. Released in 1978. Let's hear a lot of classic Christmas songs with their own beautiful harmony. Among the songs included, "Merry Christmas Darling" is the only original song and the first Christmas single released in 1970.”

“Happy Christmas -Christmas Album Masterpieces-

A full lineup of Christmas albums by wonderful artists.

In addition to masterpieces that are loved as classics, we also pick up difficult to obtain and the world's first CD!

A limited edition that can be obtained only in this season will be released for 1500 yen including tax!”
 

Murray

Well-Known Member
Universal Japan is reissuing Carpenters Christmas Portrait, original version, like the German disc, and Old Fashioned Christmas as well on November 11th. Available for preorder on Amazon.
No information given, but you can see the titles on the C.P. cover are the same as the original album. I’m still hoping for the RPO set this year too.
Is it the original version, as on the LP and German CD, or will it be the remixed version that's on disc 1 of the "Christmas Collection"?
 

1969

Active Member
Universal Japan is reissuing Carpenters Christmas Portrait, original version, like the German disc, and Old Fashioned Christmas as well on November 11th. Available for preorder on Amazon.
No information given, but you can see the titles on the C.P. cover are the same as the original album. I’m still hoping for the RPO set this year too.
This is welcome news for me. I've been looking for the original German disc 1st press version. Do you have a link for the preorder? I don't see it on US Amazon site so I assume this is Amazon.jp?
 

GDBY2LV

Well-Known Member
Type in Carpenters Christmas cd on Amazon search, and scroll down. They are both there. $19.99 ea. 👍
 
So why don't the original album masters still exist? Were they lost in that Universal fire where they say almost nothing was lost? Or is there some other reason?
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
So why don't the original album masters still exist? Were they lost in that Universal fire where they say almost nothing was lost? Or is there some other reason?
The original 1/4-inch US master decimated over time, as discovered by mastering engineer Bernie Grundman back in the mid-late 90s.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
The original 1/4-inch US master decimated over time, as discovered by mastering engineer Bernie Grundman back in the mid-late 90s.
I thought it was in the late-80’s that the issue was discovered (due to poor storage in West Germany, and most likely the Ampex tape shred syndrome issue), hence why Richard had to remix all the Christmas Portrait tracks in 1989-92 for their appearance on From The Top & Time-Life’s Christmas with the Carpenters. The only track remixes in the mid-90’s was “White Christmas Medley” because the whole medley had not been remixed in 1989-92, only “White Christmas”.
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
I thought it was in the late-80’s that the issue was discovered (due to poor storage in West Germany, and most likely the Ampex tape shred syndrome issue), hence why Richard had to remix all the Christmas Portrait tracks in 1989-92 for their appearance on From The Top & Time-Life’s Christmas with the Carpenters. The only track remixes in the mid-90’s was “White Christmas Medley” because the whole medley had not been remixed in 1989-92, only “White Christmas”.
Basically, the entire Portrait album got a remix in 1990 because Richard felt the mixes could have been better than they were originally in ‘78. And as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, he admits that he was talked into the overuse of reverb by the late Roger Young, remix engineer on the Christmas tracks.
 

Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
I thought it was in the late-80’s that the issue was discovered (due to poor storage in West Germany, and most likely the Ampex tape shred syndrome issue), hence why Richard had to remix all the Christmas Portrait tracks in 1989-92 for their appearance on From The Top & Time-Life’s Christmas with the Carpenters. The only track remixes in the mid-90’s was “White Christmas Medley” because the whole medley had not been remixed in 1989-92, only “White Christmas”.

Tapes can be brought back from Sticky Shed Syndrome; they just need to be baked. That's not a deal killer by any means. If they were "rough passed" with silicone or something, then it really is a dealbreaker.

P.S.: Sticky Shed isn't just an Ampex issue. I've seen it on Scotch too.

Ed
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Tapes can be brought back from Sticky Shed Syndrome; they just need to be baked. That's not a deal killer by any means. If they were "rough passed" with silicone or something, then it really is a dealbreaker.

P.S.: Sticky Shed isn't just an Ampex issue. I've seen it on Scotch too.

Ed
Not all the time. There have been cases where the oxide has simply peeled away from the backing (Sticky-shed syndrome - Wikipedia), and the tape is unrecoverable, even with baking.
But I remember on this forum a quote from Richard saying how in 1988-89, when they were going to do all the Christmas Portrait tracks for the upcoming From The Top, it was discovered that in 1983-84, when A&M West Germany requested the master for the West German CD release, someone at A&M, instead of sending a copy, sent the first-gen album master and it was improperly stored in Europe, thus causing the tapes to become unplayable. Plus there’s the odd reason that 16.66 tracks out of the album’s 17 were completely remixed in the 88-92 time period, but not all were released (Carol of the Bells & Jingle Bells were remixed at this time but were not included in the Time-Life CD, and would not appear until 1996 on the Christmas Collection).
It appears that the 2-track masters for CP no longer existed in usable condition by 1989.
 

Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Not all the time. There have been cases where the oxide has simply peeled away from the backing (Sticky-shed syndrome - Wikipedia), and the tape is unrecoverable, even with baking.
But I remember on this forum a quote from Richard saying how in 1988-89, when they were going to do all the Christmas Portrait tracks for the upcoming From The Top, it was discovered that in 1983-84, when A&M West Germany requested the master for the West German CD release, someone at A&M, instead of sending a copy, sent the first-gen album master and it was improperly stored in Europe, thus causing the tapes to become unplayable. Plus there’s the odd reason that 16.66 tracks out of the album’s 17 were completely remixed in the 88-92 time period, but not all were released (Carol of the Bells & Jingle Bells were remixed at this time but were not included in the Time-Life CD, and would not appear until 1996 on the Christmas Collection).
It appears that the 2-track masters for CP no longer existed in usable condition by 1989.

Improper storage doesn't destroy tapes. Even mildew won't do it. I deal with this stuff for a living so I get it. You'd be amazed what baking can bring back to life. Even the most water-damaged and improperly-stored tapes can be brought back. Likely, someone tried to pass the tape without baking it first. If a tape needs to be baked and it isn't, it can stretch, oxide (the sound itself) can flake off, or even worse - it can break. Sticky Shed wasn't always known either. Some tapes died as a result of this ignorance when trying to transfer them to the digital domain. The "Empire Strikes Back" soundtrack's 2-channel master fell victim to this. I wasn't there but that seems likely.

Ed
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Improper storage doesn't destroy tapes. Even mildew won't do it. I deal with this stuff for a living so I get it. You'd be amazed what baking can bring back to life. Even the most water-damaged and improperly-stored tapes can be brought back. Likely, someone tried to pass the tape without baking it first. If a tape needs to be baked and it isn't, it can stretch, oxide (the sound itself) can flake off, or even worse - it can break. Sticky Shed wasn't always known either. Some tapes died as a result of this ignorance when trying to transfer them to the digital domain. The "Empire Strikes Back" soundtrack's 2-channel master fell victim to this. I wasn't there but that seems likely.

Ed
I work with sticky shed syndrome tapes (especially AMPEX U-Matics) as well, and baking doesn’t always work and storage plays a major factor in it. Plus where in the world it’s stored. If it’s an area that has really dry air (like the Middle East or Africa) and it’s not stored in an air conditioned room, then it’s a shot in the dark. Plus I’ve seen tapes where, even after baking they still had dropouts that made the tape worthless, and a lower quality copy (I.E. with video formats like VHS & Betamax) had to be used as the master.
 

Geographer

Well-Known Member
Universal Japan is reissuing Carpenters Christmas Portrait, original version, like the German disc, and Old Fashioned Christmas as well on November 11th. Available for preorder on Amazon.
No information given, but you can see the titles on the C.P. cover are the same as the original album. I’m still hoping for the RPO set this year too.
Fantastic and perfect timing! I just moved and when unpacking my extensive Carpenters CD collection, I noticed my OFC missingI Glad I can replace it!
 

Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
I work with sticky shed syndrome tapes (especially AMPEX U-Matics) as well, and baking doesn’t always work and storage plays a major factor in it. Plus where in the world it’s stored. If it’s an area that has really dry air (like the Middle East or Africa) and it’s not stored in an air conditioned room, then it’s a shot in the dark. Plus I’ve seen tapes where, even after baking they still had dropouts that made the tape worthless, and a lower quality copy (I.E. with video formats like VHS & Betamax) had to be used as the master.

Oh for sure. Videotape (UMatic stuff) is a bit different from analog reels. Dropouts just KILL video. There used to be almost no way to hide it apart from editing out the offending bits. Course now with digital tools, things can be done to fix, though I'm no expert with video restoration. With analog audio reels, lost oxide results in diminished frequency response but at least there's some representation of the sound that still remains. If the tape is stretched or it breaks, forget it. As you said, you then have to go with the next best thing (i.e. some EQ-limited copy or worse, a mass-produced copy.)

Dry is not the enemy of analog audio reels; moisture is. Still, I've seen tapes go through floods that have been resuscitated sufficiently to be transferred into the digital domain. 'Course, anytime one needs to transfer the tape, it'll need to be baked again. Sticky shed can never be totally cured. I have tapes here myself that, while I'll never dispose of them, would have to be baked again to be transferred. They suffer from the storage issue you describe, though they were kept in moist conditions, not dry ones. They were even given the dreaded "silicone pass," yet somehow, they've survived. It defies all reason but I'm glad to still have them.

Ed
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Oh for sure. Videotape (UMatic stuff) is a bit different from analog reels. Dropouts just KILL video. There used to be almost no way to hide it apart from editing out the offending bits. Course now with digital tools, things can be done to fix, though I'm no expert with video restoration. With analog audio reels, lost oxide results in diminished frequency response but at least there's some representation of the sound that still remains. If the tape is stretched or it breaks, forget it. As you said, you then have to go with the next best thing (i.e. some EQ-limited copy or worse, a mass-produced copy.)

Dry is not the enemy of analog audio reels; moisture is. Still, I've seen tapes go through floods that have been resuscitated sufficiently to be transferred into the digital domain. 'Course, anytime one needs to transfer the tape, it'll need to be baked again. Sticky shed can never be totally cured. I have tapes here myself that, while I'll never dispose of them, would have to be baked again to be transferred. They suffer from the storage issue you describe, though they were kept in moist conditions, not dry ones. They were even given the dreaded "silicone pass," yet somehow, they've survived. It defies all reason but I'm glad to still have them.

Ed
U-Matics were used for early digital audio as well—-that’s how CD’s were mastered from the early 80’s to late-90’s and some houses still accept CD masters that way. So a lot of early digitally recorded audio has been lost because of sticky shed. But I’ve seen analog audio recorded on both U-Matic and Betamax—-there was no video. These were 2-channel mixed down tapes for album mastering that were using the analog audio tracks on the U-Matic and the Hi-Fi audio track on the Betamax (there was also the mono audio on the Beta, but even that was affected by the sticky shed). And even with baking, there were still dropouts on the tracks.
 

Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
U-Matics were used for early digital audio as well—-that’s how CD’s were mastered from the early 80’s to late-90’s and some houses still accept CD masters that way. So a lot of early digitally recorded audio has been lost because of sticky shed. But I’ve seen analog audio recorded on both U-Matic and Betamax—-there was no video. These were 2-channel mixed down tapes for album mastering that were using the analog audio tracks on the U-Matic and the Hi-Fi audio track on the Betamax (there was also the mono audio on the Beta, but even that was affected by the sticky shed). And even with baking, there were still dropouts on the tracks.

We're talking about two completely different things. I'm talking about ¼-inch half-track audio reels; you're talking U-matic. The two types of tape are quite different. Analog Carpenters masters were exist or existed on ¼-inch half track. Those are the tapes that can almost always be saved by baking and other techniques - even if in a flood.

Ed
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
We're talking about two completely different things. I'm talking about ¼-inch half-track audio reels; you're talking U-matic. The two types of tape are quite different. Analog Carpenters masters were exist or existed on ¼-inch half track. Those are the tapes that can almost always be saved by baking and other techniques - even if in a flood.

Ed
No those two types of tape are quite the same. Both 1/4-inch audio reels and U-Matic used ferric oxide tape, and they would be cut from the same 6-to-8-foot reel before being spooled onto their respective reels.
 

CarpentersToYou

Somehow you brought the gambler out in me...
Man, this is the cheapest order I've ever had from CD Japan for a Carpenters release. Both Xmas CDs and I used a coupon and my total - shipped - is $22. Looks like there's not a lot of copies left.
 
Top Bottom