Dear all, as a novice to this forum, I was searching for a while for a suitable thread where I could best “introduce myself”. After searching across the forum I found this thread, but rather than revitalizing that old conversation from 2007 I decided to start this new one. Over the past few months I have enjoyed reading the posts and stories about CarpenterS in this forum, and it was plain to me that sooner or later, I would need to come out here. Although my experience with CarpenterS is definitely a very recent one (bless those people who have been able to live to see the CarpenterS’ recording career at the time, or have been able to witness them in concert or even meet them in person), I feel that my personal experience, hearing the CarpenterS recordings with somewhat fresh and unbiased ears, might perhaps be of some interest to others here. I take much of my encouragement from the recurring and evolving discussions about the siblings’ recording career - discussions which never seem to fade out, and still produce amazing new insights and refreshing views after all the years that have gone by. Although my age is the same as the CarpenterS’ recording career, I only came to discover their music catalog rather recently, much like a matter of accident. My explanation for this is that for most of the time that I had spent as an active record-buyer or music-listener, CarpenterS were almost invisible or, at least, non-recognizable to me. In June 2014 I happened to listen to a CD by German veteran actor/singer Manfred Krug who, at the age of 63, published an album called “Schlafstörung” (= insomnia) including his favorite jazz and country covers. (Although Krug is well known in Germany, his name probably doesn’t mean anything to non-Germans.) Having been appealed by the tune “Close to You” (previously unbeknownst to me), which he delivered in German as “Nah bei Dir” using his self-penned lyrics, I also listened to German language covers of “This Masquerade” and “Still crazy after all these years”, both of which I only later discovered to have been recorded by the CarpenterS and KC as well. Fitting quite well with hindsight, the album also included two more Bacharach classics “Raindrops…” and “This Guy’s in Love with You”. OK, sounds fine – I thought. It took, however, only a couple of weeks more that I stumbled over a CD by the Italian “Big Band Ritmo Sinfonica Citta Di Verona”, whose Bacharach tribute album opened with – you can guess: “Close to You”. From that point I felt some restless need to find out which artist(s) or performer(s) were actually responsible for putting that famous song onto the map of music history. I actually turned out to be very confused to find out that the artists who accomplished exactly this were called “Carpenters”. I also learned that with “Close to you”, they had scored indeed a huge chart hit at the time. My confusion was caused by the question why I seemed to have completely missed out that striking relevant “Carpenters” piece in music history, and why I had never really heard much of this “Carpenters” band before. The only song I had ever really associated with “Carpenters” was “A Kind of Hush”, from which I now felt no intuitive connection to “Close to you”, neither stylistically nor emotionally. I remember once stumbling over AKOH on German radio in the mid-80s, but that song never caught on me. In those times, with peers being busy listening to the likes of Richie Blackmore or Pink Floyd, AKOH would unfortunately have been the last thing to capture the affection of the adolescent youth I was at the time. Besides, I had never ever heard anyone talking about or even mentioning the name “Carpenters” in my circle of friends and acquaintances - this was the mid-80s when there was plenty of talk about music on the schoolyards, particularly related to whether you were on the side of contemporary “pop” (synonymous to the emerging “synthie pop” at the time) or “rock” (meaning the tail end of the classic hard rock period and the rising tide of “heavy metal”.) In addition, no person I knew owned an album of “Carpenters”, and since the early 80s I also could not remember a single occasion where I would have seen “Carpenters” on German TV. Upon my discovery, the act “Carpenters”, who had obviously managed to cut a sonic masterpiece like “Close to You”, seemed a real mystery. Nevertheless, the spark was irreversibly set in me! Due to the sakes of the internet I quickly learned that CarpenterS were in fact a brother/sister act that had delivered an impressive recording career. After “Close to You”, which I enjoyed very much for its multi-layered vocals, my second CarpenterS experience was the video rendition of “Rainy Days and Mondays”. And this was a performance that finally struck right into my heart. I did not know that Karen Carpenter was actually a singer AND a drummer, and the way she delivered this piece, combining her sensual vocals with the smooth drumming built over the expression of the utterly sad and desperate lyrics… I clearly felt this was a singular piece of art, one that is delivered in a stylistic perfection that I had never heard in my life before, but also one that hits the very bottom of your soul. It seems a bit crazy, but discovering the CarpenterS' catalog piece by piece has been such an exhilarating adventure. Sometimes I felt like a little kid in the candy store, wondering what delicious treats might be around the next corner. At other times I felt rejuvenation and an increase in inner harmony, despite the ever-so bitter themes present throughout many songs, and they finally seemed to achieve in me some catharsis on the way to explaining the dark shades that everyone carries in their own soul. It has been so refreshing to listen to their high-quality recordings, and their ever so melodic tunes that it was easy to forget that I was actually listening to performances that were captured 40 and more years ago. Their recordings make such a stark contrast to today’s music, which I don’t generally despise but have nevertheless grown tired of due to their overproduced and stereotypic approach. Over the years, I had gradually widened my music taste from rock towards latin, r&b, jazz, classical and choral music, but this newly discovered “Carpenters” music was so fascinating to me in that it seemed to blend a whole range of musical worlds into single pop masterpieces. My next look into the CarpenterS unearthed the Bacharach medley, upon which I though “Bacharach, my god – they even dedicated a whole medley to him, so they must have been die-hard fans of his and, moreover, they must also have been very tasteful musically!” That piece, both in the album and the live versions, finally blew my mind. Their medley utterly excels at reverbing the combined restlessness and ecstatic feelings present in those great tunes. The album version is so uptight and flawlessly delivered, it grabbed my complete attention during first listening. If the album version ever lacks any musical expressiveness, their live rendition (1972 Australia remains my favorite) compensates for this completely. It is for me a prime example how the CarpenterS radiated their high musical spirits, and extraordinary devotion. Unfortunately, it did not take me long to find out the dark sides of the CarpenterS active career, which was cut short by KC’s untimely death. It was very sad for me to learn this, and it still remains inexplicable (more to be discussed maybe later), but at least this provided me some rationale for why I personally had never heard much about that “Carpenters” band since the mid-80s. After these initiating experiences several things were becoming clear to me. First, it was evident that I would have to obtain and listen to every CarpenterS album available, knowing that major musical acts can be experienced and judged best when listening to their complete albums. Second, I decided that I wanted to listen to the CarpenterS albums in chronological order of their appearance, i.e. starting with “Ticket to Ride/Offering” and terminating with “Made in America”. I also intended to leave some space of time after each album before listening to the next one. I thought that if I had already missed out the CarpenterS experience during my earlier life-time, then I wanted to recreate, even if belatedly and only partially authentic, the experience of absorbing their musical oevre in the very chronological sequence that RC and KC created it in the first place. What I can say now is that CarpenterS recordings have been spinning up and down my playback devices for half a year, and I have not grown tired any single bit. There is almost no day, which passes without listening to any of their recordings. I listen to CarpenterS on my bicycle, during travels, and even during work-out. (Featuring some of the slowest-paced tunes I have ever listened to during work-out, actually.) Yet, you do not need to worry about my mental health, because two months or so into the experience I succeeded in starting to listen to other musical artists again Gradually analyzing their material in more and more depth, I look forward to continue to participate in this forum! I would be really interested to hear if there have been other people who have only recently discovered CarpenterS. But I would, of course, be delighted to receive feedback from the senior members in this forum as well. Cheers from Germany!