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"If I Were A Carpenter"


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I'm spinning this 1994 album, again.
I do like the insert photos of Karen and Richard within.
I do like some of these renditions...a few notes...
Redd Kross' Yesterday Once More, for instance, is a winner . (IMHO)
Goodbye To Love, American Music Club, is quite interesting, rather good.
Do not care for Babes in Toyland's interpretation of Calling Occupants.
Very difficult to get through Cracker's Rainy Days and Mondays.....not my thing.
Love Dishwalla, they outdid themselves with It's Going to Take Some Time.
Shonen Knife's Top of The World, catchy, but vocally falls flat to my ears.
Superstar, by Sonic Youth,not bad and rather interesting. The Video is quite nice as it shows a radiant Karen on drums.
Cranberries add nothing to Close To You, to my ears. I do like how they ended the song, though.
For All We Know, Bettie Serveert, not my thing.
Again, Cheryl Crowe's Solitaire just does not do anything for me.
Johnette Napolitano, with Hurting Each Other, altogether not bad, rather interesting.
The Mathew Sweet and Grant Lee Buffalo, Let Me Be The One and We've Only Just Begun, respectively...nice.

I did not at all like this cd when first I heard it in 1994. (Excepting: Dishwalla)
Well, I suppose I've changed.
It is an interesting attempt to pay homage to this most unique of duos, Carpenters.


Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Thread Starter
I agree that the cover is a bit too tongue and cheek. The sleeves are too. The cover is intended to be humorous with the big eyes and the inner booklet stuff is snarky with nothing but toothy grins from various photos.

The idea of a drawing for the cover doesn't bother me but it could have been a bit more serious as to present Carpenters as serious artists rather than a kitschy joke. 'Course, Babes in Toyland didn't do that perception any favors with their awful, non-serious version of the Klaatu tune.



Well-Known Member
As an aside:
Carpenters' Tools
October 16, 1994
Regarding "Trust Us, This Is Real," on the alternative-music album tribute to the Carpenters (Sept. 11):
Writer Paul Grein's question "And what does the man who produced and arranged the Carpenters' long string of hits think of 'If I Were a Carpenter'?" was posed to the wrong person. The man who produced the lion's share of the Carpenters hits was my late father, Jack Daugherty.
Daugherty, then a staff producer at A&M Records, produced the Carpenters' first five albums and first 10 singles, all of which went gold and most of which have probably gone platinum by now. Nine of 12 tracks on their quadruple-platinum greatest hits collection "The Singles 1969-1973" were produced by Daugherty, a 10th track co-produced by Daugherty and the Carpenters.
Perhaps Grein's question is excusable. If Ray Coleman's biography "The Carpenters--The Untold Story" is any indication, Richard Carpenter seems intent on trivializing Daugherty's inestimable influence in the creation of the Carpenters' sound.
The purpose of my writing is to draw attention to Daugherty's achievements as one of the most successful producers of that era.
My father would have enjoyed knowing that the sound he fashioned more than 20 years ago continues to be appreciated by so many. As he wasn't a huge fan of modern music, he also would have appreciated the irony in the fact that 11 of the 14 titles on "If I Were a Carpenter" are remakes of songs that he produced.

Los Angeles



I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Perhaps Grein's question is excusable. If Ray Coleman's biography "The Carpenters--The Untold Story" is any indication, Richard Carpenter seems intent on trivializing Daugherty's inestimable influence in the creation of the Carpenters' sound.
I think 'inestimable influence' in the creation of their sound is a gross exaggeration. Richard had that sound in his head in the mid 1960s, before he'd ever worked with Jack Daugherty.

The purpose of my writing is to draw attention to Daugherty's achievements as one of the most successful producers of that era.
Until I got into the Carpenters, I'd never heard of Jack Daugherty and Coleman alludes to the fact that A&M bosses wondered what he actually did once his role as 'producer' was taken away from him.

My father would have enjoyed knowing that the sound he fashioned more than 20 years ago continues to be appreciated by so many.
This line is just absolute nonsense. He had nothing to do with fashioning their sound for the reason I mention above. Although I appreciate Michael Daugherty is just trying to defend his father's reputation, most of what he says in this article is at best fanciful and at worst completely untrue. Thanks for posting though, good to read the whole article :)


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Thanks, Stephen, for perusal of that bit from LA Times regarding Jack Daugherty.
My Question, as always--that is,not only in reference to the Tribute album---
What, precisely, did Jack Daugherty DO ?
Was he of any import to those early albums and singles, or not?
After all, in the 13th Grammy Awards Program from 1970, at ( 1:35 ) Richard says:
" ..we couldn't do it, needless to say, without our producer Jack Daugherty..."
And, Karen thanks him, again, on the 14th Grammy Show (at 3:44).
And, The Singles 1969-1973 Album has Nine tracks produced by Daugherty, Two tracks produced
by Karen and Richard, One track produced by all three.
Can anyone explain to me exactly what he did on those early Carpenters--(the most successful of)---recordings?
I suppose this falls under the precise meaning of terms, such as : Producer, Associate Producer....


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My understanding was Jack was an admin man, making contacts and contracts with players and song licensing etc. Booking studio time. All admin, not creative.


I Know My First Name Is Stephen
After all, in the 13th Grammy Awards Program from 1970, at ( 1:35 ) Richard says:
" ..we couldn't do it, needless to say, without our producer Jack Daugherty..."
And, Karen thanks him, again, on the 14th Grammy Show (at 3:44).
It's actually sad how they seem to have fallen out of favour with him in such a short space of time. They were fawning all over him in 1970 and he was fired by 1972. I don't really know why they didn't just keep him on to do what he'd been doing anyway, which is all the administrative and logistical work associated with recording albums as mentioned by mstaft above. To fire him seems a little harsh to me and resulted in a nine year legal battle which ended up in court. Sad really. What I do remember reading is that after all that, Daugherty showed up for Karen's funeral, an act which Richard found moving.
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Not to take anything away from Richard Carpenter's musical genius' contributions on the albums,
it seems to me that --unless he had training in production and recording of records previous to April 1969--
Richard could not have 'whole-cloth' gone into the studio and immediately taken up the reins.
Jack Daugherty had to have been instrumental in doing something.
Bettis: "How Richard was able to put together that album (A Song For You) is an absolute miracle. (Coleman, page 135)
After Jack Duagherty was fired, the albums took longer and longer to do.
(It had been hovering around three months--or, less, to complete an album)
Now & Then credits both Karen and Richard Carpenter in production duties.
John Bettis, again, in Coleman: "..gained its format as a retrospective of Richard's favorite oldies..he didn't have the time." (ibid.,139)
1974: Richard--"No time to make one. Nor was I in the mood." (ibid.,page 137)
And, as Karen says, Richard was at his 'worst' state she had ever seen him in, when producing Horizon.
And, (ibid., page 137) Richard: "...Sherwin said I looked close to a nervous breakdown..."
My point is perhaps Richard bit off more than he could chew, thus,
I concur with you, Stephen.

Don Malcolm

Well-Known Member
For a bit more background on Jack Daugherty, there is this Wikipedia link:


It would be interesting to hear the other albums that he produced, if only to get a sense of what he might actually have brought to the control room vis-a-vis Richard & Karen.

Richard clearly had training and experience from his days observing and producing demo recordings with Joe Osborn. The transition, if I've got it right, was from three-track machines to eight-track with Offering.

Chris May, this would be a great place for us to see some more of those work logs. We know that Jack handled organizing the sessions, but we don't know what he might have contributed beyond that--except possibly in contracting musicians who would be most compatible with the material. Did Richard arrange the strings? Were these tracks recorded as live "backing"? With Karen on drums, was she laying down those parts prior to singing? Same with Richard on the tracks where he has vocal leads?

Some further investigation into those details might also shed some light on just what Jack Daugherty was doing for them.


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People Magazine, 9/19/94:
Picks and Pans Review: If I Were a Carpenter
Various Artists
"Seems like we have celebrated the 25th anniversary of just about everything this year. The first moon landing. Stonewall. Woodstock. And now, believe it or not, the 1969 signing of siblings Karen and Richard Carpenter to A&M Records. The label observes that milestone by inviting 14 of today's hottest alternative artists (from the Cranberries and Sheryl Crow to Japan's female rock trio Shonen Knife) to pay their respects to the pop duo. You don't have to dig Karen's syrupy alto to appreciate the results. Sonic Youth delivers a whirling, zonked-out rendition of "Superstar," and 4 Non Blondes does an impassioned, verging on histrionic version of "Bless the Beasts and Children." The album might be more satisfying if some mainstreamers had joined in—imagine Lisa Stansfield embracing "Touch Me When We're Dancing" with her blue-eyed soul. In the end, If I Were a Carpenter is more likely to please alternative rock's 20-something constituency than die-hard Carpenter fanatics. (A&M) "




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March 3, 1995 (excerpts from ) Michigan Daily:
" ...how can an entire album of covers by a dozen, or so, bands possibly be consistent ( worth the money)?"
"...This problem is amplified when the tributed (sic.) artist is of marginal talent,like say, the Carpenters.."
"Surprisingly, this album, manages to rise above the mostly dated, banal, material..."
"American Music Club...impressive and listenable feat (Goodbye To Love)."
"Shonen Knife...reworks into a Japanese pop-nugget (Top Of The World)."
"Sonic Youth's marvelously gruesomely implosive cover (Superstar)."
"...icky Dishwalla doing a grungy version. ..(It's Going to Take Some Time)."
"...Cranberries lay off the trickle...(Close To You). "
"Napolitano hurting everyone's ears (Hurting Each Other)."
"Babes In Toyland flounder..."
"Cracker, Mathew Sweet...pull the album out of 'alternative' hell (sic.) with thoughtful covers..."
"...has its crappy moments, unlike some Tribute Album's it occasionally satisfies..."

Entire Article:


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I think this project gets too much flack. I agree with GaryAlan on dislike and likes on the song selection. It was nice to hear the interviews on TV from Sonic Youth and it was great to see Dishwalla singing a great version of It's Going To Take Some Time that should have had Carole King want to join in! JR Richards from Dishwalla has an awesome voice and is the best voice on the album which is what attracts me to

Matthew Sweet's selections made me want to play the Carpenters along side them.

To see the Carpenters get solid credit from the new rise of artists was incredible.



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Gainesville Sun, September 20, 1994:
Album Saluting the Carpenters Manages to Maintain Their Tone
"The Carpenters have continued to be money-makers for A&M Records..."
" As handled by singers with a more raw style, Karen Carpenter's songs
are freer to loose the demons that subtly pent up in her songs..."
"Something deeper is touched in this collection..."
"When this tribute album rocks, its entirely in character..."
"Sonic Youth's is one of the best, almost eerie version of Superstar..."
"Cracker's Rainy Days and Mondays cuts to the despair of the original..."
"Cranberries Close To You hints at a kind of paranoia..."
"Shonen Knife brings the right amount of sunshine to Top of The World..."
Grant Lee Buffalo's We've Only Just Begun, goes out of its way to include the kind
of layered harmonies of the first...."
"Just about the only cut that doesn't work is Mathew Sweet's Let Me Be The One,
possibly because Richard Carpenter is on hand playing keyboards and singing background...."
"This may be a lesson for tribute albums overall, this album succeeds not just on the quality of the songs,
but in the freedom used to interpret them."

Entire Article:


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The new thread entitled Least Favorite Track from each Carpenters album has me ruminating.
On the A Song For You album, so far, It's Going To Take Some Time, seems to be
a stickler (and, I admit I do not like their version--or, King's-- of the song....but, since Karen sings it,
I could not count it as "my least favorite" on the album !).
Now, to this album... I am delighted to say the song is quite redeemed !
Dishwalla with It's Going To Take Some Time.....is my favorite track on this album !


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Chris May

Resident 'Carpenterologist'
Staff member
I actually own a sealed box set of the 45s that went along with this release as well as the CD. The artwork IS pretty impressive...


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April 15, 1995, Billboard Magazine (page 14):
"...even more surprising, Dishwalla's It' Going To Take Some Time
became one of the tribute album's more popular songs at radio."
September 28,1996, Billboard Magazine (page 10):
" Shonen Knife recorded an inspired version of Top of The World
for Carpenters' Tribute album in 1994, which Microsoft chose as the theme song
earlier this year for TV Ad Campaign airing in US and Japan."

Sales of Tribute Album as of January 5th, 1995: 148,000 copies. (debut 9/11/94)
(Billboard Magazine, 1/21/95,page 83).


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Transcript from NPR Interview 2009:

Q: So, do you know the Sonic Youth version (sic. Superstar) which was also referred to in the movie "Juno?"
A:Richard Carpenter "Yes I do."

Gross: What'd you think of it?
Mr. Carpenter:" I don't like it."

Gross: Why don't you like it?
Mr. Carpenter: " Why would I like it?'



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October 21,1994,Orlando Sentinel:
Grant Lee Buffalo,
Mighty Joe Moon (Reprise/Slash):
Grant Lee Buffalo is the kind of band that can accuse
America of snoring on its debut, last year's Fuzzy, then toss off....
an eerily moving cover of ''We've Only Just Begun'' on the new Carpenters tribute,
If I Were a Carpenter
On Mighty Joe Moon, its second effort, the trio once again combines innocence with cynicism and melodic hooks with disturbing imagery. Frontman-songwriter Grant Lee Phillips alternates between a world-weary tenor and a plaintive falsetto, creating a landscape of fallen heroes, shattered myths and meandering relationships. On the album's opening cut, ''Lonestar Song,'' Phillips ruefully observes, ''There's a bullet in the heart of Texas.'' The main character in the album's title track jumps off a bridge with ''shoes to swim.'' ''In Honey Don't Think,'' he tells his lover that if she tries to read his mind, she'll be ''reading in the dark.'' Bassist-pianist Paul Kimble and drummer Joey Peters provide appropriately spare arrangements for Phillips' complex lyrics.
Mighty Joe Moon is a haunting record that finds beauty in despair.
In Phillips' world,
even angels have their demons - like Karen Carpenter... star with the perfect songs."


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Stone Temple Pilots were approached for the tribute cd :
Stone Temple Pilots Talk Singer Search: ‘We Honor Scott Every Night We Play These Songs’
" I noticed a couple of different influences there that I don’t think people would even realize.
One is Morrison, and on the mellower side, the more ballad side of our music,
I hear a lot of Karen Carpenter.
He’s got that same inflection that she had.
We discussed our love for the Carpenters, and his love for her voice,
and that really went back to his choir years.
He really had that same inflection that she had, they shared that.”

Entire Article:
Stone Temple Pilots Talk Singer Search: 'We Honor Scott Every Night We Play These Songs' »
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