• The new Carpenters recording with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is now available. Use this link to order, and help us out at the same time. Thank you!

"If I Were A Carpenter"

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
“I'm impressed with the whole project," he said.

He changed his tune about the album a few years later. In one interview I remember he said about at least one song that he now dislikes it intensely.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
“I'm impressed with the whole project," he said.

He changed his tune about the album a few years later. In one interview I remember he said about at least one song that he now dislikes it intensely.
Those are not necessarily contradictions at all. Being impressed with a "project" is not the same as liking the results. The fact that alternative artists got together (or were corralled together) to do a tribute to Carpenters is likely something that Richard would consider an honor and be impressed by the whole affair.

The fact that the music is not to his personal taste doesn't surprise me. Richard grew up in the 50s and wouldn't tend to like that kind of music.
 

Geographer

Well-Known Member
Those are not necessarily contradictions at all. Being impressed with a "project" is not the same as liking the results. The fact that alternative artists got together (or were corralled together) to do a tribute to Carpenters is likely something that Richard would consider an honor and be impressed by the whole affair.

The fact that the music is not to his personal taste doesn't surprise me. Richard grew up in the 50s and wouldn't tend to like that kind of music.
^^^^ What you said.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
The fact that the music is not to his personal taste doesn't surprise me. Richard grew up in the 50s and wouldn't tend to like that kind of music.
Its funny, but the other day I pulled this CD out and I was looking at the booklet, and I saw that Richard is credited with Backing Vocals on Matthew Sweet's version of Let Me Be The One.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
In another instance, where I completely agree with Richard Carpenter's assessment:
He expressed his opinion that the cover by Dishwalla, It's Going To Take Some Time,
was better than his and Karen's version.
(I'll have to dig up that reference, though, for authentication).
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
In another instance, where I completely agree with Richard Carpenter's assessment:
He expressed his opinion that the cover by Dishwalla, It's Going To Take Some Time,
was better than his and Karen's version.
(I'll have to dig up that reference, though, for authentication).
I'm sure I've read that as well and I'd agree - Dishwalla do a great job of reimagining 'It's Going to Take Some Time'.

Re Matthew Sweet's 'Let Me Be the One'. Richard did indeed provide backing vocals on the track. There was a short piece on TV about the album back in 1994 that showed footage of Richard in the studio with Matthew recording them.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
With Matthew Sweet's track, the one thing that is rather surprising is that Richard was not the one producing it. He was just singing on it. I think it's one of the few times if not the only time that I can think of where Richard was not a producer on someone else's record.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
John Bettis:
"Bettis, Richard's longtime lyricist, especially likes the fact that the album isn't "precious" about the Carpenters."
"I had the feeling for a while after Karen passed away that there was almost a handle-with-care attitude about it," he said. "I'm kind of glad--and I think Karen would be glad--that the kid gloves are off."
Source:
Trust Us, This Is Real : Fourteen alternative-rock groups have recorded versions of their favorite Carpenters songs. : Is this a joke? Not to them. The dark side of the Carpenters' American Dream isn't joke material.




I Agree , thank you Mr. John Bettis !
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
It’s time to look at the plus side of things. This project brought back some appeal and I did enjoy seeing the Carpenters recognized again. And, Dishwalla did an incredible version of It’s Going To Take Some Time!!
 

Jarred

Active Member
For me, there's honestly not much positively to say about this album. The performances are incredibly annoying for the most part (though Superstar is fascinating in its weirdness), and the whole concept was done as a mockery of the duo. Just look at the cover and tell me this was meant to be a sincere and respectful "tribute". The kitschy caricature photo with the overload of innocence and the music was sounds like modern 90s groups trying to "fix" the originals, it's just a mess. I don't think it did their old image any favors and this was when a critical re-evaluation was happening of their music with many critics/scholars yet you can't tell from hearing this.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
As I have written before, my niece (in her twenties)
had heard Sonic Youth's Superstar from the soundtrack of the movie Juno.
She has since collected Carpenters Vinyl albums.
And, when she saw my promo-Poster of the cover of
If I Were A Carpenter, she loved it (I, on the other hand, tolerate it).

So, in some small measure the Tribute album was not a disaster,
as it opened some eyes and ears to music which might otherwise have been ignored
by a younger demographic audience.
 

John Adam

Well-Known Member
I grew up in the 90's with many of the artists in this collection, and actually this prompted me to further investigate the Carpenter's music. Which of course is even better!

I liked the album cover was really retro. I have the box set of the 7-45's containing the 14 tracks on vinyl, which I proudly display with my Carpenters singles collection. The interpretations are interesting because for the most part they are not note for note copies of Richard's arrangements. My favorite tracks are Dishwalla-It's Going To Take Some Time, Mathew Sweet-Let Me Be The One, and Grant Lee Buffalo-We've Only just Begun.

But I think this collection might alienate most hardcore Carpenters fans!
 

Jarred

Active Member
I listened to the album once and never played it again. An excruciating experience.
It should never have been made, even if it's a time capsule on how people still viewed them in 1994/5. But also those years provided a artistic reevaluation of their work.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
A few Pros:
(1) The interpretation of It's Going To Take Some Time is brilliant.
Dishwalla is a breath of fresh air for that song.
(2) MTV routinely aired Sonic Youth's Superstar, which is an excellent video, as it also features Karen on her drums.
(3) As with the (awful--imho) 1988/89 Karen Carpenter Story ,CBS-TV Movie, this album
If I Were A Carpenter exposed the duo to a much wider circle of music enthusiasts and
the promotion of the album was exceptional for the day.

Why throw the baby out with the bathwater ?

 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
No one can fail to realize that my favorite of this album is
Dishwalla's inspired
It's Going To Take Some Time.....
Here is an advertisement, A&M Records 1994,
claiming that the cd has sold over 250,000 units.

Here:
DISHWALLA 1994 ad for The Carpenters hit "It's Going To Take Some Time" | eBay
I didn't realise they put that out as a single, although upon further research, it appears it was only ever a promo single for radio rather than a commercial release.

It looks like the tribute album's sales figures were subjected to the customary advertising puff of the A&M ad writers though - the 21 January 1995 issue of Billboard gives sales of only 148,000 for the album's first four months on release and I don't imagine it sold many more copies thereafter.

I know the album failed to meet A&M's sales expectations for it, although you could argue that they were being too optimistic for an album with almost no big-name participants. I get the impression that the album's main achievement was in getting critics (particularly in the US) to reappraise their music - I don't think the effect on the public was all that significant.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^I do believe that the much later Juno movie, and its soundtrack highlighting of
Sonic Youth's Superstar, affected the younger market (e.g., my nieces).
(10 Years Later: The Most Memorable 'Juno' Music Moments )

Here is LATimes on Dishwalla:
"The group got its big break with a 20-year-old song by the Carpenters. Fueled by a devotion to the duo's sweet pop, Dishwalla submitted an unsolicited track for the 1994 tribute album "If I Were a Carpenter"--a bold move for a group without a single record to its credit. Amazingly, Dishwalla's version of "It's Going to Take Some Time" won a spot on the album, alongside such big names as Sonic Youth and the Cranberries."
More:
Brooding Duality Pays Off for Dishwalla
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
^^I do believe that the much later Juno movie, and its soundtrack highlighting of
Sonic Youth's Superstar, affected the younger market (e.g., my nieces).
(10 Years Later: The Most Memorable 'Juno' Music Moments )

Here is LATimes on Dishwalla:
"The group got its big break with a 20-year-old song by the Carpenters. Fueled by a devotion to the duo's sweet pop, Dishwalla submitted an unsolicited track for the 1994 tribute album "If I Were a Carpenter"--a bold move for a group without a single record to its credit. Amazingly, Dishwalla's version of "It's Going to Take Some Time" won a spot on the album, alongside such big names as Sonic Youth and the Cranberries."
More:
Brooding Duality Pays Off for Dishwalla
This was by far the best song on the album. It added spark and creativity while still creating a sing along version that kept the listener coming back for more. Plus, the lead singer’s voice is outstanding!
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I remember when I got the album around 98 I had no idea who the artists were on the album. The only group I recognized was The Cranberries. I wonder what would’ve happened had Michael Bolton been on the album? Considering 1994 was right in the middle of his first run of hits, it would’ve been interesting to have heard his take on a Carpenters track. I wonder if it might’ve been something like Matthew Sweet’s “Let Me Be The One” (based on Bolton’s “Timeless” album).
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
I remember when I got the album around 98 I had no idea who the artists were on the album. The only group I recognized was The Cranberries. I wonder what would’ve happened had Michael Bolton been on the album? Considering 1994 was right in the middle of his first run of hits, it would’ve been interesting to have heard his take on a Carpenters track. I wonder if it might’ve been something like Matthew Sweet’s “Let Me Be The One” (based on Bolton’s “Timeless” album).
I think Michael Bolton would have been one of the last artists who'd have been asked to contribute to an 'alternative' tribute album - whilst he was pretty successful, his image and critical standing were almost as bad in the early 1990s as Karen and Richard's was back in the 1970s.
 
Top Bottom