• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are in the pipeline! The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy will be available on November 16, 2021 and 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 being released January 14, 2022, and is available for ordering here.

Initial thoughts on the "upgraded" Carpenters Christmas album

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
I’m sorry, but I don’t remember…did the Christmas albums’ multitracks survive the fire?
I believe many of those masters did. However, everything has more or less been backed up and would likely be mixed digitally anyway—like with the RPO project.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I’m sorry, but I don’t remember…did the Christmas albums’ multitracks survive the fire?
Considering that the only Christmas track on the SACD was Merry Christmas, Darling (or “Daring” 🤣) Richard would’ve had no need for the original Christmas multi-tracks in 2004, let alone the tapes for An Old-Fashioned Christmas. The last time Richard touched those would’ve been in 1996 when he Remixed the Winter Wonderland Medley (all the other CP tracks were Remixed between 1990 & 1992). So the original, analog master tapes, with the exception of MCD, most likely still exist.

Now then the original 2-track stereo album master for Christmas Portrait has not existed since the late-1980’s, hence why the West German CD is so prized, and the Special Edition is still a collectible thing for fans, and why Richard did a massive Remix project from 1990-1996 in order to get CP on CD.


I don't think so.... because the first one, as you know, consists mostly of major chart hits. Another volume would not have nearly as many hits, and the hits are always the driver for sales of compilation albums. (I know most of us here don't consider the RPO album to be a compilation album, considering a lot of it was re-recorded.....but it's still a compilation album in the strictest sense.)

Let’s see there’s still:

It’s Going To Take Some Time
-I Won’t Last A Day
-Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) —-while it may not have hit the charts, it’s still easily one of their most identifiable Christmas hits—-much more than Santa.
-Sing (I’m kind of surprised this wasn’t on RPO1)
—Please Mr. Postman (considering this was a bonus on RPO 1 for certain regions, it could go on RPO2, otherwise Horizon wasn’t represented)
-Only Yesterday
-Solitaire
-A Kind of Hush
-Goofus (might be a “Baby It’s You” track)
-All You Get From Love (Richard did chart this for RPO 1 but didn’t record it)
-Sweet, Sweet Smile
 

Joeyesterday

Well-Known Member
I believe many of those masters did. However, everything has more or less been backed up and would likely be mixed digitally anyway—like with the RPO project.
Thanks Chris. So much can be done these days with ProTools, that “tweaking” these tracks should give us very exciting results.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
I, for one, would love to see an improvement on the Christmas Portrait part of the Christmas Collection CD set. I wonder how many of us play the German release more.
I consider the German CP Cd the definitive version. It’s the most played Christmas album each season for me and even in July. I never play the Special Edition and don’t even consider that release “special”. I do play the Time Life set a lot that one I consider special as it’s just all Karen one after the other but don’t care for that remix of MCD. I also don’t play the Christmas Collection Cd at all.

I have 2 original German CP cds (an extra just in case) 🎄
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
Let’s see there’s still:

It’s Going To Take Some Time
-I Won’t Last A Day
-Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) —-while it may not have hit the charts, it’s still easily one of their most identifiable Christmas hits—-much more than Santa.
-Sing (I’m kind of surprised this wasn’t on RPO1)
—Please Mr. Postman (considering this was a bonus on RPO 1 for certain regions, it could go on RPO2, otherwise Horizon wasn’t represented)
-Only Yesterday
-Solitaire
-A Kind of Hush
-Goofus (might be a “Baby It’s You” track)
-All You Get From Love (Richard did chart this for RPO 1 but didn’t record it)
-Sweet, Sweet Smile

OK, fair enough.... I should have said MAJOR chart hits.

If you take out the Christmas songs and the song that's already been released, you're only left with 9 songs, and one of them is most people's least favorite Carpenters single ever, and Richard doesn't like Solitaire (or was that Karen?), and a few of the others were just mid-chart hits. Only 3 of those songs made the top 10 in the US, and none made it in Japan (one of the biggest foreign markets).

I'm not saying an RPO2 wouldn't be a good thing, it's just not likely to sell in the numbers that RPO1 did because of a lack of MAJOR chart hits.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
OK, fair enough.... I should have said MAJOR chart hits.

If you take out the Christmas songs and the song that's already been released, you're only left with 9 songs, and one of them is most people's least favorite Carpenters single ever, and Richard doesn't like Solitaire (or was that Karen?), and a few of the others were just mid-chart hits. Only 3 of those songs made the top 10 in the US, and none made it in Japan (one of the biggest foreign markets).

I'm not saying an RPO2 wouldn't be a good thing, it's just not likely to sell in the numbers that RPO1 did because of a lack of MAJOR chart hits.
I kind of just went to the end of the 70’s there. But in Japan The Rainbow Connection was a pretty big hit back in 2001, also they had Tryin’ To Get The Feeling in the UK.

But for a 2nd RPO, I wonder what Richard might do with (Want You) Back In My Life Again. In 1981 that was the most 80’s sounding track in their catalog. What would he do with it in 2021-22?

Or how about a RPO version of Ave Maria or If I Had You or Who Do You Love?
 

Kyle Thomas

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
I know there's a lot of excitement about the possibility of more songs being given the RPO treatment, and I'd be the first in line to purchase whatever Richard sees fit to do.

But an idea I keep returning to is an album filled with songs that are stripped down to their essence, perhaps just Karen's voice with the piano, or a few instruments (as if she were in a lounge with a jazz band). No harmonies or strings. Just that voice and those gorgeous melodies, given a new setting -- Norah Jones-like.

One of the striking elements often mentioned regarding Karen Carpenter's voice is the clarity and intimacy -- her "presence." It's something that is showcased in a number of their top hits and album cuts. I know it's unlikely we'd ever see a release like that, but here's the playlist of songs that I think would fit that atmosphere well.

1. A Song for You
2. This Masquerade
3. Make Believe It's Your First Time (solo version is almost there anyway)
4. From This Moment On
5. Ordinary Fool
6. Our Day Will Come
7. Yesterday Once More (TV version of Karen, with Richard on the piano) / segue into the "Make Your Own Kind of Music" medley of songs with Karen and piano only, if there's any possible way of getting a studio version of that selection)
8. I Can Dream, Can't I?
9. Something's Missing
10. One More Time
11. Last One Singin' the Blues (this one is close to that effect already too)
12. Sometimes
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
But an idea I keep returning to is an album filled with songs that are stripped down to their essence, perhaps just Karen's voice with the piano, or a few instruments (as if she were in a lounge with a jazz band). No harmonies or strings.

I had that same idea a long time ago -- Carpenters Unplugged, so to speak -- but I figured Richard would never go for it, since the big orchestrations and arrangements are HIS part of the mix. He'd never want to take himself that far out of the picture, I don't think.
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
I had that same idea a long time ago -- Carpenters Unplugged, so to speak -- but I figured Richard would never go for it, since the big orchestrations and arrangements are HIS part of the mix. He'd never want to take himself that far out of the picture, I don't think.
@Kyle Thomas said: "But an idea I keep returning to is an album filled with songs that are stripped down to their essence, perhaps just Karen's voice with the piano, or a few instruments (as if she were in a lounge with a jazz band). No harmonies or strings. Just that voice and those gorgeous melodies, given a new setting..."

At the risk of being placed in "Ignore" status by a few more members or chastised again by some moderator, let me state emphatically that I agree whole heartedly with the ideas expressed above by Kyle and Mike - I've suggested the same thing several times myself - this is a project long overdue, maybe decades past when it should have been accomplished - something that should have been done long before all the remixes and reissues - long before the RPO project - the only other essential thing that would make it perfect (and I'm sure you would expect me to say this, but it needs saying) is to remove completely and totally all double-tracking of Karen's lead vocals - whatever that "sound" is it's not Karen singing - there was never any excuse for this gross distortion of her voice in the first place and any "unplugged" album would be senseless (and greatly diminished) without this final step...

As far as Richard is concerned all he has to do is record some new piano accompiament for each song and he's more "in" than ever before...
 
Last edited:

Faithful Fan

New Member
Been reading these posts for years and wanted to add a thought. I am grateful for the conversations that keep alive our beloved Carpenters. Thank you, Chris, for your gracious oversite. As I watched the new interview, I was saddened by the loss of Carpenters musicians...espwxially Joe and Hal. I often listen to the bass line on For All We Know Wow!. And often thiught that it would have been nice to have a Trio project with Richaed, Joe and Hal, a kind of Songbook with bass and drums.
 
Top Bottom