• 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.

Karen 1968 - "And When I Die"

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
Nice interaction between Wanda and Karen at the end of it. Obviously, they were the two premier female singers in Frank Pooler's chorus at Long Beach State. Makes me wish there was more Wanda/Karen combined vocals. Also, I wonder if Wanda was ever considered to join Spectrum...Especially after Leslie Johnston quit...
 

Kacfan

Well-Known Member
Is Wanda’s comment “I never thought anything about it” in regards to the young 1968 Karen’s voice or the later fully mature voice? In 1968 Karen’s voice was very clear, and then as it developed it became “huskier” - not sure if that is the right word, perhaps more “textured”? In her 1982 session, Especially on the song “now”, she sounded very clear again, reminiscent of her earlier voice. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why I have always loved that song.
 

Don Malcolm

Well-Known Member
Possibly one or more of our experts (Chris, Harry, Randy) will know for sure, but my guess is that Wanda was the undisputed star of the choir prior to Karen's arrival and remained the "anchor" voice (and I'm making a "relay race" analogy here). That would explain Wanda's remark, as it would be coming from someone with a previously-established sense of her own talent (and it would definitely be in reference to 1968 Karen).

Karen is projecting more here, with less emphasis on the "basement" and a more focused approach toward adding embellishments while still staying within her natural inclination to remain precise in terms of phrasing. She's already showing her other amazing talent--to sing backing/harmony vocals--not easy to do with a singer as showy as Wanda (it was, of course, a lot easier for her to do it for herself!).

Karen went on to do some "belting" of her own on "Someday" (Broadway as opposed to the honky-tonk soul of "And When I Die") and it's an uncanny aspect of OFFERING that you can really hear her progression into a one-of-a-kind talent as the original record plays in sequence. On Side 2 she's 95% there, with stellar backing vocals that help put across tracks such as "What's The Use" and "Clancy" and previews what's coming on CLOSE TO YOU with "Eve."

Thanks so much for the great clean-up of this track, Harry--it sounds so much better than the previously available versions, and it's always fascinating to hear the young Karen. Would it only be the case that we had a whole album's worth of the CSLB choir!
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Karen is projecting more here, with less emphasis on the "basement" and a more focused approach toward adding embellishments while still staying within her natural inclination to remain precise in terms of phrasing. She's already showing her other amazing talent--to sing backing/harmony vocals--not easy to do with a singer as showy as Wanda (it was, of course, a lot easier for her to do it for herself!).

Karen went on to do some "belting" of her own on "Someday" (Broadway as opposed to the honky-tonk soul of "And When I Die") and it's an uncanny aspect of OFFERING that you can really hear her progression into a one-of-a-kind talent as the original record plays in sequence. On Side 2 she's 95% there, with stellar backing vocals that help put across tracks such as "What's The Use" and "Clancy" and previews what's coming on CLOSE TO YOU with "Eve."

I remember reading somewhere (a review maybe?) that Karen would never have made it if she'd auditioned as a stage singer. I think that's very true and reflected in your comments above. Belting songs out just wasn't her forte. Yes, she can technically do it, as we hear here, but that's not where her strength or appeal lies. It was only when a microphone captured the restrained, measured voice, set carefully in the right key and in a controlled studio environment, that Karen's real vocal quality reveals itself. Richard speaks about discovering it by sheer accident in the BBC documentary. When he put You'll Love Me in the key of G and Karen sang that first line ("they say we're too young"), out came that sound.
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
It was amazing to hear this cleaned up version! Loved it! Thanks, Harry. Yes, I think that slowing the song down by 4% probably takes it down to its correct pitch and tempo. This is the first time I’ve truly enjoyed that recording. That’s more the voice of Karen that we know, as compared to the other copies I’ve heard, which don’t sound right.

There are some beautiful tones that Karen produces at the end of some of her phrases. I’ve only listened once, so can’t pin-point what I mean. Right towards the end of some of her lines, her voice sounds very resonant, warm and rich.

One thing I’ve noticed is that the pronounced ‘r’ sound that comes with an American, (and probably Irish, etc), accent at the end of words like ‘near’ and ‘here’ comes a certain tone that can sort of add a texture to a word or phrase - it can almost add another vowel sound to a word - almost like ‘hearrr-ah’ for ‘here’. Karen doesn’t do that, exactly, here, but her accent is more noticeable on this recording and you really hear those pronounced ‘Rrrr’s at the end of some words.

I like the more pronounced vibrato she uses here, too.

I love the early recordings of Karen’s voice. She certainly does sound a bit different from her older self. Some say her voice sounds more rough or less developed, but, whatever, I love the sound. Her vocals on the ‘Offering’ album and the ‘Joe Osborne’s Garage’ vocals, (‘You’ll Love Me’, ‘The Parting Of Our Ways’, ‘California Dreaming’, etc.), plus the CAL State ‘Goodnight’, ‘Crescent Noon’ and sections of ‘And When I Die’, sound magnificent, to me.

I say, ‘sections of’ ‘And When I Die’ because I don’t like as much her attempts to ‘belt’ - she sounds forced, strained and unnatural when she does it on ‘And When I Die’. I believe she also overdoes it for parts of ‘California Dreaming’ - a bit over-exhuberant, maybe - almost yelling. The first section of that song is sung beautifully - incomparable vocals - but I usually hit the ‘skip’ button when the song picks up tempo.

On the whole, Karen’s vocals from her teenage years are wonderful - beautiful - magnificent. Her voice almost sounds other-worldly.
 

Jarred

Your resident analyst right around the corner.
I think her belts sound totally natural on both Someday and this track - when she does it both times its in service to the lyric and the subject matter, i.e. the dramatic singing is required. I love that raw early sound that became more and more measured. And they are perfect examples to use when someone says that she never had much power to her voice. Of course you can hear it on some early hits like Rainy Days and Superstar, etc but if that's not "powerful enough" in terms of volume than there's those early recordings.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^Some lucky soul purchased that LP, above....that was indeed a quick sale !
Whoever bought it has gotten a gem, for which I am jealous.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^Good question !
Has to be very few extant, regardless of how many original pressings (a hundred, maybe ?).
I am sorta sad I could not purchase it, as I love that earlier memorabilia.
 

Jarred

Your resident analyst right around the corner.
Stupid question, but does Richard or the College itself own the rights to that bootleg of the song?
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Stupid question, but does Richard or the College itself own the rights to that bootleg of the song?
Considering that “Goodnight” was issued in 1991 on the “From The Top” album, I think the College probably has the rights, otherwise that track could not have been issued in 1991. As to whether the original masters exist, unless it was a direct-to-disc recording, I don’t think the original tape masters exist (the 1991 CD version sounds like it was taken from a slightly worn LP).
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
There may not be ANY copyrights associated with the choir's recording, other than whatever copyrights exist on the songs and arrangements. Our school chorus had such an album made - many schools do - and it is just a custom pressing done at by a pressing company that specialized in that sort of thing.

I have actually placed on YouTube one of the tracks - a version of the "Star-Spangled Banner" that we did, and it got a flag for a copyrighted arrangement.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
There may not be ANY copyrights associated with the choir's recording, other than whatever copyrights exist on the songs and arrangements. Our school chorus had such an album made - many schools do - and it is just a custom pressing done at by a pressing company that specialized in that sort of thing.

I have actually placed on YouTube one of the tracks - a version of the "Star-Spangled Banner" that we did, and it got a flag for a copyrighted arrangement.
Copyright in any recording is established the second that it’s permanently set into a holder. Whether that be a piece of paper for lyrics or a story, or a wax record or digital file.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I just pulled out “From The Top” and it has a “Courtesy of” Credit for the CSULB on “Goodnight”, so CSULB does own those recordings (just like Joe Osborn and RCA own the other early recording copyrights).
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
This whole thread reminds me of a proliferation of Yahoo! Groups back in c. 2004-5 that were just a repository of Carpenters bootlegs. Does anyone here remember that? I downloaded "And When I Die," the original (untinkered) demo of "Nowhere Man" and the "unsweetened" "Honolulu City Lights" on those groups. I suspect a lot of the YouTube videos that have these audios are a few generations removed from those original bootlegs (which were already a few generations removed from the master tapes or acetates). The originals sounded NR'd and a little high on the treble, even back in 2005.

Does anyone know the source of all of these bootlegs? Very interested in hearing a lot of these from as close to the source as possible.
 
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