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Karen's Cleanest Vocal Performance

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PJ

Member
Oh Yes ,"You're The One " is glorious :D along with many other later tracks that have been ignored or overlooked :sad:

Karen's vocals are always warm , inviting , precise and emotional .... the only Carpenters tracks released that I do not care for are :

Goofus & Man Smart , Woman Smarter :shock:

-not due to the lead vocals or Richard's Arrangements / Production - the songs / lyrics just do not work , I have never heard other versions of these songs that are appealing either :!:

"You're The One " would be a great Carpenters Singles / Promo release for 2003 with suitable Capenters Film footage :D :D
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
I believe that You're the One was released as a single for radio play only at the time of Loveline's release.

Craig
 

Rudy

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PJ said:
Karen's vocals are always warm , inviting , precise and emotional .... the only Carpenters tracks released that I do not care for are : Goofus & Man Smart , Woman Smarter :shock:

"Man Smart, Woman Smarter" is a gem when Harry Belafonte does it. I grew up with two different versions of it. One is an earlier version that I had on a 7" RCA EP, and the other is the last track on this best-selling Calypso album. The lyrics on the later version are altered a little to be more modern and "liberated". :wink: "Goofus" is another very old song--the only version I recall hearing was on an old six-eye Columbia LP by the barbershop group The Buffalo Bills (which had sort of a dixieland band arrangment backing them up).

"Goofus" by Carpenters isn't all that bad, since it's almost a "comedy relief" song about making music, and it did sort of stick to a similar arrangement that I was familiar with.

But "Man Smart, Woman Smarter," IMHO, is probably the worst rendition of any existing song that they've ever done. The original lyrics are mutilated, the entire meaning of the song is lost on the listener (and obviously on the performers), the melody doesn't even exist as it does in the original, the vocal part of the song is too brief (almost an afterthought), and the arrangement to me is nothing but a lot of busy noise that is tiring to listen to...especially Tom Scott's (?) endless solo that finishes the song. I'd much rather skip ahead to "Calling Occupants" after "Two Sides" ends. :)

There are few Carpenters tracks I'll ever skip, and this is probably tops on the list. It was an extreme disappointment to hear this song the first time, when I was so familiar with another version. It's a case of an arrangement of a song that is too different from the original to work. Richard had drastically rearranged other songs in earlier years, and they were very unique. (Look at what they did with "Baby, It's You"--their version just *melts*. :D )

-= N =-
...weighing in...
 

testerguy35

New Member
Thread Starter
I have to agree with everyone that "You're the One" is an incredibly beautiful reading by Karen. I do remember hearing it on our soft hits station back around 1990 when I first moved here...briefly (Lovelines release time period). I think it's better than "I Just Fall in Love Again" which was a toss-up for choice on Passage.
Karen's voice sounds more mature by this time but she sings so beautifully.

Man Smart, Woman Smarter and Goofus are my 2 least favorite C's ssongs. I actually do like B'wana, though...it's got a nice rhythm to it. In fact, most reviewers who don't like the C's like their version of this song.

Even Two Lives has a simple and decent quality about it. I need to get Passage out again and relisten.
 

CraigGA

Well-Known Member
I have always enjoyed Passage. It is one of my favorite albums. It just needs more songs, less of the instrumental arrangement in Man Smart, more verses, and a different soloist for the balcony cry on the balcony scene before Don't Cry.

Craig
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
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testerguy35 said:
Man Smart, Woman Smarter and Goofus are my 2 least favorite C's ssongs. I actually do like B'wana, though...it's got a nice rhythm to it. In fact, most reviewers who don't like the C's like their version of this song.

"B'wana" is very close to Michael Franks' version from Sleeping Gypsy.

testerguy35 said:
Even Two Lives has a simple and decent quality about it. I need to get Passage out again and relisten.

Although there are no Carpenter/Bettis songs on Passage, this has always been one of my favorite Carpenters albums, right up there with A Song For You. Probably due to the variety of styles. The first single, "All You Get From Love Is A Love Song", was one of those songs I used to hang around the radio and listen for all day long. Other than "MS,WS", this is one album I played constantly, and was the first (and only) Carpenters CD I had for many years.

-= N =-
 

Bruno

Member
You mean TWO SIDES , Steve, not TWO LIVES. :wink:

I like TWO SIDES, too, because Karen sings about the ambivalence of most things: "Yes, there are two sides, there's another side of me; there's the one you think you live with, the one you never see....."

It's a sophisticated lyric; I like it, although the melody isn't a hit.

If I made a list of my favorite Carpenters albums, PASSAGE would be the last on the list. I dislike BWANA, ARGENTINIA, MAN SMART. Well, ARGENTINIA is ok as far as Karens vocals are concerned; but the prologue is not necessary.

I JUST FALL IN LOVE AGAIN always brings back memories of my first time falling in love, about twenty years ago now.....so I love this song.
 

OceanKing

New Member
Yes, I remember hearing "You're the One" on the radio a couple of times in Spring 1990. It was released as a single, but it didn't succeed. And Steve is right; this song is much better than "I Just Fall in Love Again." That bad choice demonstrates the value of having an independent producer in the studio; I don't think a producer would have let them shelve "You're the One" the way they did.

I actually like "Goofus." It's a silly little ditty, but it is catchy. However, it's just an album cut; it should NEVER have been released as a single.

"Man Smart Woman Smarter" is probably my least favorite song too. Yeesh.

"B'Wana" is good. I actually put this tune on "repeat" sometimes.

"Two Sides" has always been very underrated. Richard should dust it off and put it on a compilation to give it some exposure. To me, it's always sounded like a John Denver guitar ballad.

I've heard "Argentina" on the radio a couple of time over the years, but the station always edits out the operatic introduction. Definitely an improvement.
 

Rudy

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OceanKing said:
"B'Wana" is good. I actually put this tune on "repeat" sometimes.

I'm now curious to find out which version was first: Carpenters, or Michael Franks. Both Passage and Sleeping Gypsy were released in 1977. I heard the Carpenters' version many years before Franks' version (which I porbably heard on WJZZ way back when). Franks' version is more low-key than Carpenters--good arranging job on this one, keeping most of the original intact but giving it a little more "pop" energy.

-= N =-
...answering the door and feeding the deer...and fighting the telephone...
 

OceanKing

New Member
Michael Franks' version was first. I think the PASSAGE liner notes refer to it as his song. And didn't he record for A&M? Richard may have heard Franks' version around the studio (before Franks' album was released), so he and Karen were able to cut their version the same year.
 

Harry

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OceanKing said:
Yes, I remember hearing "You're the One" on the radio a couple of times in Spring 1990. It was released as a single, but it didn't succeed. And Steve is right; this song is much better than "I Just Fall in Love Again." That bad choice demonstrates the value of having an independent producer in the studio; I don't think a producer would have let them shelve "You're the One" the way they did.

I can't say I've ever heard "You're The One" on radio, but it truly a remarkable performance/arrangement, perfect for their style. As for it being so much better than "I Just Fall In Love Again", well, I guess that's a subjective call. My feeling is that both are exquisite, and I can understand the tough choice for inclusion on PASSAGE. What's puzzling is why we had to wait over a decade to hear it. If it didn't make the cut for PASSAGE, it should have immediately been either released as a non-album single or included in the next album.

I actually like "Goofus." It's a silly little ditty, but it is catchy. However, it's just an album cut; it should NEVER have been released as a single.

"Goofus" is surely a love/hate kind of song. There's no middle ground.

"Man Smart Woman Smarter" is probably my least favorite song too. Yeesh.

I don't have as much of a problem with "Man Smart, Woman Smarter" as some other fans do. No, it's not a song I actively crave or hum to myself, but it's not one I skip, either.

"B'Wana" is good. I actually put this tune on "repeat" sometimes.

It was a good opener for PASSAGE. Right away, you knew you were in for something different -- even just from reading the title.

"Two Sides" has always been very underrated. Richard should dust it off and put it on a compilation to give it some exposure. To me, it's always sounded like a John Denver guitar ballad.

"Two Sides" has always sounded like a pleasant album track to me, nothing special, though it does play around in my head once in a while. I like the overdubbing of Karen's lead with a harmony track in spots.

I've heard "Argentina" on the radio a couple of time over the years, but the station always edits out the operatic introduction. Definitely an improvement.

Our nostalgia radio station has dubbed my shorter "Argentina" track, and they play it quite often. It's always a treat to hear that one -- and you're right -- you can keep the opening!

Harry
...weighing in, online...
 

Rudy

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OceanKing said:
Michael Franks' version was first. I think the PASSAGE liner notes refer to it as his song. And didn't he record for A&M? Richard may have heard Franks' version around the studio (before Franks' album was released), so he and Karen were able to cut their version the same year.

I know Franks also had a reputation as a songwriter, where someone may possibly have covered the song before he did. But looking over a note on his website, Sleeping Gypsy was recorded in Rio in August of '76, so it would have been an early '77 release...which would have given time for Richard to hear it and do the arrangement.

Sad story about Franks, actually. Recorded some odds and ends before landing with Warner for 1975's The Art Of Tea (which brought us the songs "Eggplant", "Monkey See, Monkey Do" and "Popsicle Toes"). He was with Warner until 1995, and left for BMG (aka Windham Hill Jazz) to record 1999's Barefoot On The Beach. Wasn't a bad album, but BMG was not happy with the sales figures (which they were mostly to blame for, due to their lack of a promotional push). Franks had a Christmas project all planned and ready to being work on, but BMG promptly yanked out support, and funding, for the project. So I don't know the current status...Franks misses the old "family" (or what's left of it) at Warner's, but with the last project shot down, and BMG's recent "reorganization" and housecleaning, there's no telling if he even has a label anymore. Other than a string of concert dates, I haven't heard much about Michael Franks in awhile.

The most bothersome part is the "big record label" mentality. Artists are being treated like this just about everywhere. And even a group like Carpenters can be affected, and already has--look at what happened to As Time Goes By, never being released in the U.S. (Why do I have the feeling that anything new or exciting from the Carpenters vault is going to come from Japan? Are they the only country who has a record company office that cares for the listeners?)

-= N =-
 

Rudy

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Harry said:
I don't have as much of a problem with "Man Smart, Woman Smarter" as some other fans do. No, it's not a song I actively crave or hum to myself, but it's not one I skip, either.

To be honest, other than the lyrics of the chorus (and not even the melody line), it's not even the same song. That was my initial (and still ongoing) disappointment over it. I was probably over-excited to see an old favorite Belafonte track being covered by one of my favorite groups. Then the balloon popped. :wink:

FWIW, I have two different CDs with Belafonte's original version on it. What's odd is that it is not the same take as that which appears on the four-song EP it comes from.

Still like the second version's lyrics, which give me a chuckle...

"Baby born and I went to see,
Eyes was blue... "
(a lenghty pause)
"......suuuuuuure....." (nearly inaudible :wink: )
"It was not by me!"

-= N =-
 

testerguy35

New Member
Thread Starter
I had forgotten how great these forums were, I've learned so much from these posts! Thanks for setting this up, Harry.
Steve
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
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testerguy35 said:
I had forgotten how great these forums were, I've learned so much from these posts! Thanks for setting this up, Harry.
Steve

Can't take any of the credit...it all goes to Rudy (Neil). I think he may have asked me if I thought a separate Carpenters forum here would be useful when he was preparing the new forums, but that's the extent of my contribution in setting it up.

Still, a moderator's chores are never done...

Harry
...moderating, online...
 

PJ

Member
While I do not care for the Passage recording , I prefer the 1978 TV special version with Karen & Suzanne Somers :o

Perhaps this is due to being far shorter , has good vocals and avoids any extended solo's :!:

Must try to listen to BELAFONTE track to hear the full song / meaning :)

Peter
 

mr J.

Well-Known Member
I agree with several others here that YOUR THE ONE is an exquisite track.While its clearly a "pop" piano ballad,its doesn't qualify as "top 40",and that is why it didn't succeed as a top 40 single.Richard intentionally designed PASSAGE to be more contemporary than the previous albums.That is the basic reason YOUR THE ONE was cut from PASSAGE-to make room for more upbeat contemporary material.As I explained on another post(Carpenters-jazz radio),radio programmers decide what "qualifies" as a top 40 single before they air a song.Back in the 60's/70's,they would program alot of jazz/lounge/easy listening tracks on top 40 stations-music that wasn't considered top 40 or contemporary.(the most notable example-STAN GETZ/ASTRUD GILBERTO "THE GIRL FROM IPANEMA") By 1989,this practice was long gone-and the possibility of a torchy piano ballad like YOUR THE ONE having any credentials as a top 40 single (when LOVELINES was released) was nonexistent.





your
 

Geographer

Well-Known Member
"Goofus" and "Breaking Up is Hard to Do......" Worst Carpenters songs ever! IMHO. I use to have "Can't Smile Without You" on my list of "yuck" songs, but I am currently rethinking this one. I think I appreciate it more now that I am older.

Obviously, AKOH is not my favorite album of thiers. On the other hand, I LOVE "A Kind of Hush," "One More Time," "You," "I Have You," and "I Need to Be In Love." I think "Goofus." "Can't Smile Without You" and "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" were replaced with "Ordinary Fool," and a couple others, it might have made a stronger album.

"B'wanna" is great! One of my few favorites off of Passage.

As I am typing this my CD player randomly selects "Goofus" out of 25 CD's in it (is Karen watching me?)........ :shock:
 
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