For me, it’s “Make It Easy on Yourself.” The 1980 version is probably better overall—definitely more polished—but the way she sings the word “caress” in the 1974 version is cold chills material. I’ve tried to figure out exactly what is lacking there in the 1980 version, but I can’t pinpoint it.
So was Karen drumming for the recorded Riviera Vegas medley that was released on the Japan Anthology CD?Good observation on the 1980 version being more polished. The 1980 version was recorded in a studio in March 1980 for tracks on the TV Special Music, Music, Music.
The 1974 version had more energy as it was from a live recording. It was recorded during a show at the Riviera Las Vegas and was mixed by Richard in 1985 adding a kick, bass, piano and background vocals due to an error in the original 1974 recording. Karen’s lead, the orchestra and the drum kit are the only parts that came through on the original tape.
The original Japan limited edition 1985 Anthology LP set did not include the Medley. The Medley was released on the CD Anthology (89) set Catalog number: PCCY-10023 (Japan). Anthology was re-released twice, in 1989 and 1997. The 1971 Studio Album track includes a very abbreviated Make It Easy on Yourself.
Love this version of the Medley, especially with the inclusion of ANY DAY NOW and BABY, IT'S YOU - maybe even more than the 1971 BBC concert version - sound quality is surprisingly good but too bad there isn't a video - were they using some pre-recorded music in the background?
I was thinking specifically of the background harmony vocals throughout - they seem very full and tight and really solid and so at least maybe partly pre-recorded - if not, then the whole band really had it all together after what was many hours (years) of rehearsal...Some of the multitracks from the concert soundboard weren’t working correctly and the audio wasn’t recorded on the night - the kick drum, bass and Richard’s backing vocals. Richard had to add these in the studio in the 1980s when working on this medley for the anthology. That’s why much of it sounds pre-recorded - because it is.
I was thinking specifically of the background harmony vocals throughout - they seem very full and tight and really solid and so at least maybe partly pre-recorded - if not, then the whole band really had it all together after what was many hours (years) of rehearsal...
I love this version, too. It's right up there with my all time favorites. I'm not quite picking up on the same roughness or edge you are, but I don't have many live performances to compare it to. I wonder if her singing was the good live all the time?Love this version of the Medley, especially with the inclusion of ANY DAY NOW and BABY, IT'S YOU - maybe even more than the 1971 BBC concert version - sound quality is surprisingly good but too bad there isn't a video - were they using some pre-recorded music in the background?
And Karen's voice - beautiful as ever but is there a very slight "edge" or "roughness"? Too much live performing? Side effect of her "health problems"? In transition still to full maturity? Am I hearing things? All of the above? Listen especially to her killer version of MAKE IT EASY ON YOURSELF at the 8:33 mark...What do you think?
generally without fail people are hugely impressed with Superstar.
And he was absolutely spot on! Great to hear how you shared Karen’s vocal magic with him (and, no doubt, many many others)My late dad absolutely loved this song. Whenever I had the 69-73 Singles Overture on at home, all my dad had to hear was that three note oboe and he’d exclaim “I love that song!”. I also vividly remember him being at my home in Spain many years ago, we had the tunes playing in my garden and “We’ve Only Just Begun” came on. I think it was really the first time he’d ever laid back, relaxed and actually listened to her vocal. He said to me “she had a really lovely voice that girl”.
This is invariably the enthusiastic response of music video "reactors" on YouTube - there is one young lady whose jaw literally drops when Karen starts to sing. Then she stops the video after the first verse to say something, but is speechless for about 15 seconds or so. And then she finally blurts out how she used to love Luther Vandross's version and how "haunting" Karen's voice is...[she has by now reacted to a couple dozen Carpenter songs and is a gigantic Karen fan girl - she goes by the name Day One Reacts]...It's often cited, but I guess it can be repeated, but I find Superstar to be her signature.
When I play the Carpenters to friends who are unaware of, or dubious about, their music ('aren't they the cheesy group who did Top of the World and Close to You?'), generally without fail people are hugely impressed with Superstar.
How different would things have been if Karen and Terry Ellis had made a union as spouses AND management. Oh well.Carpenters had the fastest transition from hot top 40 pop act to Las Vegas lounge act ever to be witnessed. It's too bad they never found solid management, and that they obsessed over singles and top 40. The release of Sing really signalled the turning of the tides, and by the time Made in America rolled around they had really lost their way in the struggle to remain popular or relevant. Such a shame, as they really tried so hard to always do good work.
I've wondered about that too - somewhere it was intimated that her constant and overextended touring schedule - and he being situated in GB much if the time - kept them apart and ended any serious consideration of a permanent relationship - I don't know how true that is but it seems to make sense - it looks like he was THE ONE because it was also reported that she tried later to get back with him, but he was engaged to someone else...a marriage to him might have made a big, big difference for her - the personal happiness she so deeply wanted and deserved, and perhaps the children she so strongly desired - not to mention the career change possibilities...and just maybe some resolute help in beating the "malnutrition problem" - yes, a lot to expect or hope for from a romantic relationship, but who knows...How different would things have been if Karen and Terry Ellis had made a union as spouses AND management. Oh well.