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Holidays! [Live] Part 4: Christmas Medley w/Karen & Bruce 1978 - December, 1978

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Dec 3, 2017.

  1. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    A very special thanks to our folks here at A&M Corner for a wonderful year of participation and insight! Enjoy this special treat all the way from the UK, as Karen and Sir Bruce kick off the Christmas season. Enjoy!

  2. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Chris! She was wonderful...
  3. ars nova

    ars nova Active Member

    thanks!! so very clear.
  4. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    It's a dream come true, new footage of Karen especially at Christmas. What a perfect live version, Karen was truly gifted in the expression of song. I don't know which I like better the live vocal or her delivery and expression on her face. She is dearly missed.

    Let the season begin!!
    GaryAlan and Chris May like this.
  5. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

  6. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Chris. She was in top voice and certainly in great form during this show!
    Chris May likes this.
  7. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    First time I have seen this. Bruce and Karen had excellent chemistry on this show. Thanks Chris, Merry Christmas!
  8. arthowson

    arthowson Active Member

    Thank you, Chris! She was a singer's singer. Think about how few singers can pull off a live performance like that. Was going to say Carrie Underwood, but it might be a little pitchy.
  9. Someday

    Someday Active Member

    Really lovely. Kudos, Brucie! He sings a harmony line during Winter Wonderland and joins in with White Christmas seamlessly, although it's essentially an octave higher. For a male voice to sing in Karen's key is really something; he was a great talent.
    Graeme and Chris Mills like this.
  10. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    Great performance, Karen sounds amazing. Very good clarity with the video, a real bonus.
  11. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    That was just wonderful to see, thanks so much Chris for this rare treat! This really brings home just how brilliant Karen was. I loved how he signed off the segment with “thank you again - Karen Carpenter!”. It’s rare to hear her announced by her own name and not “the Carpenters”.

    I can’t for the life of me work out how the backing music for this was put together. The first song sounds like the pre-recorded track from the Christmas album (right down to the backing choir), but then it seems to shift to a live performance by musicians and singers for the second song. Either way, the whole thing sounded terrific. Well done Bruce as well for doing a great job harmonising along and singing the odd line as well.
  12. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    I was finding that it sounded like the pre-recorded track was being played all the way through (and I thought Karen was lip-synching until she started playing with the words), as I thought I heard Richard’s bg vocal in White Christmas, but it seems the band was there to make it live with a few extras.
  13. JayJayVA

    JayJayVA Member

    Lucky Bruce. There's only a handful of people who were able to sing a duet with Karen. He seemed very enthralled.
    goodjeans and Mark-T like this.
  14. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    Feel free to link to your Facebook page but please do NOT rip and repost. Thanks!
    newvillefan likes this.
  15. Chris Mills

    Chris Mills Well-Known Member

    Karen uses her breathing technique to full effect during this live performance, there’s only one way to describe it, breathtaking. This performance is a great tribute to Karen and Bruce.
    Graeme and Chris May like this.
  16. Sue

    Sue Member

    Saw this just once before and have looked for it ever since and failed. Thanks for the link it really is lovely!
  17. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    Given that at least portions of the backing track are prerecorded, I was almost certain Karen was lipsynching here, so close was it to the studio versions of the songs, until I heard some variations in the melody. Her precision when singing was extraordinary.
    goodjeans likes this.
  18. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    Karen definitely sang live, however this might provide some insight into the show. Several of the tracks were prerecorded a couple of weeks beforehand, and Peter Knight (the one responsible for writing several of the charts for that album) was there to help put the thing together for Karen. Below is the master tape used for Postman for the show, so you'll understand why you hear the Carps on several of the backings - however with live band. :)

  19. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Chris, would you be so kind as to explain what we're looking at?
    Geographer and Chris Mills like this.
  20. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    This was the master tape used for the Please Mr. Postman segment of the show. There were multiple masters cut for the different songs.

    To elaborate, there were several pre-recorded tracks that were cut prior to the show that Karen and the band sang/played live to. If you listen to let's say Merry Christmas Darling from that same show, you can hear at the very top when Karen sings the opening line, it's all rubato (free time). Then when it's time for any additional instrumentation, including the a tempo walk up leading into the second verse where the entire band comes in, playing in time, you can hear that they are remaining right on time. Karen is actually rushing the line (throwing everything off a bit time-wise). You'll notice they don't follow her, because in order for them to stay in line with the pre-recorded track from start to finish, they have to follow the click that they've been given which would have been recorded onto the tape. Because she didn't appear to be wearing an in-ear earpiece, she had no way of monitoring the "click" reference, so she had to trust her instincts. The band however I'm quite sure had the click - at least the drummer and keyboards. That was a very standard form of reference by that time.

    I realize that's a lot to digest, but we do it in music when mashing up studio tracks with live performance all the time. It's very much second nature for me as a music director/musician, but conceptually takes a while for most people outside of that to grasp! Hope this helps :)
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
  21. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    I never realised things were this sophisticated back in 1978. I always knew though that Peter Knight steered her through this appearance and that’s why it sounded as great and polished as it did. With - or without - Richard.
  22. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    Right! Nowadays with digital it's so much easier to do this. Back then it was a bear, which is why production costs were an arm and a leg - regardless of whether you were doing live T.V. or studio recording. A lot has changed in 30+ years! :)
    newvillefan likes this.
  23. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    One question I have - if Karen didn’t have the in ear monitor to reference the click, how did the musicians hear it and stick with it, because I don’t see them wearing any either?

    P.S. These pictures of the tapes are a revelation, thank you so much for posting Chris. My heart skipped a beat when I started reading your posts!
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
  24. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter

    Well I'm not sure they didn't have one, or at least I can't remember having a point of reference where I could confirm that either way. It's possible the drums had one and was cueing the band off camera, etc. I can just tell you that based on the way things flowed (and didn't flow in a couple of spots) that this is what was going on. Happens all the time, less frequently nowadays but back then it would have happened more often due to the limitation with technology.
    newvillefan likes this.
  25. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    Either way, listening to the mix of live and pre-recorded, it was an incredibly tricky balancing act and Karen and the band pulled it off beautifully.

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