• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are now available. The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy 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 available for ordering here.

New Documentary Coming...

GDBY2LV

Well-Known Member
Toni Tennille commented about Richard making Karen sing notes over over until it was right. She said it was something she would never have done. Just sing it, and done. Imperfections and all. I believe she was very sympathetic to Karen’s work load. Another reason for 1 album a year, when active, and their rather short album lengths, to add to the intense touring schedule. So much pressure to be perfect.
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
I disagree ... Video footage of the original recording sessions isn’t needed and would be tedious to watch, because they’d often spend hours overdubbing one word or phrase. All it needs is an experienced sound engineer, ideally someone who worked on the original sessions, to sit down and explain the backstory and how they built the sound. That in itself would be amazing. Roger Young would be the ideal candidate but has since passed away, although I believe Ray Gerhardt, Dave Iveland and Robert De La Garza are still alive though. And then there’s always Richard Carpenter himself of course who could take the narrator’s chair!
I agree - Richard and a sound engineer and a few, select, informed others explaining the recording of some of the most popular hit songs would be amazing....

But I wasn't talking about watching complete, hours-long tapes of the entire recording sessions - just highlights as chosen and presented by the director and editor. In fact, each album could have had it's own documentary, forming a complete set of a dozen, more or less...but mere fantasy speculation at this point...
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
Toni Tennille commented about Richard making Karen sing notes over over until it was right. She said it was something she would never have done. Just sing it, and done. Imperfections and all. I believe she was very sympathetic to Karen’s work load. Another reason for 1 album a year, when active, and their rather short album lengths, to add to the intense touring schedule. So much pressure to be perfect.
If Karen was as much of a perfectionist as claimed she probably not only didn't mind but initiated many of the re-takes herself - she had a lot of trust in his judgement. But, if she did mind and didn't object then it's just one more example of her non-assertiveness...although I would like to think she did speak up on occasion and tell him to stick it.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
Toni Tennille commented about Richard making Karen sing notes over over until it was right. She said it was something she would never have done. Just sing it, and done. Imperfections and all. I believe she was very sympathetic to Karen’s work load. Another reason for 1 album a year, when active, and their rather short album lengths, to add to the intense touring schedule. So much pressure to be perfect.
Wow- never read this! Thanks everyone for the clarification! I never even would have thought of this as a possibility...
 

cam89

Well-Known Member
I believe even Barry Manilow said something to this effect, after KC passed....she was always hard on herself in the recording studio....
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Too much "he said, she said" in this thread for me. If something seems too extreme, then it probably is an exaggeration.

The bit with Karen recording one note at a time. Seriously? Can anyone listen to the fabulous recordings and think this is even a remote possibility? Of course there were punch-ins here and there, and it mostly would be in the backing tracks. And we know of some "lines" that were punched in as well. The famous example is the changed line in "I Believe You". But there's also "...all the tears" instead of "years" in the quad "Goodbye To Love" where the mixing engineer allowed the wrong take through.

And yes, we know that Karen was hard on herself with the perfectionist angle. Anyone who can listen to the 1970 "Merry Christmas Darling" and think that it somehow needed to be redone - that's a bit extreme in my book. The only theory I've read that holds any water there is that she wanted it to sound more like it fit with the sound of the CHRISTMAS PORTRAIT album.
 

GDBY2LV

Well-Known Member
You can Google and read the Gary James article, and interview with Toni Tennille. She talks about Carpenters, and Richard as a producer. “Richard would have Karen sing over and over, and punch in until he got exactly the way he wanted it- one word, or one note.
Consequently their recordings are perfection… pure perfection. You can not hear a flaw anywhere.” Her opinion of course.
I’m sure she would be aware of this since they were label mates, and sort of friends. Maybe even watched them in the studio, and saw it first hand. They had to be curious, or in awe of Carpenters hit making genius.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
I'm not denying anything, but I also know that human beings don't always get facts straight, even when they're right there observing. Think of the many conflicting witness testimonies in court cases. And everyone is free to believe whatever - that's your choice. When it comes to these salacious documentaries - as is the subject of this thread - count me out.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Thread Starter
The bit with Karen recording one note at a time. Seriously? Can anyone listen to the fabulous recordings and think this is even a remote possibility?

Yes, I can actually, on certain phrases. I don’t for a second think any of us believes she recorded each word separately, note for note, in different takes. But there are people in the business who knew that was one of their recording techniques and, more importantly, there are members here for whom that information is new...and interesting to hear.

Of course there were punch-ins here and there, and it mostly would be in the backing tracks. And we know of some "lines" that were punched in as well. The famous example is the changed line in "I Believe You". But there's also "...all the tears" instead of "years" in the quad "Goodbye To Love" where the mixing engineer allowed the wrong take through.

There you go then; that was my earlier point :)
 
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Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
But there's also "...all the tears" instead of "years" in the quad "Goodbye To Love" where the mixing engineer allowed the wrong take through.
So THAT's why it sounds the way it sounds! I digitized my quad disc of The Singles: 1969-1973 the other day... was wondering about that. Thanks for sharing, @Harry!
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
And yes, we know that Karen was hard on herself with the perfectionist angle. Anyone who can listen to the 1970 "Merry Christmas Darling" and think that it somehow needed to be redone - that's a bit extreme in my book. The only theory I've read that holds any water there is that she wanted it to sound more like it fit with the sound of the CHRISTMAS PORTRAIT album.
I never thought that it had to be redone - until she actually did it - I've been memorizing this beautiful song on the piano and trying to play it as she sang it - this required listening multiple times to both versions - the 1970 version was really good, especially for her age, but the 1978 version was a step up, both in terms of her control and styling and, more importantly, in the maturity, depth and resonance of her voice - Karen wanted to redo it because she loved the song and felt she could sing it better than she had - I think she achieved that beautifully. It took Karen to outsing Karen.
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Interesting. I can see it as an "every so often as needed" but regularly? Calling @Chris May.

Uhhh, no.

Karen never recorded this way. What I believe Gerhardt's daughter was trying to say, was that certain words—on occasion—would have to be punched-in. This is typical studio protocol when recording a master lead vocal, even for the the most masterful vocalist—if and when ever necessary.

As for the Daugherty story? Don't believe everything you hear. :)
 

ullalume

Well-Known Member
Uhhh, no.

Karen never recorded this way. What I believe Gerhardt's daughter was trying to say, was that certain words—on occasion—would have to be punched-in. This is typical studio protocol when recording a master lead vocal, even for the the most masterful vocalist—if and when ever necessary.

As for the Daugherty story? Don't believe everything you hear. :)
Yeah...regarding Toni Tennile...sounds like she's damning Karen with faint praise...Toni's only human after all.
 

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
Toni Tennille commented about Richard making Karen sing notes over over until it was right. She said it was something she would never have done. Just sing it, and done.
If factual, might be just a simple statement of facts about those "punch ins". Otherwise it sounds more like faint negative criticism instead of faint praise. We would have to ask Toni what she had in mind...
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Another reason I enjoy the "live" concert material online....is that...the voice, Karen's voice, is there for all to hear !
The live concerts tell me more than anything about the reality of Karen's vocals.
Then, we do have those extant "one-take" songs (i.e., Trying To Get The Feeling Again).
So, it does not matter what anyone says...
Karen's live concert vocals tell it like it is. It's there for all to hear.

Here is another Toni Tennille quote regards Karen: one of the loveliest human voices ever recorded.
Source:
 

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
All one has to do is go through the countless, posthumous recordings we have where Karen's lead was cut in one take. As it's been documented several times, you could wake her up from a deep sleep and have her sing something, and it was Karen—perfect (or close to it), right there.

Edits were certainly done on the master lead vocal composites, usually involving a punch-in of an entire phrase, occasionally a word here or there, or, complete lead vocal takes on more than one track, where they would toggle between tracks during the mix to create a complete take.

Pretty standard stuff. :)
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Thread Starter
Edits were certainly done on the master lead vocal composites, usually involving a punch-in of an entire phrase, occasionally a word here or there, or, complete lead vocal takes on more than one track where they would toggle between tracks during the mix to create a complete take.

Pretty standard stuff. :)

But not generally known to even some regular posters here and probably not to most casual visitors. Which is what makes the discussion so great :)

To circle back round to the original question that brought us here, I still don’t think we got an answer on how the documentary is coming along :laugh:
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
I wouldn't hold my breath for a documentary that was supposedly "coming" nearly two years ago. And I hesitate to guess, but there haven't been many documentaries on Carpenters that didn't focus on the tragic side. Filmmakers love conflict.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
I went to the Instagram page for karencarpenterdoc, and it looks like the documentary will be produced by AMS Pictures Original Programming (OP). I'm not too familiar with AMS Pictures, but their Instagram has pictures of what seems to be Reelz docu-dramas, and I think they made one about Karen's anorexia. I'm not sure if that's the same documentary that this Instagram is promoting.

Personally, I'd be happy with just a revisiting of all of the archival photos, tapes, films, anything in the vault, kind of like the "Paul McCartney Archive Collection," but for the Carpenters.

But, as has been mentioned in this thread, I'm really not interested in hearing more people chime in about Karen Carpenter's body dysmorphia or Richard's quaalude addiction or the mommy or daddy issues either of them may have had. I've heard about it already, and those books and films already exist out there for people interested in "the salacious side."
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Now, if this "Karen Carpenter documentary" is serious and draws upon the Carpenters' audiovisual media to tell a story about their lives (thinking about Jerry Dunphy clips, even MYOKOM and TV special clips), I'd watch it. But to be compelling to me, it would have less of the guests talking about their opinions and more about Richard, Karen, and the group members talking from their perspectives, whether that was in 1970 (Your Navy Presents) or more recently.
 
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