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Official Review [Single]: 15. "PLEASE MR. POSTMAN"/"THIS MASQUERADE" (1646-S)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Sep 24, 2016.

Which side is your favorite?

  1. Side A: "Please Mr. Postman"

    22 vote(s)
  2. Side B: "This Masquerade"

    27 vote(s)
  1. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    I agree Craig, 1973 seems to be the pinnacle for the duo. What an incredible run! By the close of business of that year they had taken the pop music world by storm. Karen at just 23 yrs of age and Richard at 27; who would've not believed that the magic would continue through the end of the decade and beyond? And in 1974 a musical act that had only been relevant in the business for 3 years releases essentially a "Greatest Hits" LP that sells an astronomical amount of units. At that point in time the world was truly their oyster. But then, 1975 rolls around...
  2. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    [QUOTE="This Masquerade was a great song and it is one I usually played for my snooty friends who only listened to singer/songwriters. Even though it was Leon Russell it is clearly a Carpenters arrangement and fit Karen just as well. Plus, by 1974 it was done by several pop and easy artists. I was surprised when it was a hit 2 years later for George Benson but he put a signature on it that penetrated most of his hits and although I liked the Carpenters version better the public liked George Benson’s. Now back in 1973, friends of my parents thought it was the best song on Now and Then, kinda like I feel about A Song For You on the album of the same name. I guess it’s all timing. I think the best shot for it was when Sing was popular, but I don’t think it would have faired as well as Sing did. Sing had that Postman value and everyone was singing Sing in 1973 and it was the perfect year for that song as 1973 was perfect for the Carpenters. Who could beat what they had accomplished in and by that year![/QUOTE]

    I'd agree that 'This Masquerade' might not have done quite as well on the charts as 'Sing' did, but that raises the issue of whether they should have been releasing singles on the basis of getting the next hit single at all costs rather than on the basis of creating a long-term strategy for their sound and brand.

    I think Paul Grein wrote in an article in the 1990s that it would have been better at this stage to have gone with singles that weren't such surefire hits but would have broadened their appeal to different audiences (as I think 'This Masquerade' would have done) rather than go for the instant hit ('Sing') that got old quickly and gave more ammunition to their critics that they were lightweight and not worthy of being taken seriously.

    I can understand that the relative underperformance of the second and third singles from 'A Song for You' may have spooked them into feeling they needed to pick an easily accessible single (even if it was lightweight) to redress things, but although it did the job in the short term, it probably did more harm than good to their image in the long term.

    As George Benson proved in 1976, 'This Msquerade' could be made into a hit, and although I very much like his version, I think the Carpenters' version is the definitive take on the song. The fact that it's become I think the album track that has made the most appearances on their greatest hits albums says it all.
    CraigGA likes this.
  3. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    100% agree with you about it being the definitive version. Carpenters recorded many versions of songs that I feel are the definitive version, none more so than A Song For You.

    This Masquerade sits on many hits compilations alongside the single cuts as if it were a successful single in its own right and most of the record buying public probably now think it was.
    CraigGA likes this.
  4. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Superstar...A Song For You...This Masquerade,
    three great Leon Russell songs....
    Well, one might ask--of those three Carpenters' recordings--
    Why Superstar is the only one deemed, at the time, to be worthy of A-Side Single release !
    One also might consider the arrangements of each song--as viewed chronologically,
    Superstar is as different in arrangement as A Song For You is from This Masquerade.
    And, finally the arrangement for This Masquerade is (imho)
    squarely within the then-solidified format of a Carpenters' easier, softer, sound.....
    Whereas the previous two are much more creative and powerful (imho !).
  5. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Been re-listening to the Anthology 4-LP Set (JP):
    And, if I have not yet proclaimed--get this LP Set !

    That being said, on with the music.....
    This Masquerade (as heard on Anthology LP),
    I really love Karen's vocals on this song, haunting--to say the least--
    be that as it may...

    I can not fully get behind the entire arrangement !

    So, listen to---in order (as if, chronologically)---
    Superstar... A Song For You...
    This Masquerade.....

    Compare and contrast.

  6. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    I went with Masquerade and I barely thought about it. Postman is cute, insubstantial Pop. It’s total fluff and there’s nothing wrong with that. Masquerade is just gorgeous. Richard’s piano solo is VERY nice and I love the vocal arrangement behind the incredible flute solo. The arrangement isn’t all “oboe’d out” like so many of his are. He stays out of the way and lets Karen do her thing. Speaking of which, Karen’s voice is just sublime here. The flute solo at the end is just the right way to end the tune.

    This is what happened when Carpenters really got it right. Masquerade is easily in my top 5 Carpenters’ songs. No clue why this wasn’t a single. It certainly should have been, IMHO.

  7. ars nova

    ars nova Active Member

    after YESTERDAY ONCE MORE had run its course, I hounded stations here in dallas to play THIS MASQUERADE. my teenage self thought it to be the logical release. my favorite fm did briefly provide light rotation. I was stumped when the release didn't follow. not long afterward, the release of TOP OF THE WORLD and THE SINGLES, made it clear, there was not enough time for everything to gel for the holiday marketing of THE SINGLES.
  8. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    For December 11.....
    " Today in rock history: on this date in 1961,
    Motown Records girl group The Marvelettes reached the No. 1 spot on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart
    with their debut single, "Please Mr. Postman."
    The single, which went to the top of the R&B charts as well, is notable in that it was the very first single
    released through Motown Records to reach No. 1 before future hit-makers like The Supremes, The Temptations or Smokey Robinson would do so.
    Hired studio musicians performed on this historic single including Marvin Gaye who, at 22 years of age,
    played drums on the track years before his own stream of hits on Motown Records would begin.
    The song again reached the top of the charts in 1975 when soft pop duo The Carpenters took
    their version to No. 1 as well.
    Other notable renditions of the classic song include a cover The Beatles committed to vinyl in 1963."

    Today in rock history; Sam Cooke killed at 33 years old, Marvelettes plead with "Mr. Postman" and more
  9. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    One of my all-time favorite Carpenters' Singles....
    Please Mr. Postman:
    KFVS -
    Let's turn back the clock and head back to the mid-1970's.
    This morning the music from this week in 1975. Forty-three years ago, Billboard Magazine had these songs at the top of the Hot 100 Chart. At number five was Elton John with a remake of the Beatles song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. John Lennon provided backing vocals and played guitar on the John single. But due to recording contracts and arrangements, Lennon was credited as Dr. Winston O'Boogie.
    Checking in at number four was Barry White with You're The First, The Last, My Everything.
    Neil Sedaka was in the number three spot with Laughter in the Rain. It would solidify a huge comeback for Sedaka, becoming his first number one hit since 1962.
    The Carpenters were still churning out hits in '75. Please Mr. Postman was Karen and Richard Carpenter's final number one hit. It was a remake of the 1961 single by The Marvelettes. Their version of Please Mr. Postman became the first chart-topping single from the Motown record label. Besides The Carpenters, lots of other acts have also covered the song including a 1963 version by The Beatles.

    And in the top spot for this week was the very first number one single by Barry Manilow. Mandy was originally titled Brandy and was a moderate hit in Great Britain back in 1971. But the song became a huge hit when Manilow covered it and changed the title from Brandy to Mandy. The change was made to avoid confusion with Looking Glass's Brandy (You're a Fine Girl). Mandy was the start of a string of hit singles by Manilow which stretched into the 1980

    This week in music: 1975 Barry Manilow
    John Adam and Jamesj75 like this.
  10. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Jamesj75 likes this.
  11. Jeff

    Jeff Well-Known Member

    The perfect single given the oldies revival of the day. A well-crafted production. Karen on drums. It oozed success in late 1974. Number 1 February 1975 the song was everywhere like a BILLIE JEAN M. Jackson thing. I jumped on my bed the day I skipped school anticipating debut. Instantly, even before the vocals began I heard smash hit! Karen and Richard were coming off a World Tour on the success of The Singles 69-73 going #1. Along came Postman and kaboom! You had to be there. Fortunately many of us are here to tell.
  12. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    @GaryAlan, thank you for providing these data. As always, your efforts are incomparable!

    However, I clicked on the link --- particularly as 1975 is my favorite year in music --- and I found that "Solitaire" comes in at #152! Not too shabby, especially when you consider that it charts ahead of other classics, such as Gordon Lightfoot's "Carefree Highway" (#164) and "Rainy Day People" (#171), Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird" (#177), Rolling Stones' "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" (#180), and Pure Prairie League's "Amie" (182), among many others...
    Geographer, Jeff and GaryAlan like this.
  13. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Thanks, James !
    Gosh, how did I miss it ?
    So, yes, Solitaire did not do so badly when compared to others of the day.
    But, I still say that that particular Single--and, even, Only Yesterday--
    should have had more staying power !
    1974, 1978, 1979, 1980 should've seen release of mainstream Carpenters'
    I still say....too much time spent devoted to Television Specials,
    and, not enough time devoted to the recording studio !
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  14. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Perfectly said! I knew it was a huge hit the moment I heard it!
    goodjeans and Jeff like this.
  15. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    Exactly, @GaryAlan! And we can add "All You Get From Love Is a Love Song" to that group!
  16. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    I voted for This Masquerade Hands down A Most Definitive version. IMO Karen really nailed it on this one
  17. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Not sure if I've asked this question previously, but,
    regards the Postman Disneyland-Video,
    has that video always used the vocals as from the album version of the song ?
    Why not utilized the Single version vocals for that video ?

    That Original Please Mr. Postman (single) is absolutely brilliant,
    so, I am forever grateful that it was recorded and released in late 1974.
    goodjeans likes this.
  18. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    With the Postman video, I would assume that in the 70’s it probably used the mono single mix for any television appearances, like on “The Midnight Special”. The stereo album version was probably synced to it in 1985 for the YOM VHS/Betamax/Laserdisc release.
  19. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    You may be right, but if memory serves, most of those times a snipet aired for an upcoming show or award show something or advertisement orvneed , it was the Horizon version. The claps would give it away. And it was a more laid back version to me vs the 45 Single having more energy and a little faster in speed.
  20. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    What could have been the reason why the album cover used the track title Please Mister Postman instead of Please Mr. Postman?

    The vinyl labels and marketing material used Mr. and all the CD releases used Mr. I wonder if there was some kind of reason why they spelled it out on the album cover?
  21. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^That is an interesting observation !
    I noticed that the Beatles--on their single--spelled the title out with
    Also, given the classy artwork of original Horizon LP,
    perhaps spelling it out as "Mister" instead of "Mr." simply looked better !
    Rick-An Ordinary Fool likes this.
  22. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    The UK documentary, Only Yesterday,
    appears to use the Single (audio) version of Postman for the
    Video of Postman, I have never before seen the two together !
    Listen at 34:01:
  23. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    That audio sounds a little sped up as well---possible due to NTSC to PAL conversion. Plus the fidelity of the audio sounds like it came from a 1/4-inch audio tape or a Betamax non-Hi-Fi recording.
  24. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Noticing that the Liner Notes in From The Top state that Please Mr. Postman
    " was remixed in 1975 for Horizon"....which brings me to my question...again...
    to my ears, the Single (1974) sounds as if the lead vocal--at the very beginning--
    is an entirely different recording from the 1975 Horizon version.

    Would someone please explain to me exactly what is going on in terms of
    "remix" versus re-recorded ?
    The two versions 1975 v. 1974 simply sound like two separate lead vocals.
  25. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I’ve always thought the opening line of the remix was a re-recording. Karen’s phrasing on the very first “whoa yes” sounds totally different, phrased too differently for just reverb to make any difference.

    In a remix, you take an existing track and either alter the mix (e.g. remove the string line from underneath the sax solo on Rainy Days), add to it (a vocal drop in, more reverb, a newly recorded bass track etc) or take existing elements of the track to create something that is new (e.g. an extended version of a song) but which basically retains all the elements of the original track in one form or another.

    A re-recording is a completely new version of a song, usually done at a different time to the original. For example, the solo version of Make Believe It’s Your First Time compared to the Carpenters’ version. Or the 1980 version of Someday compared to the 1969 version.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2018
    GaryAlan likes this.

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