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Official Review [Single]: 21. "GOOFUS"/"BOAT TO SAIL" (1859-S)

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, May 4, 2017.

Which side is your favorite?

  1. Side A: "Goofus"

    15 vote(s)
  2. Side B: "Boat To Sail"

    27 vote(s)
  1. Chris May

    Chris May Resident 'Carpenterologist' Moderator Thread Starter


    Goofus.png GoofusSINGLE.png BTS.png

    Side A: Goofus 3:09 (King/Harold/Kahn)
    Side B: Boat To Sail 3:29 (DeShannon)

    Catalogue Number: A&M 1859-S

    Date of Release: 8/76
    Format: 7" Single
    Speed: 45 RPM
    Country: US
    Top Chart Position: #56

    Arranged and Orchestrated by Richard Carpenter
    Produced by Richard Carpenter
    Associate Producer: Karen Carpenter

    For more definitive information regarding each single, you can visit our Carpenters - The Complete Singles page in our Carpenters Resource.
  2. Toolman

    Toolman Simple Man, Simple Dream

    As I've said on other threads, I was in favor of "Goofus" as a single at the time. That may have been mostly because other than "You", I didn't hear much of anything on the "Hush" album that came close to knocking me out. "Goofus" was at least different and still works for me as a nice album track, for the most part. I don't think the chorus displays the better aspects of Karen's range, and I'd have preferred just ending it at "...for me (bomp)" than with the stacked "Oooooo" and fade. Sort of like "Mr. Guder", it just goes on a little bit longer than it needed to.

    "Boat to Sail" is a pleasant song but never stood out for me on an LP filled with other pleasant midtempo songs. Up against "Goofus," I'd rate it the winner overall. But neither ranks among the Carpenters songs I listen to with any regularity.
    GDB2LV likes this.
  3. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    It was not according to the rules that I learned in music schools, hey, but that's "Goofus".

    Count me as preferring the a-side.
  4. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    I absolutely love BTS- it gets played all the time. "All those letters mailed" just kills me with her delivery.
  5. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I never knew it was a single until 1991. It was the last one I would have chose. Boat to Sail is a better choice in my book. If I had to choose between Boat To Sail or Goofus being on the album I would choose Boat To Sail! But it was too soft for radio. There were no other options, actually.
    I wonder if Two Sides was already cut for Passage. I would have chose that. But, for this exercise, I choose Boat To Sail.
  6. ars nova

    ars nova Active Member

    when TAKOH was released, I thought they were beating a dying horse. I thought INTBIL was over-produced and too heavy sonically. when GOOFUS was released I knew the end was near. HORIZON was such a tremendous album. initially I liked YOU, but listening to it today. it drags. I have always thought BTS and OMT were the best tracks. I agree with craig TWO SIDES was superb.
  7. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    The A side should ever have been released as a single, it's an odd novelty song that was far too left of field for radio. The tempo also really jars with me, especially those stabbing piano chords throughout.

    The B side is a pretty slice of ear candy that I could listen to over and over. Karen's delivery is playful and the harmonies in the instrumental break really touch something in me, I've never been able to explain why. This side of the single definitely gets my vote.
    Mark-T and CraigGA like this.
  8. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    I had to go with Boat To Sail, and I've got to wonder how the Carpenters picked Goofus over Breaking Up Is Hard To Do or Can't Smile Without You.

    Actually, for years I thought Can't Smile Without You was an A-side-single by the Carpenters, as I had heard it on The Singles 1974-1978 CD and never heard of Goofus. Goofus I had seen on the internet on Grant-Guerrero's website prior to picking up the Remastered Classics CD of A Kind Of Hush in Winnipeg, and it was only with that CD that I finally heard the song, which upon first listen, as a kid of the 90's/2000's, I had to wonder why the Carpenters had picked that as a single. It was a nice album track, but I just could not see it as a single.
    BarryT60 likes this.
  9. BarryT60

    BarryT60 Well-Known Member

    Going out on a terribly risky limb here... but - - I prefer neither. I never was fond of either tune... and when Goofus came out as a single, I was astonished. "You" got my vote for the next single - & I was so disappointed it never made it to 45 RPM status...
  10. ars nova

    ars nova Active Member

    I believe the remix of CSWY was released as a single in England, singles 74-78 was an a&m international release. I was in school, here in the states, when it was released and found only one copy in a record store. the crappy packaging would never have been approved in the US. not long after AKOH was released in the states. barry manilow released his version, in a much more energetic arrangement. I liked carpenters album track, not the remix.
  11. ars nova

    ars nova Active Member

    I don't know if it is true, but I read, perhaps here, that GOOFUS had been released because of fanclub feedback.
  12. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Diet Coke vs Diet Pepsi. Let's go back in time and replace either one with Ordinary Fool for the HUSH album. But that's not the question here. I chose side B though I am not a big fan. There is a kind of playful/airiness to Karen's vocals and I like the fact they pay some tribute to Brian Wilson. I have never gotten on board with Goofus, just like I will never get on board with Man Smart, Woman Smarter. I don't like it when they get too cute with the novelty stuff, but I do like Mr Guder and I know a lot of fans hate it with a passion.
  13. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    I never understood the hate for Mr. Guder. Especially when you know the lyrics are about a real person and the song is a "true story." If you've ever been to Disneyland (or worked there), you can really relate to the lyrics...especially from a 1970s "hipster's" point of view.
    Actorman, CraigGA and Eyewire like this.
  14. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Here's a nice idea for an EP: Goofus, Mr.Guder, Man Smart,Woman Smarter....
    Of those three songs, I listen to the Guder song least.
    (It's on By Request cd, so perhaps it is not hated so much by the Japanese consumer !)
    Goofus gets a lot of play from me, as I really like it !
    About the only thing about Man Smart, Woman Smarter song that I really do not care for--
    how it ever made its way to the 1978 Space Encounters TV Special, duet with Suzanne Somers ?
    But, Goofus appeared on the same Special ! Little wonder the average television viewer
    tuned out of 1980 Music,Music,Music---after having watched Space Encounters !
  15. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    I remember a few months ago we had a discussion on these forums about the 74-78 album, and I had even asked whether Can't Smile Without You (and Happy) had been released as a single anywhere in the world, and no one seemed to have an answer. However we do know that Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft went #1 on the Irish Music Charts, so maybe in Ireland and the UK the 45 turned into a Double singles where both sides got as much play on radio.
  16. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I'm pretty sure neither song was released as an A-side. I've never seen them listed anywhere even in some of the more unusual territories that went against the grain like Japan and Brazil.
  17. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    I'm thinking like the Beach Boys singles of the 1960's where Surfer Girl hit #7 and the flip side, Little Deuce Coupe hit #15 on the American charts! Or like with the Carpenters earlier Top of The World where the album cut was released as a single in Japan after having been an AOR hit.
  18. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Both "Can't Smile Without You" and "Happy" were b-sides to singles.
  19. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    I know they were B-sides, but in any country were the 45's that they were on double-charters, like the Beach Boys 45 I referenced? It's curious how a #2 album in the UK, that was called The Singles 1974-1978 presented both songs as being A-side singles, and yet no one seems to know why those two songs were put on when there were other singles out there, like Goofus, I Believe You & Breaking Up Is Hard To Do (which I realize were not issued in the UK, but still they were A-singles elsewhere). Not even This Masquerade, which is arguable the Carpenters most recognizable B-side single ever, made the album.
  20. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    In the case of the 'Only Yesterday' and 'Calling Occupants' singles, I've never read or heard anything to suggest that their B-sides ('Happy' and 'Can't Smile Without You') received any significant attention or radio play in the UK.

    I'm sure this has already been discussed in The Singles 1974-1978 thread, but in the UK, they hadn't released enough singles in that timeframe to fill up the album, as neither 'Goofus' nor 'I Believe You' got released there, so A&M used a couple of the B-sides to singles in order to fill up the tracklist. Remember, back then, information about what singles had been released in other markets was very thin on the ground, so it's not like UK fans would have complained about the omission of 'Goofus' from the album, given that they'd a) probably never heard the song and b) unless they'd been reading the fan club newsletters, they'd never have known that 'Goofus' had been a single in the US.

    As a fan from 1990, I didn't discover that 'Goofus' was a single until it appeared in the brief discography in Ray Coleman's book in 1994 and even then, given what it sounds like(!) I thought it might be typo as it didn't sound like the sort of song that would ever have been considered single material for any market, particularly their main one.

    As a side-note though, in the early 1970s, A&M UK did release a few Carpenters singles in a double 'A-side' fashion, in the sense that unusually both sides were listed in the charts printed at the time: Superstar/For All We Know, Goodbye to Love/I Won't Last a Day Without You and Jambalaya/Mr Guder. However, in the case of the first and the last of these, 'Superstar' and 'Jambalaya' were clearly pushed as the 'A-side' track to play and it doesn't seem that 'For All We Know' or 'Mr Guder' got any attention at all. In the case of the other single, it seems that initially A&M may have planned on promoting 'I Won't Last a Day Without You' as the A-side, as on the single's first week on the chart it was listed by itself, but for all subsequent weeks on the chart, 'Goodbye to Love' was listed as the A-side and got nearly all the attention from thereon in.
  21. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

  22. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    I don't know about Ireland, but in Australia, 'Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft' reached its high level of success all by itself. It was never flipped with 'Can't Smile Without You' on radio. 'Calling Occupants' was all over the airwaves all over the country in late 1977 and especially in early 1978. At night, when radio stations turned up their frequencies and you could pick up stations from the other side of the country, when you turned the dial, you heard the song on every second station. It reached Top 5 in individual states such as South Australia but peaked at different times in different places, so only rose to Number 13 nationally. (One national chart has it peaking at Number 10).

    Getting on to the topic of this thread, I like both 'Goofus' and 'Boat to Sail'. Having said that, I've got a feeling that 'Goofus' had a different 'B' side in Australia.

    I loved 'Goofus' at the time it was released as a single. (I was twelve at the time). It was played regularly on local radio, (which was only a small station in a sparsely-populated area. I doubt that it was played widely across the country). I loved the whole 'A Kind of Hush' album, at the time. I ordered that in 1977, the year after it was released. To order records in my town, you went into a dark, dusty store with bicycles hanging from the ceiling and fans, washing machines, nuts and bolts and all sorts crowding the floor, and placed your order. You had to wait for about half an hour while a book listing currently-available records was consulted and the order form was filled out. Then you waited two or three months for the record to arrive.

    I played 'A Kind of Hush' constantly and loved 'Goofus' as much as all the other tracks. I loved the harmonies, the story of the song, the piano chords, the instrumentation and that long 'Oooooh' at the end. I loved the fact that the lyrics mentioned growing up on a farm in the country. I was excited every time I heard the song on radio.

    For this survey, although I liked 'Boat to Sail', I have chosen 'Goofus' as my favourite side because I regard it as the more interesting song with the more impressive arrangement. It also has that sentimental pull for me, being attached to childhood memories.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  23. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    True, but The Singles 1974-1978 was also released in Canada and Japan, and as we saw years later Canada seemed to be grouped into the UK Market vs the US market (unlike most other things) when Interpretations was released. But there's another reason that I wonder if Can't Smile Without You and Happy were released or had significant airplay in markets outside of the UK, and those markets inspired the track selection, since the 1978 The Carpenters Collection from Canada features Happy, and of course the record cover states "22 Original Hits", and yet Happy, as far as anyone can tell was a hit nowhere! (of course 7 of the 22 hits (including Happy) are either B-Sides (This Masquerade) or Album Cuts, such as A Song For You and I Just Fall In Love Again ).
  24. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    I think you've answered your own question there - the inclusion of a track on a greatest bits/best of compilation wasn't necessarily proof that it was released (or treated) as the A-side of a single anywhere.

    Back to the main topic, I sat through the whole A Kind of Hush album a couple of weeks ago for the first time in ages (normally there are a number of instant skips on there), but 'Goofus' still sounds like an instant miss to me. It's a silly throwway album track at best with an annoying arrangement and one of Karen's most affected vocal performances. I think only 'Man Smart, Woman Smarter' surpasses it in being a prime contender for their worst song ever (although 'Druscilla Penny' might vie with 'Goofus' for second place in that respect). It should never have been a single and has rightfully been left off nearly all subsequent compilations.

    'Boat to Sail' gets a bit lost in the over-'mellow' feel of the A Kind of Hush album, but is an enticing song when heard in isolation. It's not a single, but it's a very nice album cut and light years ahead of 'Goofus'.

    On the subject of what should have been a single instead of 'Goofus', while I don't feel there's a bit hit on the album, a number of people (casual listeners rather than fans) who've heard the full album have singled out 'You' as the standout. It doesn't sound quite strong enough to me to have stopped the rot of declining chart fortunes if it had been a single in 1976, but it's odd that it's the one album track that several people keep picking...
  25. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I've never thought You was strong enough to be a single. It's a nice album track at best, which is what the album was mostly full of, and it's too slow and plodding to have made any great waves on radio. I doubt whether it would have fared much better than Goofus.

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