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Official Review [Single]: 26. "I BELIEVE YOU"/"B'WANA SHE NO HOME" (2097-S)

Which side is your favorite?

  • Side A: "I Believe You"

    Votes: 16 31.4%
  • Side B: "B'wana She No Home"

    Votes: 35 68.6%

  • Total voters
    51

Chris May

Resident 'Carpenterologist'
Thread Starter
Staff member
Moderator
“I BELIEVE YOU / B'WANA SHE NO HOME"

IBY.png IBYSingle.png BSNH.png
Side A: I Believe You 3:54 (Addrisi/Addrisi)
Side B: B'wana She No Home 5:40 (Franks)


Catalogue Number: A&M 2097-S

Date of Release: 11/78
Format: 7" Single
Speed: 45 RPM
Country: US
Top Chart Position: #68

Arranged by Paul Riser
Vocal Arrangement: Richard Carpenter
Produced by Richard Carpenter
Associate Producer: Karen Carpenter
Side B taken from A&M SP-4703 album "Passage"


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

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
Wow! It feels as though we've discussed this single a lot recently, but here it is in its own official thread.

I recall spotting "I Believe You" in a throwaway pile at the radio station I worked at. Naturally, being a Carpenters fan, I grabbed it and took it home, probably listened to it once, maybe twice, and then filed it away. It was likely a mono/stereo promo with no other song on the b-side. I'm not sure what happened to that single, but I lost it over the years. Perhaps I gave it away when MADE IN AMERICA came out. At that time in my life, I often did things like that, passing on what I perceived as a duplicate to someone who'd appreciate it.

Much later, I acquired from somewhere, I don't recall, the stock single with "B'wana She No Home" on the b-side, and during our discussion of *that* song, dug out this single and made the discovery of the right-channel trailing echo, along with the brighter-sounding version like the PASSAGE album version.

As for the a-side, I find the track a pleasant one, if perhaps unremarkable. It was an odd choice for a non-album single at that time, and even though our radio station was a soft rock/adult contemporary format, I don't think "I Believe You" was ever played. Apparently many fans dislike the lyrics to this song. "Freckled little girls" never scared me!

For sheer fascination of my b-side discovery, I'm going to select "B'wana..." as my choice.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
B'wana- by a long shot.
Love everything about it- and the opening bars make a great ring tone.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
B’Wana by a mile. One of the sassiest, funkiest tracks they ever recorded, with a great flirtatious vocal by Karen. I just wish someone would do something with its terrible, muddy sound. The single version is a slight improvement but not what’s really needed.

The A side? Meh. Take it or leave it for me. Overproduced and with a corny lyric. I’m not surprised it sank without a trace at the time.
 

Simon KC1950

Well-Known Member
I went for the A side. I think it's a pleasant single, of course not their best but still nice. It was actually one of the first Carpenters songs I owned. My first Carpenters cd I ever got was 40/40 which I think is a great 'starter pack' for younger fans, (I was 14 at the time in 2015) it has hits and album cuts from every album except the Christmas ones and "As Time Goes By".
I agree with Karen somewhat that it has the same feel as "Close To You" though not as magical. I don't see why so many of the fans don't like it.
I also like "B'Wanna". However, both of these songs are not ones I would play all the time.
 

Murray

Well-Known Member
Definitely "B'Wana" for me. As far as "I Believe You" goes, I find the music pleasant enough (though overproduced), and Karen's vocal performance is great, but I just can't get past the cheesy lyrics.
 

Jeff

Well-Known Member
Often times I think of B'WANA as a missed radio opportunity. Kink Smooth jazz would have been all over it. Slight edit. I BELIEVE YOU from the Singles sacd sounds magnifico! It's been growing on me since that release. But I chose B'WANA. Conceptually I think it relates more to the album title PASSAGE.
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
Side B - B'wana had me at "I don't care in you drive my 350 honey..." - Love the sax coming in at the end...da da da dat! - da da da - da da da dat!, SUBLIME! Side A - Doesn't really stand out for me.
 

jaredjohnfisher

Active Member
I too have voiced my opinions elsewhere regarding I Believe You. I played MIA the other day, and perhaps I was a bit harsh regarding IBY. Karen delivers a convincing vocal, but it doesn't seem like the right kind of song for them to have recorded in the first place; let alone release as a single--then drop on an album 3 years later! I loved Passage when it came out. B'wana knocked me out then and still does today. Karen sounds very much in command and the musicianship speaks for itself. To my ears, at the time, I felt the Carpenters were exactly where they should be musically. I also think if Occupants had delivered the big hit they'd hoped it would, the album as a whole wouldn't have the dark cloud above it it seems to have.
 

Toolman

Simple Man, Simple Dream
Gave IBY another vote just because it's getting undeservedly blasted...but I do like "B'wana" as well, and remember getting a kick out of hearing something that wasn't the usual love ballad as the first track on "Passage". As I've commented elsewhere, I wasn't that fond of IBY when it was first released, but it has grown on me quite a lot over the years, unlike a few of their bigger hits that have lost a little luster.
 

ullalume

Well-Known Member
It seems Richard had lost all confidence in himself at this point. Which is a shame and unwarranted since Honolulu and Slow Dance have great arrangements. I just think the two of them didn't know what to do by '78. The irony is they never needed an "angle". . .they just made quality pop. . . .it was the times that changed.

Anyway. . .I like I believe you, but B'wana is a great track (though possibly rather racist).
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
“I Believe You” should’ve been left as an album only track or B side at most. There were better tracks from 78 that should’ve been finished and issued, like “Honolulu City Lights”.

I went with B’Wana.
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
Given that this single wasn't a hit, it's actually a pretty good combo - a nice pairing of two completely different sides of the Carpenters' oeuvre.

'Bwana' has to get my vote though, just because it's so unusual for them, yet works so well. It's a shame it's such a muddy-sounding recording, as if it were clearer, it would probably be even better. I'm sure it's not to everyone's taste, but unlike 'Man Smart, Woman Smarter' or 'Goofus', it shows that they could really deliver the goods on a more leftfield offering if they picked the right track. It's always been my favourite song on Passage and it's nice that it seems to be getting more recognition by fans now, having rather languished as one of those almost-never anthologized album tracks for many years.

But that's not to say that 'I Believe You' doesn't have its merits - for me it's one of their stronger outings from their later period and it's one of the two best tracks on Made in America. Sure, it's on the sweet side, but I don't have any problems with the lyrics that some fans seem to (for me, 'Crystal Lullaby' contains ever sappier lyrics, while a song like 'Strength of a Woman' contains more dubious lyrics in terms of what it's trying to say) and the arrangement (particularly of those lovely background vocals) is impressive.

It wasn't strong enough to be a single for them in 1978, but then nothing else they recorded that year was either - and apart from 'Slow Dance', I'd say 'I Believe You' is better than any of the other 1978 outtakes. It's a perfectly nice song (something you can't say about a good number of their post-1975 output), just released at the wrong time. I'm just relieved that at least they picked this over 'Thank You for the Music' as the single, as I imagine I would have hated their version of that!
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I'm just relieved that at least they picked this over 'Thank You for the Music' as the single, as I imagine I would have hated their version of that!
Regarding 1978 single releases and their planned cover of Thank You for The Music, Richard obviously saw some potential in it for them to cover it and more importantly, ABBA had no plans to release it in 1978, so it wouldn’t have “clashed” with theirs (as it stands, it was eventually put out by ABBA as a single in late 1983, long after they had disbanded).

Q. Does anybody actually know if they ever got as far as recording a lead vocal for the track? I’m not sure this question has ever been definitively answered. Richard’s comments from his website are really unclear on this point. It sounds as if it was abandoned early on during the recording process and it definitely doesn’t sound as if they ever got as far as overdubbing backing vocals, that’s for sure.

A terrific song and even better record, but, of course, nobody does ABBA like ABBA. I was really taken with that song. We first heard them perform it on a highly popular music program in Europe called " Starparade" on which we were both performing in Bremen, Germany, 1978.We laid down a track, but the more I thought about it, I realized that, as usual, Benny and Bjorn had done the definitive arrangement and all I'd be doing was copying it; something I just don't do, of course. It's an outtake, never completed and in storage with the rest of the stuff in Pennsylvania”.

Carpenters Fans Ask- Richard Answers, May 2005

If there is a lead vocal on there, I’m not sure I’d be a fan either. The live version on the Tonight Show was dire, a rare instance where Karen’s reading was forced and did not suit the track at all.
 
Last edited:

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Looking at Charts, I note:

Touch Me When We're Dancing had already been released by 'Bama (1980),
I Believe You, earlier released as single by Dorothy Moore (1977),
All You Get From Love had been released by Steve Eaton (1974),
Solitaire had been released by Andy Williams (1974),
Please Mr. Postman released as single by Boone Family simultaneously,
I Won't Last A Day had been released by Paul Williams (1973) and Maureen McGovern (1973).
Top Of The World had seen single release by Lynn Anderson (June 1973).
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I realized that, as usual, Benny and Bjorn had done the definitive arrangement and all I'd be doing was copying it; something I just don't do, of course”.
Talking of covers, one other thing I meant to mention about the above quote is that despite Richard claiming he doesn’t copy other artists, he did in fact do just that on quite a few occasions in the late seventies.



 

Rudy

ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ
Staff member
Site Admin
I recall spotting "I Believe You" in a throwaway pile at the radio station I worked at.
That's exactly where this single belongs. :laugh: "B'wana" is a great Michael Franks track, so it was neat to hear it covered on Passage and used as a B-side.

This A-side (which I can't even type the title of, since I dislike it that much) has to be one of the absolute worst songs they (or anyone else in the history of music) ever recorded. How could any group ever hope of having a comeback on the pop charts with this sappy tune and cloying, cornball lyrics? This is exactly the type of music they were ridiculed for by their detractors, for years, and to step neck-high into this style of syrupy Muzak was one of the last nails in the coffin for rebuilding their pop music career IMHO. Their music throughout the 70s wasn't quite in line with the pop music of the day, but it worked, and they had great success with it. But this was so far off in left field that it didn't have a snowball's chance in Death Valley of ever being liked, let alone become a hit. I found it totally embarrassing to listen to.

Or the short version: that's 3 minutes and 54 seconds of my life I'll never get back...
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
Talking of covers, one other thing I meant to mention about the above quote is that despite Richard claiming he doesn’t copy other artists, he did in fact do just that on quite a few occasions in the late seventies.



I think these examples just prove how brilliant Richard is- and how Karen's voice e could instantly change something from "mediocre" to something that was a "must listen to".
 

Bobberman

Well-Known Member
Being a sucker for ballads I chose IBY which I didn't play Very often I agree it's not among their best but yet being a Lovestruck Teenager in 1981 when it was included on MIA and i know I'm in the minority on this but Considering it was the Last to be released while Karen was alive And i was unaware of her Illness until her passing I heard enough of the album being played on our local MOR/EZ radio station IBY was one of several not just the obvious hits and I think the reason why I still enjoy it is the fact it didn't Get Played to death which sometimes either makes or breaks it for me nonetheless I understand also MIA isn't everyone's cup of tea but it's ok as I always say "To Each Their Own"
 

dave-LIVE

New Member
One of the reasons I joined amcorner was to learn stuff like this! Never knew the Carpenters did "B'wana" - wow!

I've always liked Dorothy Moore's original cut of "I Believe You", and I'm going to guess that The Carpenters covered it live and figured it would be an easy track for them to record and get out there. Obviously, it fell short of expectations, but it's not terrible.
 

Carpe diem

Well-Known Member
One of the reasons I joined amcorner was to learn stuff like this! Never knew the Carpenters did "B'wana" - wow!

I've always liked Dorothy Moore's original cut of "I Believe You", and I'm going to guess that The Carpenters covered it live and figured it would be an easy track for them to record and get out there. Obviously, it fell short of expectations, but it's not terrible.
WELCOME TO THE FORUM!!
 
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