• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are in the pipeline! The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy will be available on November 16, 2021 and 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 being released January 14, 2022, and is available for ordering here.

⭐ 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: 20 35.1%
  • Side B: "B'wana She No Home"

    Votes: 37 64.9%

  • Total voters
    57

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
Lol. Or that it’s one of their poorest releases. It should never made its way onto Made In America. Only Goofus was a worse choice.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Lol. Or that it’s one of their poorest releases. It should never made its way onto Made In America. Only Goofus was a worse choice.
B’Wana should’ve been the A side. Or they should’ve finished Honolulu or “Boat To Sail” and left IBY in the vault.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Now this is interesting, but on the CBS 45 of I Believe You does the bass guitar ever sound like it was mixed higher in the mix for the first 30-45 seconds, as it is really powerful at the start of the song—-it’s not as buried in the mix. Really can really hear the “pong-pong-pong-pong” of the bass more than I recall on the other LP’s and CD’s of the song that I have, and then after that the bass goes back to its normal buried sound. In those first 30-45 seconds it doesn’t overpower, but it’s also not as quiet as what I recall in the others and it’s very noticeable. Maybe the mastering engineer at CBS misread the notes for the mix at first (language barrier?) and then realized their error and corrected it.

Also this version of IBY sounds like it has a narrower stereo sound stage, possible because this was a promo 45 for radio.


And then the version of B’Wana She No Home sounds like the CD versions. It’s very mono sounding, and sounds like how many mono 45s that I have sound on my setup. When I have my surround system set to STEREO, it does encompass the whole STEREO stage, but only like a mono 45 (the one single that springs to mind is The Beach Boys “I Can Hear Music” from 1969? or the mono version of their 1964 album “Summer Days (And Summer Nights!)”), not a STEREO 45 or 33 record where you can hear the different elements playing in the left or right channels. Even when I switched to the Dolby Pro circuits, B’Wana was playing from the Center speaker only, while the front left & right speakers had like a very, very faint echo of what was happening in the Center. (IBY also didn’t play out to the left & right speakers in this mode much, but when it did the sound didn’t sound like a faint echo), it sounded fuller, but still a narrower than usual stereo field).
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
B’Wana should’ve been the A side. Or they should’ve finished Honolulu or “Boat To Sail” and left IBY in the vault.
As someone who is born and raised in Hawaii, I have to strongly agree with this. I would never admit this in public, but the Beamers' version (the original) never touched me in the same way as the Carpenters' version. Every time I got homesick, I'd play "Honolulu City Lights" (the Carpenters' version) and I'd feel comforted. (Again, this is blasphemous and I would never admit this to other people who live here in Hawaii ahaha!)

As far as both of these songs, I do think that Honolulu City Lights as the A-side and B'wana as the B-side would have been a really interesting combination, really showing off the tropical flair that Richard and Karen were both exploring. "I Believe You" is fine, but it's never done anything for me. B'wana is okay, but it's very mono—which is fine, but I don't consider it to be like a pinnacle of artistry re: mastering.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
I'm also thinking "Little Girl Blue" could have been released as an A-side in '78, and Space Encounters could have been used to promote that single...
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Regarding "B'wana," I just received the "SWEET MEMORY at last" CD yesterday and am taking a listen to "B'wana" for the first time today. Per the A&M Corner website, the "SWEET MEMORY at last" CD and the old A&M CD are brighter (I agree) and the backing vocals on the vinyl album have more stereo separation.

I have a vinyl LP of Passage and am curious now to hear what "B'wana" sounds like. I would assume that, since the album was recorded at 30 ips, the sound is naturally bright, so any muddiness would be an artificial EQ adjustment in the remastering process. I really like this version of "B'wana" that's brighter. The background vocals do have more separation -- the "Remastered Classics" CD does sound a bit one-dimensional, and almost like a mono single; this version is very clearly stereo, although I do admit that most of the action is happening in the center.
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
I'm also thinking "Little Girl Blue" could have been released as an A-side in '78, and Space Encounters could have been used to promote that single...
While I agree with you that ‘Space Encounters’ would have been a great marketing tool for a new single, ‘Little Girl Blue’ just wouldn’t have worked (especially in 1978). It’s beautifully performed, as always, but it’s not commercial enough. I think it would have suffered a worse fate than ‘I Believe You’.

BUT, it would fit perfectly on a standards album.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I was listening to the 1978 radio (FM-100) interview with Karen Carpenter where she states
how much she likes I Believe You: "...it had the same type of warmth that Close To You did with all the big, fat vocals and stuff..." (55s).
Now, I have a question. As far as my ears discern,
Why do the background vocals on I Believe You sound much less "filled-in" in comparison to what is heard on Close To You ?
That is, I do not hear those "big, fat vocals..." that Karen makes reference to on the song I Believe You !
The background vocals have never sounded right to me.
 
Last edited:

Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
I was listening to the 1978 radio (FM-100) interview with Karen Carpenter where she states
how much she likes I Believe You: "...it had the same type of warmth that Close To You did with all the big, fat vocals and stuff..." (55s).
Now, I have a question. As far as my ears discern,
Why do the background vocals on I Believe You sound much less filled-in' than what you hear on Close To You ?
That is, I do not hear those "big, fat vocals..." that Karen hears on I Believe You !
The background vocals have never sounded right to me.
The BGVs that she is referring to were meant to sit differently in the mix than the "waah"s were in "Close to You," which explains why they sound vastly different—for starters.

I think what Karen is referring to is what she remembers hearing when they were overdubbing the BGVs. Similar harmonic structure in certain places, which of course she would have heard much more transparently "pre-mix" than the record-buying audience hears in post. Again, all based around her personal experience with it and overall subjectivity. :)
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
I also think that Karen may have been referring to the "fat" vowel sounds in the lyrics. Lots of "you's" to sing in both songs.

I think the "ooh" backing is siblime on this song as far as the sound of it goes, but the actual song cannot compare to the radio-friendly "Close To You".

Richard's arrangement even added a false ending to "I Believe You", just like the LP version of "Close To You."
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Couldn't help but notice that Richard remains convinced that the poor chart/sales performance of this single,
I Believe You, was a result of "the image thing."
In that I must disagree.
As I have described previously, back in 1978 (when I first heard the song on the radio, perhaps twice)
my first instinct was that this song was the wrong way to go--and, nowhere it went.
All these years later--while I enjoy the song as an album cut--I still believe it was a misstep,
having absolutely nothing to do with "the image thing."
 

Another Son

Well-Known Member
Couldn't help but notice that Richard remains convinced that the poor chart/sales performance of this single,
I Believe You, was a result of "the image thing."
In that I must disagree.
As I have described previously, back in 1978 (when I first heard the song on the radio, perhaps twice)
my first instinct was that this song was the wrong way to go--and, nowhere it went.
All these years later--while I enjoy the song as an album cut--I still believe it was a misstep,
having absolutely nothing to do with "the image thing."
In countries where “Calling Occupants” was a hit, something that followed that up well could have solidified renewed interest in K & R, or a new fan base. “Sweet, Sweet Smile” was entirely the wrong way to follow that song and the momentum was completely lost. They also didn’t have strong, interesting new recordings to follow “Occupants”, hence a long wait before the completely different “Sweet, Sweet Smile”, which would have totally dissipated the interest of those captured by “Occupants” - then a change of style again with “I Believe You”.

Mind you, I personally LOVED ‘I Believe You’ when it was released as a single. It got considerable airplay on the local radio station. I was also RIGHT INTO ‘Occupants’, which was on the radio every 5 minutes. LOVED it!
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^I am so glad that Occupants scored higher internationally, as it got hardly any radio play in my neck of the woods--
Actually, I was thrilled with all three of the Passage singles.....but, when All You Get From Love is a Love Song
failed to hit in a big way, I knew we were in trouble.
I Believe You never had a chance (imho).
 
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