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Solo Album and Single Success

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by newvillefan, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    ^^"Substituting a contrived sexuality for Karen's normally
    understated discretion, these inferior tracks
    proved the wisdom of the earlier decision to stop the album."

    -That sounds like Richard Carpenter

    I have never read Coleman's book but I assume "authorized biography" means "Pro-Richard". How ironic it is that RS Magazine, seems to see "positives" in her solo work.

    Let the "usual conspiracy theorists among us" continue on with their diligent work!
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2018
  2. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^ Hopefully, I am not considered under the rubric of conspiracy theorist.
    Seriously, though, get a copy of Ray Coleman's book.
    While the book does devote many a page to the solo album,
    to my mind it merely gives rise to more questions than answers.
    Not that that is a 'bad' thing--the only problem being that it represents time up to 1994,
    and it is interesting that the actual solo album was released within less than two years of that publication.
    Reading Coleman--in 1994--one got the impression that no other solo songs would ever see the light of day !
    So, we see, Richard Carpenter was gracious in giving us more !
     
    Carpe diem likes this.
  3. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    Not to mention, but in 1991 two additional tracks were released (My Body Keeps Changing My Mind/Still Crazy After All These Years), so by 1994, in essence, half the album was already out.
     
  4. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Duly noted Gary, thank you.
     
  5. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Why though, when Phil Ramone reports that the atmosphere was euphoric at the New York playback? Who was there from A&M? Wasn't Derek Green there? Why weren't those same people in the playback in LA? We know Phil Ramone roped Quincy Jones in on this when it didn't go to plan after the LA playback. He's never gone on the record about his involvement about this album. I'm not a conspiracy theorist about the album, I just really, really still struggle with the diametrically opposed stories we hear between the NYC and LA playbacks. There are so many things about the album that still don't add up, to this day.
     
  6. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    If anything, those four tracks that Richard chose proved that the decision to shelve the album was the wrong one. Those four songs are the absolute standout tracks on the album.

    All I see there is Richard's heavy-handed editorial control over Ray Coleman in an attempt to re-write the solo episode to make him look better.
     
    Jorge, Carpe diem and Jarred like this.
  7. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I wish it had been released. We were all eager to hear Karen by 1980 with several years already without a new fresh song we would have grasped at any song and an up to date sound is what we have desired since Only Yesterday from 1975. The opportunity from Passage was missed with B’wanna or I’ll Just Fall In Love Again for they would have worked well performed live. Most songs from the solo album would have too.
     
    Carpe diem likes this.
  8. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
    I think the Coleman book "should" have read:
    these superior tracks proved the lack of good judgement of the earlier decision to stop the album

    seriously....inferior is not the word to have used in this book for these tracks...that word cuts like a knife.
    just my thoughts.
     
  9. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    Indeed. Although it's an interesting book is some respects, the Coleman book doesn't cover itself in glory when discussing the solo album. It strikes me as rather questionable practice for it to have presented what was essentially Richard's personal opinion on the album as an indisputible fact arrived at independently by the author. The book's not even particularly accurate in its criticisms - only one of the four solo tracks that was included on Lovelines ('Remember When Lovin' Took All Night') contained lyrics that could be accused of containing a 'contrived sexuality'.

    Thank goodness we were eventually able to hear the album in full in 1996 and make up our minds.
     
    newvillefan and GaryAlan like this.
  10. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    I had to re-read the Karen Carpenter cd 1996 Liner Notes:
    Richard Carpenter: "The album represents a certain period and change of approach in her career.
    As such, it deserves to be heard, in its entirety, as originally delivered...plus, one bonus track."
    Phil Ramone: "I have not re-mixed, or done anything to the tapes. These mixes, the material and style,
    are the way Karen approved them. The bonus track is unmixed and was one of several that might have
    been finished. "

    So, I ask:
    Were these the only songs heard during playback ? "in its entirety, as originally delivered"
    Furthermore,
    "one of several".....that is, which songs...."might have been finished" ?
     
  11. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    What he’s saying there is that what we hear on the CD is exactly the same as what they heard in the playback session. They wouldn’t have played any other outtakes - just the finished product consisting of 11 tracks.
     
  12. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    I agree, wish it had been released also. A&M could've taken the hit if the sales weren't there, IMHO. Karen fronted $400,000 of her own money for it. It wouldn't have been the disaster certain parties were predicting. And what a boost to Karen's self-confidence! Her solo album isn't "inferior" in any way to MIA, in fact two of the lauded tracks on "Richard's Favorite Album", Touch Me When We're Dancing and (Want You) Back In My Life Again sound like they came directly off Karen's album.
     
    Rick-An Ordinary Fool likes this.
  13. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    (1)Ray Coleman writes (Bottom, page 263) : "A solo album was almost an act of treason."
    Are those Karen's words ? Whose words are those ?
    (2)Then,top page 264, Werner Wolfen: " he (RC) thought it was treachery of a sort."
    (3)Page 271: " By the time she had completed it in early 1980, Richard was fit.
    The customary "playback" for senior A&M executives was set up. A promotion campaign was being arranged.
    It was projected as one of A&M's prime releases for Spring 1980, and everyone inside the company
    was being 'talked-up' for a blockbuster." (Who is "everyone" ?)
    Next, we read:
    "Jerry Moss asked Derek Green to fly in to New York to hear the initial playback." (page 271).

    So, I am confused.
     
  14. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Karen's solo is much stronger than MIA in my opinion!
     
  15. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    One moment I think MIA is better. But my body keeps changing my mind... :)
     
    Rick-An Ordinary Fool likes this.
  16. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Active Member

    That makes you wonder why “Love Making Love To You” & “Don’t Try To Win Me Back” were completed in their entirety, but then left off the final album. Did they get heard at a playback, and someone said to remove them?
     
  17. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    To me, Made In America was bland and it lacked Carpenter driven originality and magic that we heard ten years prior. Everything felt copied from the past or gimmicky in the present. Touch Me When We’re Dancing held the receipe song hit formula including the sax in the middle of the song that we have heard time and time again and this time without ‘in crowd’ feeling of a Paul Williams tune, while the simpler songs like Somebody’s Been Lyin had great moments but felt over orchestrated. It was difficult to even recommend it as a purchase. Now when I got a copy of Karen's solo I played it for everyone for it went places and showcased Karen as an artist. It was hard to understand that it took ten more years for an official release of which I bought several copies to share with others. Today it fits well in my playback of all Carpenters hits and still feel its attack was unwarranted but I’m not a hit maker and not in the business of being responsible for record companies and careers possibly were given different advice in 1980 than they are given today. We always hear that it was Karen’s decision to shelve it but we question why the family and company did not support it or encourage Karen. After all, she was trying to help the group by doing it. And we know about the reality of the solo project after we see the tragedy of her death. Could it be that if the family was given that vision into the future that they would have then encouraged it? We will never know, and our efforts to understand it will never give us peace, but nothing like the missing peace her family faced. None of it will bring Karen back and while Richard continues to protect her legacy and has given the album and other songs to us, and I hope at least, the 2 other songs unreleased that we crave to hold will soon follow, I continue to be a solid fan. Maybe the 75 tour for the fall should have been the only one that year, and then a break. After all they deserved it. But the desired perfection and did their best to achieve it. In my heard, and as others have voiced, it was their health issues that kept them from correct decisions and creative opportunities. But, the recordings were still there and I am glad today that we have most of those unrealesed gems now released.
     
  18. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Primarily the marketing team and the promotions people who would have publicised, planned and co-ordinated Karen's album launch and subsequent TV appearances to promote the album.

    I very much doubt it, although I'd love to know for sure. I think the former was probably shelved for overstepping the mark from being suggestive to overtly explicit. The latter doesn't sound finished to me. The backing track is basic - just bass, piano, drums and guitar. There's no orchestration, it sounds unmixed, unsweetened and there are long passages with nothing really going on, no solos etc.
     
  19. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    Love Making Love To You and Something’s Missing are my favorite two left. I listen to those on YouTube quite often.
     
    Jarred and newvillefan like this.
  20. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Same here. Adding those two tracks in and removing "All Because Of You" would have made such a difference. Here's one way the tracklist and running order could have hugely improved it from what it was and some justifications as to why:

    Side A
    1. Lovelines: Great album opener - funky, different, immediately recognisable as Karen due to the use of her rich lower register.
    2. Something's Missing: This would have been infinitely better as second song in. It slows the pace, focuses the attention on Karen's wonderful, intimate vocal and has that great, indescribable late night New York vibe that threads through the other ballads on the album.
    3. If I Had You: Strong contender for lead single and features that amazing signature sound that Karen was capable of creating all by herself.
    4. Makin' Love In The Afternoon: Nice album track, evocative of sunny Californian summer days.
    5. If We Try: Another moody, late night track featuring Karen's sensuous lower register. Perfect set up for the side A closing track.
    6. Remember When Lovin' Took All Night: This should never have been the opener of side B. To my mind, the long drawn out faded ending doesn't work as an opening track on this album. It's perfect as the closer for side A: the catchy tune, flirtatious vocal and great hook in the chorus leave the listener wanting more as Karen sings with almost wild abandon "you've been gone too long!" and the track slowly fades out.
    Side B
    1. Still In Love With You: A guitar driver rocker that reveals yet another side of Karen nobody had seen before or even expected, this track is bold enough to have been allowed the privilege to open side B.
    2. My Body Keeps Changing My Mind: From the guitar driven to the disco. Another catchy tune and definite single material.
    3. Make Believe It's Your First Time: One of the album's standout ballads which creates a beautiful shift in mood.
    4. Love Makin' Love To You: The most ambitious and possibly best track from the entire solo project. Karen totally lets her hair down and goes for it, from the sublime verses to the wild abandon of the choruses.
    5. Guess I Just Lost My Head: Another pretty album track as side B draws to a close.
    6. Still Crazy After All These Years: I've always thought of this song as a nod to the Carpenters and to Richard. (I'm not the kind of girl who tends to socialise, I seem to lean on old familiar ways"). It's almost a way of saying that the Carpenters have had some crazy times, the best is yet to come and that neither of them is ready to quit yet.
    Cut to Karen's dedication on the inner sleeve:

    "Dedicated to my brother Richard, with all my heart".
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2018
  21. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    I’m still amazed at what went down with this album. I’m as pissed about the outcome today as I’ve ever been.
    Karen got the shaft on this one. She worked her butt off for a full year and was totally immersed in it....only to be squashed in the end.
    ‘Karen Carpenter’ is a great album and far, far superior to ‘Made In America’. Was it Karen’s ‘Sgt. Pepper’? No, but it was her most personal work and Richard and A&M could have and should have supported it. It is a finely performed, expertly crafted, FUN album.
     
    newvillefan likes this.
  22. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    FL
    Great job Stephen...I didn't run the numbers but would those tracks actually fit on an LP? I'm in the minority but I would miss "All Because Of You" maybe a bonus track.

    I know a lot of people have said the music she recorded on her solo album was dated with some disco type songs but I feel so differently. Earlier today when I read that one line from James when he said that My Body Keeps Changing My Mind...for the rest of the day today I could not get that lyric out of my head, literally been singing that song all day and it's just contagious.
     
    newvillefan likes this.
  23. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Nice critique and very well thought out, Newvillefan. I think you are definitely on to something there. The sad part is a little adjustment here or there could've made (with the minimum amount of effort) all the difference in the world.
     
  24. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    Great recap, Stephen. Spot on summary, though I also love ‘All Because Of You’ and wouldn’t give that one up, either. :wink:
     
    newvillefan likes this.
  25. I mostly agree; however, personally, I never cared for Karen's Love Makin' Love To You. Unconvincing. I wrote earlier how I felt it was weak compared to Cher's version; though I don't really care for the song itself. I also feel Something's Missing would have needed a brighter arrangement (or something) as it comes off a bit draggy to me. There are stronger songs amongst the unreleased tracks, in my opinion.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2018
    newvillefan likes this.

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