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Still Crazy After All These Years

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Mark-T, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    So this morning, I'm listening to my I-tunes list while I work away, and on comes the old Paul Simon classic reimagined. All I can say is "Man, I LOVE her voice!" Karen sounds just fantastic. Then, it hits me how great she sounds in a contemporary light jazz setting!

    How many other voices take me to that place these days? Not many.
    David A, GaryAlan, Tony and 2 others like this.
  2. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    The overdubbed background vocals on this track are just sublime. She can cover extreme high harmonies and bassline lows. The quality of the solo material aside, I’ve listened to this and other solo tracks - especially If I Had You - and thought many times “she can create that sound all by herself. Richard isn’t really missed”.

    I often wonder if the some at the label, Karen’s friends and colleagues didn’t wonder the same thing.
    Tony likes this.
  3. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Yes Yes Yes! AND may I contribute her performance on This Masquerade under your category of "contemporary light jazz setting"!
    Tony likes this.
  4. Tony

    Tony Active Member

    I couldn't agree more. I think had she survived and been allowed to evolve as an artist Karen would have gravitated in that direction. Her voice was perfect for it. I used to have a playlist that consisted Carpenters and Karen Carpenter songs that could be described as light jazz, and I enlightened a few listeners by sharing it with them.
    MorningOpensQuietly likes this.
  5. A&M Retro

    A&M Retro Well-Known Member

    I agree 100%! Karen nails it. I remember being blown away all over again when I heard the original mix on the solo album. The background vocals are much more audible, and the listener can really hear what’s happening there. Those low notes are like NO OTHER. She was just incredibly talented.
    Carpe diem likes this.
  6. ars nova

    ars nova Active Member

    you really make a GREAT point! Richard had long outlived his usefulness; she should have kicked him to the curb years before!
  7. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    ^^^ I wouldn't go that far, but I would say Karen would shine in a multitude of styles and under the hands of an equally wide variety of producers.
  8. Graeme

    Graeme Active Member

    Karen's background vocals are great on her album and edgier than most of those that had come before (different vocal acrobatics). Refreshingly different.

    But weirdly I find they lack the warmer sound that Richard's background vocals add to the Carpenters sound (though they go a bit overboard with them on Made In America).

    There are moments when I swear I can hear Karen in some of the background vocals on Richard's Time album (for example Who Do You Love) and yet it's just Richard and the arrangement of the vocal harmonies.
  9. And I'll add Ordinary Fool to that list.
    ThaFunkyFakeTation likes this.
  10. Jarred

    Jarred Active Member

    And her performance is really solid too, it's not her voice in the lowest range but she pulls out something quietly haunting. "It's all gonna fade...."
    Rumbahbah likes this.
  11. ouch! Give Richard some love.

    Anyway since their "pop" days were fading/waning - Jazz would have been a good direction for them to go.
    A shame she/they never got a chance.
  12. JayJayVA

    JayJayVA Active Member

    As her friend Olivia Newton-John said ---it's her voice on the records. So her 'sound' so to speak. She could & did sing without her brother.
  13. Jarred

    Jarred Active Member

    It's the voice that first and foremost touched people's souls, the music was sketched elegantly around her and added a beautiful frame that she shaded in with the nuances of her voice.
  14. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    ONJ was able to successfully turn that corner in her career; unfortunately, Karen could not. Her health issue was the #1 factor in not being able to do so. By the time Karen's solo album, marriage, and further recordings with The Carpenters came around, Karen was in a "terminal" condition health-wise. She simply ran out of time. I believe if Karen had been able to live out her natural life (as say Barbra Streisand), she would've established herself as the greatest singer who ever lived (I think that already, BTW). The different musical genres she could've ventured into, would be endless.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018
    Sabar, Mark-T, newvillefan and 2 others like this.
  15. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    When you mentioned "had Karen lived out her natural life" - makes me wonder, she would almost certainly have had children. Would we be celebrating her daughter or son's success as a musical talent? Would Karen have had, amazingly, a brother and sister who were both musical, and carried on the tradition, or teamed up with one of Richard's kids? ? Sadly, like so many things about her potential in life, we'll never know.
  16. Jarred

    Jarred Active Member

    This post fills me such joy as my imagination runs wild imagining the things she could have done and the even higher profile titles she would have earned. But then the sadness when you think how much was going to keep her from reaching those heights...
  17. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    It's a gorgeous vocal performance. Say what you like about the solo album, but some of the songs on there gave her the opportunity to really stretch her vocal interpretations into new territory - only on 'Ordinary Fool' does she convey the same sense of weariness that she does on 'Still Crazy...'.
  18. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    There are 6-8 great songs on the solo album every bit as good as anything in that time period. Then, there are at least 2 more of the unreleased ones. They had enough songs for an album release and I have to question where was their manager in this lengthy recording session.? Aside from those concerns, hands down, Still Crazy After All These Years is a great song and when Karen recorded it, my eyes were opened to this song that before left me feeling ambivalent. Karen opened this song with her great voice, excellent backup vocal treatment and super arrangement. It would even have been a great Carpenters song. At first I did miss hearing Richard’s lower voice mixed in, but I would not have if the backup mix levels were raised in sections of the voicing. Her pitch and tone and rhythm in the backup treatment are one of a kind. I’ve always felt the mix of all the tunes just feel as if they were not mixed with as much concern or care as possible. Maybe the studio was not not capable as much as they are today, for a lot is going on in those recordings, vocally and instrumentally.

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