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STILLE NACHT 1978

Kacfan

Member
Thread Starter
I have always loved Karen’s singing on her duet with Georgia Engel of stille nacht, on their 1978 Christmas tv special. Does anyone here know if Karen vocal was recorded together with Georgia’s or separately? Just hoping that one day we may be able to hear a clean version of it.
 

Chris May

Resident 'Carpenterologist'
Staff member
Moderator
I have always loved Karen’s singing on her duet with Georgia Engel of stille nacht, on their 1978 Christmas tv special. Does anyone here know if Karen vocal was recorded together with Georgia’s or separately? Just hoping that one day we may be able to hear a clean version of it.
They were pre-recorded in the studio and both were lip-syncing for the performance.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I have always loved Karen’s singing on her duet with Georgia Engel of stille nacht, on their 1978 Christmas tv special.
I’ve always thought the vocal blend of Karen and Georgia was, well, awful. They don’t sound good together. Karen does her best singing the (lower) harmony to Georgia’s awful lead vocal but it’s not enough to rescue it. I’ve just relistened to it now and my opinion hasn’t changed one bit since I first heard it.
 

Chris May

Resident 'Carpenterologist'
Staff member
Moderator
I’ve always thought the vocal blend of Karen and Georgia was, well, awful. They don’t sound good together. Karen does her best singing the (lower) harmony to Georgia’s awful lead vocal but it’s not enough to rescue it. I’ve just relistened to it now and my opinion hasn’t changed one bit since I first heard it.
I think part of it has to do with the way it's keyed, and for reasons you mention about the differences in their vocal abilities. Not great for live performance but I think for television - at least back then, it's forgivable. Karen is also vacillating between a tenor and alto part, so it lacks the anticipatory ease that would come with just a straight tenor line. :)
 

Kacfan

Member
Thread Starter
They were pre-recorded in the studio and both were lip-syncing for the performance.
Hi Chris, thank you for your reply. Do you know if the pre recording in the stupio had their voices recorded together or separately? Agree that the duet doesn’t work.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Hi Chris, thank you for your reply. Do you know if the pre recording in the stupio had their voices recorded together or separately? Agree that the duet doesn’t work.
If it was pre-recorded their voices were probably recorded to seperate tracks and then mixed for mono.
 

Chris May

Resident 'Carpenterologist'
Staff member
Moderator
If it was pre-recorded their voices were probably recorded to seperate tracks and then mixed for mono.
Most likely yes given the freedom to mix the two as necessary rather than having them locked in together on the same track.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Considering that Richard multi-tracked, mixed in mono and then remixed “Christmas Alphabet” in stereo with Karen and Kristy McNichol it would make sense that he would do so a year later with “Stille Nacht”.
 

Kacfan

Member
Thread Starter
I think part of it has to do with the way it's keyed, and for reasons you mention about the differences in their vocal abilities. Not great for live performance but I think for television - at least back then, it's forgivable. Karen is also vacillating between a tenor and alto part, so it lacks the anticipatory ease that would come with just a straight tenor line. :)
That is getting quite technical for me :). I will try to listen for this next time. I still really like Karen’s singing on it and hope to hear it one day on a box set. Along with some of the still unreleased snippets of singing from make your own kind of music.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
That is getting quite technical for me :). I will try to listen for this next time. I still really like Karen’s singing on it and hope to hear it one day on a box set. Along with some of the still unreleased snippets of singing from make your own kind of music.
What Chris is saying is Karen isn’t singing the main melody of the song, the way she does on the album. So if you played her vocal on it’s own, it would sound odd as she’s singing only harmony parts.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
I just listened to this song.
If it were possible to separate Karen's great vocal on this track, then, that would be awesome.
Karen is singing a "lead" vocal throughout the song. She is not simply singing "harmony parts."
The song is rather short, though.
But, strip out Georgia's vocals and replace it by another, if need be !
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Karen is singing a "lead" vocal throughout the song. She is not simply singing "harmony parts."
She's not singing lead throughout. If you listen to the entire first verse, she's singing the lower harmony. It's Georgia singing what we know to be the lead line, in other words, the melody to the song. Compared to the Christmas Portrait version, the song has been transposed higher by several keys to accommodate Georgia's vocal range and Karen is left largely with a lower harmony. That's evidenced by the backing track, which is not from the Christmas album. For this version, the backing is nothing more than a lone acoustic guitar accompanying them, presumably recorded just for this special.
 
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GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Technically, I guess I am wrong (I really sorta miss your point :)).
But, that is irrelevant to my point:
Karen's vocal can be separated from Georgia's vocal and you would have a completed,
marvelous vocal from Karen.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
If Karen's vocal was recorded on a separate track, then it's true you would have a complete vocal which could be used, perhaps pairing her up with a better vocalist to sing the other part, and redoing the backing track more fully. Whether it would be worth going to all that expense for a duet that few people would be interested in hearing, is another matter altogether.
 

Kacfan

Member
Thread Starter
Perhaps it is too much work for too little gain. This is probably why we haven’t heard a version of it on a box set like “from the top”. For this fan though, it is a spine tingling performance by Karen.

Does anyone know why the short versions of “a house is not a house”; “wishin hoping”;“I wannna be free” etc have not been released to date? Are they just too short? I mean things like suntory pop jingles have been released and these are great vocals.


If Karen's vocal was recorded on a separate track, then it's true you would have a complete vocal which could be used, perhaps pairing her up with a better vocalist to sing the other part, and redoing the backing track more fully. Whether it would be worth going to all that expense for a duet that few people would be interested in hearing, is another matter altogether.
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
It stretches credulity to believe that the vocal parts were not recorded separately.
Simply reading about the Karen and Ella vocal Medley recording, or the Como and Carpenters Medley,
would almost certainly imply that Georgia and Karen would have recorded on separate tracks:
Why would it have been recorded any differently than the others ?
How much clean-up could this take ? After all of the RPO wizardry, it defies credulity to believe that
the Still Nachte could not be rendered entirely listenable and beautiful in 2019.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Does anyone know why the short versions of “a house is not a house”; “wishin hoping”;“I wannna be free” etc have not been released to date? Are they just too short?
Karen is wearing the exact same outfit for each "snippet", which leads me to think they were all performed and filmed in one go. The problem is they were sung live and the snippets are broken up into separate segments, with studio applause bookending each piece, so that applause is locked onto the audio. Richard tends not to like such recordings, as is evidenced by the lengths he went to in covering the applause on the Carpenters/Como Medley.
 

Someday

Active Member
I have a feeling that if it were possible, Richard would have recorded a lead himself and replaced Georgia Engel's part for inclusion on An Old-Fashioned Christmas.
 
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