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🥂 50th The A&M Corner Carpenters Recording Resource, The First 10 Years, A Fairytale.

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Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Thread Starter
Once upon a time, around a decade ago, good King Rudy surveyed his kingdom and saw that it needed some discographies. He already had a serviceable Herb Alpert discography, one for the Baja Marimba Band, and at least the start of one for Sergio Mendes - all key acts for the A&M Records label.

When King Rudy asked for volunteers to work on a new database system, the idea was formulated to do one for Carpenters, arguably the largest sellers ever on the A&M label. The project would require lots of keying-in of raw data, and subject Harry, figuring that his main occupation involved keying in of raw data, and being a big Carpenters fan, was the man for the task.

King Rudy physically wrote up and supplied a system online whereby subject Harry would key all of the Carpenters information into this database. Things like song titles, composers, album titles, song lengths, publishers, dates - all manner of data around which a future user could get answers to questions about Carpenters recordings.

Harry dutifully keyed in the data, and in doing so, ran into all sorts of snags with what to do with things like medleys, live tracks, different mixes, song lengths that wouldn't report correctly - all things that King Rudy could fix, if he only had the time.

OldCarpDatabaseShort.jpg
The online database report as generated by King Rudy's software.

Meanwhile, the A&M Corner Forum switched away from its old original and antiquated forum software to the new phpBB system that allowed multiple forums and organization that wasn't possible before. After a matching switch to a new A&M Corner home page, an item was listed in the discography section, saying "Carpenters (soon!)"

AMCornerMar2002SoonShort.jpg
The A&M Corner home page from March 2002 as seen on the Web Archive.

But King Rudy just didn't have the time to work on the complex programming tasks that would fix the little problems, and Harry kept waiting for further instructions on what he could do to help - but all of the tasks were beyond his range of knowledge. Only King Rudy could make this work.

Soon, other subjects began flocking to the new A&M Corner Carpenters Forum known as "A Song For You", and they became excited at the prospect of this "Soon!" notification. Questions kept pouring in about it, but Harry and King Rudy knew that it wasn't really ready for prime time, so after another home page update a few months later, the notice was changed to a more vague term, "eventually".

AMCornerJun2002EventuallyShort.jpg
A later A&M Corner home page from Jun 2002 as seen on the Web Archive.

Things got more complex in King Rudy's life, and the project had to be put on the back burner. It became just about forgotten. Meanwhile, more and more Carpenters discs entered the marketplace making whatever data was in the database ever more out-of-date.

Time passed by in the A&M Corner kingdom - day upon day turned into month upon month which turned into year upon year. More new home pages appeared and finally the Carpenters listing disappeared as the project was all but scrapped.

Still, King Rudy wished for more in his discography section, and Harry, along with fellow subject Chris May, certainly was willing to help, and he came up with an idea that might provide at least a temporary solution.

Harry asked King Rudy to set up a special forum area - a sub-forum, if you will, initially it would be invisible to the public - where he'd enter a thread for each song in the Carpenters' canon. In the top post of the thread, he'd list all of the different remixes of that song and the albums on which those remixes could be found. The idea had sprung up from normal conversations in the A Song For You Forum where Harry would do some research and report basically that information about the song in question. Information like this about the song "Only Yesterday":

03:45 45 RPM Single
03:45 Singles 1969-1981 (Jp)
03:45 Yesterday Once More (Remastered)
03:46 Essential Collection
03:46 Gold (UK)
03:46 Gold (US)
03:47 By Request
03:47 Singles 1969-1981 (US)
03:49 Reminiscing (Canada)
03:49 Their Greatest Hits (Germany)
03:50 Classics Volume 2
03:50 Yesterday Once More (orig)
03:50 Yesterday Once More-LP (US)
03:57 22 Hits Of The Carpenters
03:57 Anthology ('90s/Japan)
03:57 Perform Carpenter
03:57 Readers Digest
03:58 20th Century Masters
03:58 Carpenters Collection (T/L)
03:58 Love Songs
04:09 A&M Gold Series Vol 1
04:09 Horizon LP
04:09 Horizon (Remastered)
04:09 Singles 74-78
04:09 Yesterday Once More-LP (UK)
04:10 Horizon (orig)
Information from one of Harry's detailed-research posts about the length of "Only Yesterday"

Even Harry referred back to his own posts like these once in awhile as the subject might crop up again.

So his idea was to do this kind of detailed information for every song. He and Chris May set about starting at the beginning. Harry would do the research on which albums the song appeared on and Chris would fill in any details that he could about the various mixes. After a day or so, the first side of OFFERING/TICKET TO RIDE was done. That was all easy as all of the songs on Side One of that album hardly appeared anywhere else. "Ticket To Ride" loomed next.

Again real life got in the way as Chris got pulled away from the forum for a time, and Harry began the life-changing idea of selling a house, retiring, and moving toFlorida- no simple task there.

Harry's discs were packed up and moved first to an apartment and later to the new house inFlorida, where they sat in boxes for good long time. Stereo systems, computers, reliable Internet access, all needed to be set up - and again these things take time.

Last year, King Rudy engineered a change to our forum software to the newer Xenforo system. Different from the old phpBB system, all of us had to take time to learn of its capabilities and design. Incredibly, almost three years had managed to lapse from the time Harry and Chris started working on this sub-forum database until once again Harry decided to tackle it again.

The thought of getting out every incarnation on CD of the song "Ticket To Ride" and doing an a-b comparison was daunting, but it needed to be done. Harry, finally free of the constraints of work, and having free time in retirement, decided it was time to get this project underway again, and happily, Chris May was once again on board to help out.

Then Harry got the most brilliant of brilliant ideas. Rather than doing these song comparisons in the Compact Disc domain, what if the computer could help out? By ripping all of his Carpenters discs into the computer, it would be possible using the computer's music playing software to instantly compare one version against another with just the click of a mouse, and to finally figure out which mix occurred on which compilation.

With Chris May's invaluable assistance, things began to fall into place, and soon, in the space of just a month or so, all of the data was assembled into this sub-forum structure. But since these entries were only posts in a forum, finding the song you were looking for would take some figuring out as to which page it would be on - kind of a hit-and-miss operation. Search functions *might* have worked, but really, though the information was quite interesting and valuable, the execution of it was rather limiting.

CarpSongBySong.jpg
The unwieldy song-by-song database as it appears in Forum format.


Meanwhile, wise King Rudy watched the operation from afar, knowing that there would have to be a better way of presenting the data. His idea was using another system called Wordpress, which he wanted to use to power all of his discographies. Harry was not particularly thrilled with the idea of learning new tricks, but for the good of the outfit, plunged ahead into converting his database into a new system.

Copy/paste/edit. Copy/paste/edit. Copy/paste/edit. Copy/paste/edit. On and on it went, another few weeks or so spent getting the information from one system to the other. And then there was the matter of what *else* this new system could provide. Once all of the song information was copied over, what about albums? Couldn't we do that too? Of course we could.

So the grind of assembling information on each album commenced. Some of it could be copied over from Chris May's excellent and thorough Official Review threads in the forum. Most of the many compilations had to be keyed in manually.

Again, wise King Rudy watched from afar, contributing his wisdom when needed, and guiding the project along. At first, song information would be just static, with only one link back to the original album from which it came. But once seen in action, Harry deemed it necessary to do it more thoroughly, and add links back to *all* albums that a particular song appeared on. It needed to be done from every song - to every album. More frantic keying in of coding information.

Ultimately Harry proclaimed himself finished, even though a project like this is never finished. Revisions, tweaks, mistakes, missed entries continued while King Rudy began the task of making the new system look good and function properly.

Days went by, tweaks were made, other tweaks were abandoned, and finally here we are today, with the unveiling of a brand new online resource where the object was and still is to provide an accurate accounting of the various Carpenters mixes and where they can be found.

King Rudy, Harry, and Chris May all smiled at what they'd accomplished - and all lived happily ever after.

 

Toolman

Simple Man, Simple Dream
Awesome. And here I whined like a baby just because my boss made me learn Excel. Compliments and congratulations to all involved for creating what will be an essential resource for Carpenters fans.
 

aaflyer98

Well-Known Member
Absolutely Brilliant Job! Worth the effort, And an amazing gift of knowledge for all Carpenters fans! Thank you! Thank you very much!
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
Wow, this is amazing!! I can confirm this works great viewing on a mobile phone. I love the banner, reminds me of Christmas Portait. I love the simplicity and ease of use, great job guys. I look forward to delving deeper into the new site. So happy to see this is finally a reality.

Harry, maybe I missed it as I have not seen everything yet but do you plan to make a section on the U.S. 45's, standard singles, promos, mono's listing a/b sides, labels and what each mix contains. I guess some of that is mixed into some such as I viewed song details on Look to your Dreams and it was stated that the 45 single contains a different ending, I don't think this has ever been released on CD. Just a thought for something in the future. Would be cool to see pics of what each 45 looks like with labels released for U.S.

Once again, thank you Harry, Rudy, Chris for all that you have done, it's an awesome reference. :)
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
I have a question on the new site for Karen's solo CD. I noticed it says SP-4804 (unreleased) was this the catalog # that was set to appear had her solo album been released? I wonder if it had been released when she finished it would there have been a LP produced. I really wish someone could produce a LP version of her solo album.

My wish is that someone like, Steve Hoffman/Kevin Gray of AcousTech Mastering could produce a limited run of Karen's solo CD on LP much like they did with the A Charlie Brown Christmas/Vince Guaraldi Trio 45 RPM. I think I would die and go to heaven if I had her solo album on LP, with a limited run, it would sell out for sure.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Thread Starter
Wow, this is amazing!! I can confirm this works great viewing on a mobile phone. I love the banner, reminds me of Christmas Portait. I love the simplicity and ease of use, great job guys. I look forward to delving deeper into the new site. So happy to see this is finally a reality.

Harry, maybe I missed it as I have not seen everything yet but do you plan to make a section on the U.S. 45's, standard singles, promos, mono's listing a/b sides, labels and what each mix contains. I guess some of that is mixed into some such as I viewed song details on Look to your Dreams and it was stated that the 45 single contains a different ending, I don't think this has ever been released on CD. Just a thought for something in the future. Would be cool to see pics of what each 45 looks like with labels released for U.S.

Once again, thank you Harry, Rudy, Chris for all that you have done, it's an awesome reference. :)

Yes Chris, the single stuff is certainly a possibility down the road. Right now, as things stand, I've at least mentioned the mono promo mixes where they exist, along with any unique mixes that found their way to 45s. Heck, we might even press you into duty to help with such a project! As a quick fix, I might at least put the single artwork on the appropriate song page. That's easy enough to do, once I assemble the artwork.

Right now, I'm taking a little break, but here's where each and every fan can help. Please put the existing info through its paces. Dig out a comp, check out the mixes, compare them with what's listed and please, PLEASE, let us know if you spot anything wrong. With all of the keying in back and forth, copying, pasting, editing, things can and do happen to make things not quite right.

Yesterday and today alone I was still finding a few things that were somehow skipped over or forgotten. I think I've gotten them all, but then I thought that yesterday too. For example, the "Ticket To Ride" song entries was missing the listings for JAPANESE SINGLE BOX and the ULTIMATE COLLECTION (NL), as were a couple of other early tracks, which told me to check the songs on both of those albums carefully for links pointing back and forth. It also told me that when I started this process, I wasn't quite up-to-speed to have missed those two.

So I need eyes and ears to spot what else might still be amiss that I haven't caught. It's hard when you've been so close to it for a long time to spot any anomalies. We want this site to be dead-on accurate, and like someone who's just turned in a term paper, I have that nagging feeling that something could have been better.

I hope the site is of use to the many fans out there and want it to be all that it can be.

Harry
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
Chris, you just may be "drafted" to help with the singles when we're ready. :wink: But only if you want to of course!

The mobile theme was a happy accident. Harry pointed it out...I had forgotten that this WordPress theme (Weaver II) had a built-in mobile theme. On mobile, I personally expect it to be clean and easy to navigate. It does that part well, I think!

I just found out yesterday that the theme has a new version out with some improvements to the mobile side of things. I'll tackle that next week.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
Wonderful job! I cannot wait to explore it more- and thank you for adding my site as a link. GREAT work! Thanks for doing it.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Thread Starter
I have a question on the new site for Karen's solo CD. I noticed it says SP-4804 (unreleased) was this the catalog # that was set to appear had her solo album been released?

Yes. Each album project is usually designated a catalog number before it's finished, and throughout the history of all record companies there are many examples of assigned numbers that never came out. One of A&M's earliest example is of THE PARADE. It was assigned SP-4127 but never released until Japan released it on CD. The 4127 number was never used for anything else.

Harry
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
Very nice work indeed! As somebody who has always been fascinated by the little differences between the various mixes of tunes, this is great work. The site looks great, too. Haven't had time to poke around it much but I definitely will be looking around in the next few days.
 
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