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Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Chris May, Dec 1, 2014.

How Would You Rate This Album?

  1. ***** (BEST)

    43 vote(s)
  2. ****

    11 vote(s)
  3. ***

    0 vote(s)
  4. **

    1 vote(s)
  5. *

    0 vote(s)
  1. Jamesj75

    Jamesj75 Well-Known Member

    As there is ongoing discussion about how often (or rarely) one hears Carpenters on the radio (e.g., Heard Carpenters ), I was thinking about how Carpenters' Christmas songs are typically played every year for about a month preceding the holidays. Let's equate that to an artist having a hit record once a year, with airplay for a few weeks. Now if you consider that Carpenters' Christmas songs have been given airplay for 1 month every year for 40 years, that's quite an achievement! Not a bad track record if you think about it... And this string of airplay actually started several years earlier with the release of "Merry Christmas Darling."

    Christmas Portrait has achieved platinum status and continual accolades year after year. Thus, Carpenters' niche in Christmas music alone is a viable, enduring legacy...
    Jeff likes this.
  2. That's all true. For some reason, Christmas time allows American radio to delve back and play all sorts of artists that may have memorable, familiar, and inviting Christmas recordings. There aren't many occasions, other than Christmas where you'll hear artists like Carpenters, Bing Crosby, Perry Como, etc., on regular radio stations. What's a bit frustrating is that the month that Christmas music plays, these all-Christmas stations rack up HUGE ratings. One has to wonder what would happen to a station that continued to play these "odd" artists doing their regular output. Would the audience remain? My guess is no. But it's a fun think-piece.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  3. Rick-An Ordinary Fool

    Rick-An Ordinary Fool Well-Known Member

    It's rare to find a review of Christmas Portrait, I guess better late than never.
    Stereo Review Dec 1980

    newvillefan likes this.
  4. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    That's odd they they criticized the segues....which are among my favorite features of Carpenters albums. But Stereo Review was an "audiophile" mag, so I can see where an audiophile might get nitpicky about such things.
  5. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    That opening of the above review/article is sad:
    "...you don't hear much from the Carpenters anymore...."
    Rick-An Ordinary Fool likes this.
  6. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    Christmas is one of those few times when all the rules go out of the window in terms of who gets played. Given that the definitive versions of most Christmas songs were made several decades ago, it's not surprising that it's generally those versions that are given the most airplay.

    You touch on an interesting point re the classification of the Carpenters' music though. I can believe that some might associate the Carpenters' music with that produced by artists such as Como and Crosby, if only because all these artists are (or were) lumped together in the dreaded 'easy listening' category in record stores, which was effectively a shorthand for old-fashioned and dull. While they were both fine artists, there's no getting round the fact that Como and Crosby's music does sound old-fashioned, largely because it's mainly from the pre-pop era. I'd imagine it may well even have sounded old-fashioned back in the 1970s during the Carpenters' heyday.

    Conversely, I don't think Karen and Richard really fit into that group of artists, given they were much more imbued with a pop sensiblity, and I rather wonder if their relegation into the 'easy listening' category was intended as something of a snub in the sense of saying they were too soft and lightweight to sit alongside other rock and pop artists, even if the latter included the likes of James Taylor and Bread, with whom they shared certain similarites.

    Strangely, here in the UK, after years of being in the 'easy listening' category, most music stores now put the Carpenters CDs in the rock and pop section, and I wonder whether this is a result of the reappraisal of their music here and of the public's continued interest in their catalogue (and thus the need to make it more visible and accessible in stores). It seems a terrible shame that the US continues to persist in following the old prejudices against them in terms of radio play and respect.
  7. John Adam

    John Adam Member

    I gave this ***** stars. An Old Fashioned Christmas (thread closed) *** stars.

    Awe Christmas music. The sounds of the holidays, the joy and the melancholy. The Carpenters of course! "Portrait" is my favorite traditional pop holiday collection. I've bought more of these than any other Carpenters album, because it is just that good! From the joyful, Sleigh Ride/Winter Wonderland to religious, Christ Is Born/Silent Night to classic pop, Merry Christmas Darling/Let it Snow and everything in between. Beautifully arranged, orchestrated and produced, this one has sparkle with appropriate Karen vocals all over the place.......as it should be!

    "Old Fashioned" starts slow and really makes the listener wonder, what is this and what have they done with Karen? Finally on track 5, "Home For The Holidays" the voice you've longed for comes in crystal clear and finally it's Christmas!
    I love the ballad version of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" in which this exquisite track finally has a home on an album.
    "Little Alter Boy" is a standout, as well as Richard and Karen's version of "Do You Hear What I Hear?" I gave this one only 3 stars because it's a lot of filler Christmas, and not enough Karen. But what we get is a gift. It sounds beautiful.


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