• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are in the pipeline for October 2021! The new book Carpenter: The Musical Legacy will be available on October 19 and can be ordered here. A big thanks to the authors and Richard Carpenter for their tremendous effort in compiling this book! Also, the new solo piano album Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is being released October 22, and is available for ordering here.

THE OFFICIAL REVIEW: "CARPENTERS" S/T (SP-3502)

HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ALBUM?

  • ***** (Best)

    Votes: 5 21.7%
  • ****

    Votes: 14 60.9%
  • ***

    Votes: 4 17.4%
  • **

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • *

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    23
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Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Moderator
Thread Starter
“CARPENTERS” S/T (a.k.a. 'Tan Album')
sp3502.jpg
Catalogue Number: A&M SP-3502
Date of Release: 5/13/71
Nickname: The "Tan" Album
Chart Position- U.S.: #2; U.K.: #12; JAPAN: #47
Album Singles: "For All We Know"/"Don't Be Afraid"
"Rainy Days and Mondays"/"Saturday"
"Superstar"/"Bless The Beasts and Children"
Medium: Reel/Vinyl/8-track/Cassette/CD


Track Listing:

1.) Rainy Days and Mondays 3:40 (Williams/Nichols)
2.) Saturday 1:20 (Carpenter/Bettis)
3.) Let Me Be The One 2:25 (Williams/Nichols)
4.) (A Place To) Hideaway 3:40 (Sparks)
5.) For All We Know 2:34 (Karlin/Wilson/James)
6.) Superstar 3:49 (Russell/Bramlett)
7.) Druscilla Penny 2:18 (Carpenter/Bettis)
8.) One Love 3:23 (Carpenter/Bettis)
9.) Bacharach/David Medley 5:25 (Bacharach/David):
a. Knowing When To Leave
b. Make It Easy On Yourself
c. (There's) Always Something There To Remind Me
d. I'll Never Fall In Love Again
e. Walk On By
f. Do You Know The Way To San Jose?
10.) Sometimes 2:52 (Mancini/Mancini)


Album Credits:

Arranged and Orchestrated by Richard Carpenter
Engineered by Ray Gerhardt and Dick Bogert; Assistant: Norm Kinney
All Vocals: Karen and Richard Carpenter
Keyboards: Richard Carpenter
Bass: Joe Osborn and Bob Messenger
Reeds: Bob Messenger, Douglas Strawn, Jim Horn
Drums: Hal Blaine and Karen Carpenter
Wurlitzer Electric Piano and Ludwig Drums used
Album Concept and Design by Craig Braun Inc.
Jackets mfd. by Sound Packaging Corp.
Art Direction by Roland Young
Photography by Guy Webster
Produced by Jack Daugherty Productions
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
I'm going to start off this discussion with the original packaging. One of our members - not too long ago, and forgive me if I've forgotten just who it was - mentioned something about the tan album cover that until then - and today - that I never knew. The factoid went to the back of the brain for the next time I pulled the album out, which I've just done.

The remarkable thing about the original cover that I never knew, is that the flap-fold-envelope design was made to fold over backwards to reveal the old-style photograph of Karen and Richard, and the lower flap in designed to fit into the lower slot on the cover to make the stand. Here's my original album (with well-worn thumb-prints and a seam-split at the top) - it still works.

CarpUnfolded1.jpgCarpUnfolded2.jpg

A great concept! And it's only been lost on me for 42 years!

After the powerful CLOSE TO YOU album, I backtracked and dug into OFFERING, so when this one came out, I already knew the two full albums they'd produced. I was expecting great things, and I got it.

Side One was a killer. It started off with a gorgeous new Nichols-Williams tune of "Rainy Days and Mondays", jumped into the Tijuana-brass-esque "Saturday", and then back to Nichols-Williams for "Let Me Be The One." Then we get the quiet "Hideaway" in the fourth slot, and complete the side with the recent hit that was released before the album, "For All We Know."

Side Two had tough competition from Side One, but offered up the sumptuous "Superstar" as its lead-off. Now I don't know about anyone else, but "Superstar" knocked me out the first time I heard it. It was one of those tracks that I just knew would be a big hit if released as a single, but the next single after "For All We Know" was "Rainy Days And Mondays", a choice no one could argue with. "Superstar" would have to wait its turn - and it did. A factoid about "Superstar" is that once Carpenters reputation fell to the point where radio abandoned them, "Superstar" remained the track that would get played whenever a station felt compelled to play a Carpenters tune. It's the one that least falls into the realm of unhipness in their catalog.

I've read a lot of fans' disdain for the two Richard tracks here, "Saturday" and "Druscilla Penny" and have to disagree big-time with them. Coming from the realm of the first two albums, these two are not out of place at all. Rather they are welcome arrangements that give "Carpenters" that well-rounded sound of a duo effort. I love both of those tracks.

They work quite well both soundwise and thematically within the album. "Saturday" is a bright and cheery song that expresses the joys of waking up from the drudge of a week of work to find that it's Saturday. The fact that it follows the down-and-drudgery of "Rainy Days And Mondays" is sheer brilliance from my perspective.

"Druscilla Penny" is the logical follow-up to "Superstar" too. Both regale us with the story of groupies, each told from the opposite perspective.

The "Bacharach-David Medley" deserves mention too. It was a staple of Carpenters early concerts, expanded on stage, but no less energetic. I welcomed that track when I got the album as it instantly provided some familiar songs as well as a hearkening back to the previous album's big breakthrough hit's composers.

All in all a well-rounded and delightful third album in Carpenters canon.

Harry
 

no1kandrfan

Well-Known Member
A great album and follow up to CTY. I loved the album cover design, although the picture was a little too 'precious' - and still is! I thought the 'new' logo was cool.

Overall the songs are top-notch - Rainy Days, Superstar, For All We Know some of their biggest hits and my all-time favorites. The B/D medley is excellent and probably the one 'track' I listen to the most. I was very happy to hear the original full 'live' version on the Anthology album years later.

I've always felt Let Me Be The One should have been a single - and this was reinforced when I heard the remixed version on From The Top - a beautiful and powerful recording.

My least favorite song on the album - and my least favorite of all Carpenters tracks - is Sometimes. That song has never grabbed me, and I can't recall the last time I heard it.

Happy Birthday Karen!!
 

Chris Mills

That was funny....like the dark vomited up
Two very enthusiastic reviews of this album, OK let's take a step back. This album was rushed, approx 30 mins of music, 70% of it brilliant. I really don't think this kind of album would have survived 2 secs. if released today. They got really lucky. The Bacharach-David Medley is so fast that K&R are almost in danger of sounding like Chimpmunks. The only way that recording made sense was when they lip-synched it on a BBC TV concert in 1971. Drucilla Penny & Saturday are just the pits, they should never have been recorded. Going back to the Bacharach-David Medley, I was so pleased when K&R re-recorded Knowing When To Leave for Music Music Music, that was sheer class.

The bits I love about this rushed album are, Rainy Days & Mondays, Let Me Be The One, Hideaway, For All We Know, Superstar, One Love, Sometimes, not feeling quite so short changed now, especially when you consider how hard they were touring at this time. I admit I do find it hard to criticize what K&R recorded, but feel they should have spent more time in the studio and less on the road, if that had been the case, Carpenters would have been my favourite album. Shame on Sherwin Bash for working them so hard.
 

Toolman

Simple Man, Simple Dream
Only real criticism I have is the duplication of "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" in the medley, after it had already been included on the immediately preceding LP. Considering how short the album is, that was some pretty valuable time to be spent repeating what had already been done. But otherwise, seems clear this is where the Carpenters' sound and image locked into place. "Sometimes" wasn't a favorite for me at first but the older I get, the more I love it. Now I hear it as a bookend to "We've Only Just Begun," a sad but sweet goodbye. Makes for a real nice closing track. Harry's right...the sequencing on the record is really smart.

Don't see it listed above so will add here, this LP earned them three Grammy nominations (Best Arrangement Accompanying a Vocalist for "Superstar"; Best Vocal Performance By a Duo, Group or Chorus for the LP; and Best Album of the Year). It won in the second category.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
I'm with Chris Mills on this one... except I think the B/D Medley is great.
HATE the photo. Love the logo. It was clear A&M didn't know how to market them.

I am partial to the "Make It Easy on Yourself" from the MMM special...
 

Dave60640

Active Member
Love the album to this day! The only brow-raiser for me is Druscilla Penny. It sounds too much like HR Puf-N-Stuff. Always loved RC on vocals, but the song is just too "silly." Coming from me...the one who loves Love Making Love To You...silly says alot.
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
I haven't heard this album straight-through in many years -- since most of my favorite songs from it are on compilations. When it came out I was still in the "Carpenters aren't cool" camp, mainly due to my sisters' liking their music. (Hey I was 14, whadaya want?) I had grudgingly admitted to liking "Close To You," but that was partly validated due to the trumpet solo, which I wrongly thought was played by Herb Alpert.

When this album came out I had to admit liking "Superstar" and "Rainy Days" when they became hits. It wasn't till the next album and "Hurting Each Other" that I finally resigned myself to being a fan. They were just too good for it not to happen!

Having said all that, I like this album although I feel it's a bit less great than Close To You. Maybe 10% less great. Considering they were touring and recording at breakneck speed, that's pretty amazing. Like Harry, I enjoy the Richard vocals -- I think they are what makes those early albums such a fun listen, that variety in the sound. They could have added an instrumental or two and I would have been even happier.

I suppose my least favorite track on it is the Bacharach/David medley, just because I'm a huge Bacharach fan and those songs are too great to be medleyized, in my opinion. (Although Burt did it himself in concerts!) My favorite song here is "Superstar" with "Rainy Days" running second.

I have to admit total amazement that Harry took until just now to figure out the fold-up cover! (Of course, I thought Gracinha Leporace sang "My little grasshopper at play" for almost 40 years, so Harry's not exactly the Lone Ranger.)
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
I was 9 years old when this album was released. I'd bought the "Rainy Days & Mondays" and "Superstar" singles, and really wanted the full album, but had virtually no funds to spend at that age.

I finally received the album for my 10th birthday in July, 1972, along with "A Song For You", so this album sort of took a back seat to ASFY, which had just been released. Although I loved "Carpenters", I didn't think it was quite as good as "Close To You" or "A Song For You" at the time.

41 years later, "Carpenters" holds its own quite well. While I liked "Saturday" and "Druscilla Penny" as a kid, those two songs never have made it onto my personal compilations of the last 30 years. "Saturday" doesn't really work, save for the end, which is very effective as it segues into "Let Me Be The One". I still love the harpsichord solo on "Druscilla Penny", though.

"Bacharach/David Medley", "Sometimes", "Let Me Be The One" and "One Love" are all primo, as are the singles, of course. "Hideway" is nice, but not in the same league as the others.

I still remember being mesmerized the first time I heard "For All We Know" on the radio. I was riding in the back seat of my Dad's 1970 Cutlass Supreme, and I was playing a Coke can AM radio. Very '70's. Anyway, it came on, and I asked my Dad to put it on the car radio, and I went nuts.

The Carpenters were such a diversion from all the other stuff on the radio at the time, and throughout their career. And that's saying a LOT because music from that period in time KICKED ASS.

Great memories.
 

Dave

Well-Known Member
I thought that this was a really well-done Carpenters album & I still really feel that way...! The most in the sense that the songwriting improved and the covers were still well-chosen, if mostly from the Paul Williams-Roger Nicholls song-mill, ready to supply them w/ more material such as "Rainy Days & Mondays"...

If a few more songs had been added to the "Burt Bacharach Medley", and a song or two on Side 2 had been borrowed by Side 1, then perhaps this would have been a longer album...

A&M was nice to still give these two a worthy arena to pool their talents, but somehow still seemed to insist on keeping 'em to a mostly modest pace! Such are the three tunes, "A Place To Hide Away", "Sometimes" and "One Love"--the trilogy of pristine high-gloss filler, that lives up to being such... "Saturday" distances itself pretty well, in the sense that it sounds like it would have been a worthy hit, if not for the impact of "Rainy Days & Mondays", while the dated "Druscilla Penny" is still spine-tingly stark to this day...

Yes, put aside your feelings for the up & coming MOR neurosis of most con-current pop artists, and you'll find the CarpenterS a still worthy alternative to the usual hard rock people were much into, w/ more & more coming out; on this outing it's still Soft Rock with Class!

Wonder how it took me this long to discover that the record cover "rests on itself", too...!!!!


-- Dave
 
What always impressed me most, and I'm sure this is totally Richard (it's a miracle, i'm giving him some credit) is the sequencing, particularly between Saturdays and Let Me Be The One. That is not your standard production there -- it goes "saturdays/s/everloking saturdays/hey" [one beat] smf Karen is right into "Some sleepless night/" - there's about one downbeat (rather than a fade, etc) Similarly, the record scratch in Druscilla Penny - Richard did have it going on back then. I don't think Let Me Be The One could ever have been a single because of its intro -- they would have had to add some leadin and one thing that's special about that song is that it's just a downbeat and cue Karen.
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
This one is mixed for me. Side 1, I'll take the first three tracks. Side 2: "Superstar" is the showstopper here. Totally outshines everything else on the album for me. Knowing how "Sometime" originated, I always liked that song. I do like the Medley but it's a bit rushed.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
"Hideaway" is definitely not filler for me, but I appreciate your opinion. It's actually one of my favorites on the album. I do love the drama in the transition (none!) from Saturday to Let Me be the One.
 

Jerry B.

New Member
Let Me Be the One SHOULD have been a single. Saturday is simply a fun Richard tune. The key track other then Let Me Be The One, is "Sometimes" for two reasons. First I've been a Henry Mancini fan for a long time and knowing the backstory of this song is pretty cool. Second, my mom passed away in 1998. My brother, who is probably an even bigger Carpenters fan than I am, selected "Sometimes" as the song to be played at her memorial service. I suppose if I wanted to request that a Carpenters song be played at my service, it would be "Look To Your Dreams".
 

SongForYou

Member
Let Me Be the One SHOULD have been a single. Saturday is simply a fun Richard tune. The key track other then Let Me Be The One, is "Sometimes" for two reasons. First I've been a Henry Mancini fan for a long time and knowing the backstory of this song is pretty cool. Second, my mom passed away in 1998. My brother, who is probably an even bigger Carpenters fan than I am, selected "Sometimes" as the song to be played at her memorial service. I suppose if I wanted to request that a Carpenters song be played at my service, it would be "Look To Your Dreams".

That's a beautiful song for such an occasion, and one that I would consider requesting if I was too. It's simple, sleek, and lovely -- and underrated too, for what it is. I recently just heard Look To Your Dreams and its amazing and the way it closes Karen's solo album is beautilly sad. Even though she's gone, still look ahead and follow your dreams...Karen wasn't able too, but its as if she's directly telling us to do so as a final farewell...

The great instrumental at the end shows us that while the singing has stopped, the music continues on...
 
Like I said earlier, while I Love Let Me Be The One, its immedidate vocal start would have hampered radio djs with its playing. Otherwise than that, it's a brilliant song, one of the best Williams/Nichols. And wit an album that includes Rainy Days, Let Me Be, Superstar, and For All we Know - the rest could have been silence, those cuts are so strong. I always hate Richard's symbilant "s" (did anyone ever hear of a de-esser, but maybe they didn't have those back then, but I do give him kudos for the "record bumps" on Druscilla Penny - that's when he was thinking out of the box.
t
 
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