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Unreleased Carpenters songs with Richard on lead vocals

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by Without A Song, Mar 25, 2018.

  1. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Maybe Richard felt that his occasional lead vocal would be a welcome "breather" from all the emotionally-charged material Karen was singing. Some comic relief, as with The Beatles and Ringo. Throw Ringo a bone every once and a while, Octopus's Garden and Yellow Submarine.
  2. theninjarabbit

    theninjarabbit Well-Known Member

    I've never had a problem with Ringo Starr's songs-- they are among my favorite in the entire Beatles catalog! You could argue that maybe he isn't the male singer of a generation, but his voice is a delightful addition to any of their albums. To refer back to the main point, I have never had a problem with Richard's leads either. Although Karen IS the voice of a generation, if he wanted to sing on a song or two, or throw in an original composition, he could have. The group is called Carpenters, after all. I would miss "I Kept On Loving You", "Saturday", and about half of the "Offering" album very much if he wasn't on there.
  3. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    (1) Interestingly enough, as late as 2009 Richard Carpenter said,
    regarding Offering:
    "There were so many things about that first album that I would have changed."

    I wonder what he would have changed....in contrast,
    I recall no instances where he would have changed anything on Made In America.
    (correct me if I am wrong).
    Perhaps even he is not too keen on his own lead vocals !

    (2) Then, too, the People Magazine of 1976 includes no mention of the
    Magic Lamp "Karen Carpenter" Single. Perhaps she was not too keen on those lead vocals ?
    ("Carpenters won the 1966 Battle of the Bands in the Hollywood Bowl. ")

    HuffPost Exclusive : The 40th Anniversary of Carpenters / Interview with Richard Carpenter | HuffPost
    Brother & Sister Act
  4. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    I couldn’t agree more. He knows vocal ear candy better than just about anyone and he laid it on thick here. It sounded fantastic. Really, I prefer his backgrounds to Karen’s lead and that never happens.

  5. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    I can’t imagine what. It is the one album that very nearly sounds hip and cool. It was right in step with the time and still bore their own stamp. It’s an album that sounds like them just having fun. No other album of theirs is as much fun.

  6. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    I don't have a problem with Ringo either, but when you have vocal talent like John, Paul, and George in your band, you're not going to be getting a lot of choice vocal leads. Same with Richard and Karen. Karen was the star. Karen was/is one of the greatest vocalists of all time. More of her was never a bad idea. When Ringo went on his solo career, he recorded to very good pop songs that I am a big fan of; It Don't Come Easy and Photograph. Speaking of the former mentioned song, you gotta love Ringo, he forgets the lyrics halfway through in this clip:

    Last edited: Mar 28, 2018
  7. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    ^^OOPs..."he recorded two very good pop songs..."

    While I'm here, as much as I like "Offering", and I do, It was a commercial failure and almost got our beloved duo fired from the label. Could that be because Richard was on leads for 50% of the album content? Maybe...In the end, it was Karen "hitting it out of the park" on Close To You and We've Only Just Begun that pulled their collective bacon out of the fire. Nice arrangements and backing vocals by Richard, but it was Karen's voice that saved the day...
  8. Without A Song

    Without A Song Member Thread Starter

    I love that part of the song, the way it's immediately followed by drums and then a saxophone.
  9. Without A Song

    Without A Song Member Thread Starter

    My thanks to everyone who responded to my first post on this forum. It was a lot of fun being an actual participant in the conversation for once instead of being just an observer. I look forward to starting or joining in on other threads when I feel I may have something useful to say.

    I was a bit disappointed that no one had any info on "Fool Me," "Love as Old as the Heart" and possible outtakes from "Time" featuring Richard on lead vocals but I remain hopeful that answers will come someday, just as I also hope that rumored Carpenters tunes with Karen leading the way vocally will come to light and be released. Fingers crossed!

    Almost forgot. I remembered someone mentioning Ringo Starr on this thread. When the full Carpenters version of "Without A Song" came out I was so impressed by Richard's vocals on that tune. Hearing him hit that final note on "I'll get along as long as a song is strong in my soul" made me think of Ringo hitting the high note on "A Little Help From My Friends."
  10. I would have to disagree to some extent. Yes, Karen's voice was awesome but I think they needed each other.
    I don't think either one of their solo albums were better then when they sang together. (I admit I'm a sucker for their harmonies) It was the Carpenters not Karen Carpenter and Richard. Yes, she had a stronger voice and nothing can take away her greatness, but I always felt Richard should have had a lead song on most of the later albums. Let's be honest but there's at least one song on every album that could have been cut or even added, so why not have Richard sing lead.
  11. ^^^^ What you said.
  12. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Karen Carpenter's voice was not just awesome--it was once in a lifetime (or, many lifetimes).
    No way do I feel comparing Richard and Karen's lead vocals as anything but
    comparing "apples to oranges." His leads were passable, okay and listenable.
    But, as Ed stated, and I agree--once everyone realized--understood-- that Karen's Voice was IT,
    absolutely no reason was needed to invoke Richard's leads on any later albums.
    I'll never take away Richard's brilliance in arranging and production, background harmony, too.
    But, Richard's lead vocals absolutely not needed. Fun, yes. Simply not needed.
    This is not an indictment against Richard-- Carpenters are Karen and Richard.
    There simply is no "wow" factor in his lead vocals (imho).
  13. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    I disagree. I think the later albums are definitely lacking from a Richard lead vocal or a duet. I think that's why, even to this day, their early albums, and Christmas albums, are constantly brought up as their "best" albums, because they are truly a Carpenters group album, not a Karen solo issued under the Carpenters banner.
  14. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^As is well-documented, there is no absolute sense in which the Christmas Portrait LP, 1978,
    is indicative of a 'true' Carpenters- group' album As Richard Carpenter, also, writes,
    the Christmas Portrait LP was Karen Carpenter.

    "What I should have realized then, although I don’t know if A&M would have gone for it,
    is that “Christmas Portrait” is Karen’s album, and should have been titled accordingly,
    not Carpenters. (I did oversee the mixes, of course, but that falls under production.)"....Richard Carpenter.
    Carpenters: Christmas Portrait album, 1978
    ThaFunkyFakeTation likes this.
  15. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Once again, Mr GaryAlan, you have hit the proverbial "nail on the head" with your comment...
    David A likes this.
  16. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    I know what Richard has said, but really, we have 3-Richard leads on the album (1 vocal on Emmanuel, and 2 instrumental: Overture/Carol Of The Bells)) and one track where Richard and Karen share lead duties (Jingle Bells). Richard is really forefront on Jingle Bells during the last-half of the track while Karen moves to the back to provide harmony and backing vocals.

    That’s a lot more than what he did on Horizon, Hush, Passage & MIA. Those four albums could’ve easily have been promoted as Karen-solo albums as they just featured Karen—-Richard was only there as a background vocalist and keyboardist. Compared to earlier albums like “Now & Then” or even “Live In Japan”, we weren’t hearing the brother & sister!
  17. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Understood. Karen had a one in a million voice. Richard has a voice pretty much built for harmony only. That’s a skill in and of itself and Richard has it in spades. Have you heard his bass notes? Wow! He can get down there. The harmonies he arranged do not work without him. Karen couldn’t have sung them alone.

    That said, he is nowhere without Karen. It is what it is. She was always the main draw and she was the vehicle that allowed him to do what was natural to him artistically.

    Richard’s main gift was for ear candy. I was listening earlier to the Morinaga jingle they did and between Karen’s voice and Richard’s vocal arrangement, I must have repeated it about 15 times. It’s just irresistible. Vocal arranging was his greatest gift and that’s a large part of what got some of the more “elevator”-ready things over.

    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
  18. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Richard was also the producer on those records. That’s a big job and he did it well a lot of the time.

    GaryAlan likes this.
  19. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    I've always thought this was a rather strange comment from Richard. Granted, he wasn't in great shape at the time of making the album and so needed some help with the arrangements, but the feel of the album clearly bears his stamp - it's not a solo album by any stretch of the imagination, either in terms of what role everyone played or in the overall musical sense. The producer has a significant input into how things end up sounding, so that's a big role in itself.

    All this discussion does make me wonder whether the intention at the start of their career was that there would be more sharing of the leads though - look at the number of Richard lead vocals on Offering. And wasn't there some debate about whether 'Close to You' or 'I Kept on Loving You' was going to be the A side of the single (bizarre in hindsight, but there you go)? Perhaps it was only with the passing of time and the fact that they were hitting big with trademark Karen performances that meant it became clear that Karen had to take the lead on pretty much everything.
    David A and GaryAlan like this.
  20. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    David A likes this.
  21. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I’ve never understood that comment by Richard either. By the same logic, Horizon and Hush are even more likely to be labelled solo efforts because he had zero lead vocals but produced all of them. It would have been nonsensical to make the Christmas album a KC solo in name but then to read on the back that he produced it, is heard on lead and backing vocals throughout and listed as having arranged and orchestrated the lion’s share of the tracks. Anyone looking at it would surely have asked “what’s changed?”.
  22. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Reading the back cover of LP Christmas Portrait,
    Richard Carpenter arranged only: Merry Christmas Darling and O Come,O Come Immanual.
    (Also, his orchestrations only on these two songs).

    Most arrangements and Orchestrations--again, reading back cover--
    were by Peter Knight and Billy May.
  23. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    I can only assume that the fact that he handed over a lot of the arranging for Christmas Portrait to others may be behind Richard's odd comment about this being a 'Karen solo' album - it clearly isn't, but he was less involved than was usually the case.

    That said, even if it was done to some extent out of necessity because of his addiction, there was a logic in giving veterans like Billy May and Peter Knight a role in the arranging anyway, as they were able to provide precisely the 'feel' that was being aimed for on this album.
  24. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    My oversight, but that being the case, he was still the album’s producer, as he had been to that point on all the other albums. It begs the question just how much time he actually did spend in the studio on this album or whether he bowed out for most of its production. It also begs the question, if he wasn’t around as much, why he didn’t give Karen an Associate Producer designation as he had done before.
    Carpe diem likes this.
  25. ars nova

    ars nova Active Member

    Richard and a&m will ALWAYS promote Karen's memory, even at his own expense. even at the time of her death, more than once it was pitifully reported that she was " only 32 ", not reporting she was a month away from her 33rd birthday. the concept of CHRISTMAS POITRAIT was all Richard.

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