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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. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    Don't forget that with Christmas Portrait, a lot of the tracks come from the Carpenters TV appearances. Carol of The Bells seems to come from the Perry Como Christmas Show, minus the chorus. And The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire, which is most heavily associated with the Christmas Portrait album was originally issued as a single to promote the Carpenters first Christmas special (it wasn't even released as a single in 78, it was released in 77!)
  2. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    There's also the question of just how much of the keyboards were handled by Richard for CHRISTMAS PORTRAIT. He's listed second behind fellow A&M keyboardist Pete Jolly in the credits. It's possible he only played on those few tracks that had been done earlier and that the lion's share was handled by Pete Jolly. The album credits are all lumped together.
  3. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    I just pulled out The Essential Collection and Richard is credited with keyboards on:

    Merry Christmas, Darling
    Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town (45 version)
    Little Altar Boy
    Ave Maria

    Pete Jolly is credited with

    White Christmas

    "Christ Is Born" lists no musical instruments credits in either The Essential Collection or From The Top.

    But it's interesting: Karen is listed as Associate Producer on "White Christmas", "Little Altar Boy" and "Ave Maria", and as a Producer on "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town".
  4. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Now that’s interesting. The only thing I can think that connects these three songs is that they were recorded in one stand-alone session. If that’s the case, what made that session different to all the others that made up the Christmas album? This is why we need a “Complete Recording Sessions” book, similar to that of ABBA, that I’ve craved all these years. Sadly, time just continues to run out.

    ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions (expanded edition) - the details
    GaryAlan likes this.
  5. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    I realizen that the CP LP was recorded and mixed over a 14 month period, but considering that “White Christmas” appeared in the 77 Christmas special and “Ave Maria” appeared in the 78 special, the two were probably done separately. And “Little Altar Boy” didn’t appear till 1984, so you’ve got to wonder when it was recorded in that 14 month period.
  6. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Recall, according to the Fan Club Newsletter #59, May 1978:
    "At the present time they are busy mixing this long-awaited album in readiness
    for marketing during the 1978 Christmas Season." (Christmas Portrait).
  7. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Additionally, I can find no other LP Credits, besides the 1978 LP Christmas Portrait,
    which explicitly includes the word "Conceived" by Richard Carpenter.
    The actual line is "conceived and produced by Richard Carpenter."

    I assumed all along that all of the albums were conceived by Richard Carpenter !
  8. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    I think the word is born from Richard’s belief that this was a concept album of sorts. The way it segued almost seamlessly from one track to the other was fairly unique at the time.
  9. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    Even now CP is stands out with those segues. Most Christmas albums have breaks in between each track, rather than having the symphonic sound of CP.
  10. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Richard wasn't in his right mind during this period because of his Quaalude addiction. Who can forget his "vacant" expression behind the keyboards as Karen performs a Superstar/Rainy Days And Mondays/Goodbye To Love medley on the Tonight Show June 1978. It looked like he was going to pass out at anytime. I couldn't see him being able to produce/perform anything album worthy in that time frame, let alone Christmas Portrait, one of their best works. His contribution to that album in the year 1978 must have been minimal.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2018
  11. ars nova

    ars nova Active Member

    this is completely uncalled for !!
  12. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    Again, Richard Carpenter in his own words:
    "What was saddening to me then, and even more so now, is that I was at my nadir dealing with the sleeping pill problem. If I were at my best, I could have and would have contributed a lot more in both creativity and spirit to “Hush”, “Passage”, and the first four television specials. By the time Karen and I began recording on the Christmas album, I was not interested in more than production work, and an occasional lead and some minor piano work. Arranging (something I truly enjoy doing, especially with Christmas songs) was turned over, by me, to veterans Peter Knight and Billy May."

    Carpenters: Christmas Portrait album, 1978
    Carpe diem likes this.
  13. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    I'd forgotten how long he was suffering with his issue. How awful. He had so little time with Karen and he cost himself even more of it than necessary. That must fill him with regret.

    Jetward97 likes this.
  14. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member

    ^^Ed, I always thought the quote from Richard Carpenter was peculiar.

    After all, in my opinion, the Hush album and Made In America are similar in conception.
    On the one hand, Richard continually denigrates the Hush LP, while keeping with his
    contention that MIA is "his favorite." For the one (1976) he is gripped with health issues,
    for the other (1981) his health issues have all-but vanished.
    Hush LP is more (or less) as "creative" as MIA LP (imho).
    In fact, as far as arrangements go (especially strings and drums) the two albums are similar.
    (Even then, for MIA, Peter Knight arranged Because We Are In Love.)
    Even if comparing the actual song choices made by Richard Carpenter--comparing the two albums--
    it is difficult to contend that his improved health status (for the later album)
    was any better than the choices made for the earlier album
    (when his health status was--by his admission--much worse).

    So, in the end, I do not understand the phrase,
    "If I were at my best, I would have contributed a lot more in creativity and spirit..."
    He was at his best, for Made In America....and so we hear how that transpired !
    ThaFunkyFakeTation likes this.
  15. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    ^^Do you ever get the feeling that Richard saying MIA was his favorite album was just a way to lesson his guilt of Karen's solo work being nixed, and the role he played in that? Has he ever related specifically what it was in MIA that made it his favorite album? It couldn't have been the content or vocal performances...
    newvillefan likes this.
  16. newvillefan

    newvillefan I Know My First Name Is Stephen

    Perhaps because the album is more a vehicle for his talents than for showcasing Karen’s vocals? It wouldn’t surprise me.
    ThaFunkyFakeTation likes this.
  17. Rumbahbah

    Rumbahbah Well-Known Member

    It is a strange comment to make - I wonder if Richard would say the same these days or whether it was one of those statements made shortly after the album in question was released, where an artist says it's their favourite because they're promoting it and it's freshest in their minds. Obviously it's all subjective, but you'd have a hard case to make saying that Made in America is a better album than, say, A Song for You.

    As Gary Alan highlights, there's not a lot more energy on Made in America than there was on the sleepy A Kind of Hush. And that's why I'm harsher on Made in America than A Kind of Hush. Neither is a particularly strong album, but there are fewer justifications as to why this was the case with Made in America. A Kind of Hush was recorded at a point when they were on the career treadmill, where they'd started to lose sight of their musical vision, when they were both suffering from personal problems and where they could probably have done with a break rather than recording another album. For Made in America, they (and especially Richard) had had that break and chance to regroup and reassess things, and take the time to come up with a real winner of a collection, and yet they produced pretty much more of the same.
    GaryAlan likes this.
  18. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    And with MIA most of the good tracks ended up as outtakes that we then saw years later.
  19. ThaFunkyFakeTation

    ThaFunkyFakeTation Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo

    Yeah that gotta be it. On much of it, she almost doesn’t matter. Silly how that is but it is.

  20. David A

    David A Well-Known Member

    What a great thought - I hadn't considered this. Yes this makes complete sense to me, and seems fairly reflected in what transpired on their albums as time progressed.
    newvillefan likes this.
  21. ullalume

    ullalume Well-Known Member

    Surely it's just because the Santa Claus they featured in the Essential collection was released in '74 and in '73/'74 all releases were still billed with both of them as producer.

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