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What's your favorite song from "Karen Carpenter" (1996)

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newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
The whispering sounds silly to my ears. It's not necessary. I'd must rather have the lamenting tone we get from Richard's choice than the whisper. I remember hearing that fade on Karen's and going, "NO!" LOL!!! It's just wrong. Richard's ending, for my ears and for the story of the lyric, is so much more effective. She wants him, darn it, and the ending of Richard's sounds like declaration.
Perfect summary of how I also feel about If I Had You, my favourite from the solo album. Richard's remix is far better and actually "modernises" the track, gives it a more contemporary feel. Another favourite is Lovelines, I love Karen's deeper register in the verses and the arrangement is great too. Again though, Richard's remix is superior and brings Karen's lead to the front instead of being too far down in the mix. I'm surprised Karen signed off the original mix as she's almost inaudible at a couple of points, buried amongst the backing vocals. My Body Keeps Changing My Mind is my third favourite, just fun for what it is: a straightforward disco track.

The only one I have to skip every time is All Because Of You. It just goes nowhere, the bridge is weak ("I keep singing my love song/In my mind I sing a song for you") and the ending is terrible, almost as if they didn't know how to finish it so Karen just goes up an octave on the last note and the whole thing stops dead. When Phil Ramone described the playback in LA, he said they were three or four tracks in, you could cut the atmosphere with a knife and he was ready to start biting his nails. If they were playing the album in its correct sequence, this is the second track Herb, Jerry and Richard will have heard during playback (after a disco number, which Richard explicitly advised her not to do). So to me, all this would explain their reaction.
 
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GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^I note that those mixing problems (Karen's lead buried in the mix)
seems to have been carried over to the album Made In America !
Thus, not merely symptomatic of the original mixes found in (a few of) Karen's solo songs.
I disagree with comparing what is found in Karen's originals to what is found later, on lp Lovelines.
The arrangement everyone is so fond of--Richard's arrangement on If I Had You--
was NOT thought of in 1979/1980. Had it been "in the air" at that time , no way could that song
have been held back until 1989. All of the historical-backtracking, when referencing what Karen and phil delivered
(or did not deliver) in those initial playbacks is maddening to me.
I would assume that the first song played in the initial playback would have been If I Had You,
since it is well-documented that she phoned Richard regards her excitement about the recording.
I find it difficult to believe that the sequence of songs found on the 1996 cd
is the sequence of playback. That defies credulity.
That a song such as Last One Singin' the Blues
would be "unmixed and one of several that might have been finished" (Phil Ramone, 1996)
is simply ridiculous. That song had to have been in those playbacks, it is too good !
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I find it difficult to believe that the sequence of songs found on the 1996 cd is the sequence of playback. That defies credulity.
Why? Surely an album playback to executives is a playback of the finished album. In the VH1 Behind The Music special, Richard described the scene, saying that "she and Phil played the album for the powers that be at A&M". Phil Ramone also confirms that "these mixes, the material and style are the way Karen approved them" in the liner notes. Playing it in its allotted sequence would give the execs the opportunity to have the same listening experience - from beginning to end - as the buying public and reviewers would get. Album sequencing is very important in defining the contours and feel of a finished album and therefore its potential success as a release. Playing the tracks in a random order just wouldn't have made sense to me.
 
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GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^I am not implying a "random order"....
merely, the best songs first (and, by all accounts, If I Had You
was certainly uppermost in Karen's mind).

The song Lovelines was
"Recorded in early 1980" (Richard Carpenter),
surely that recording occurred after the initial NYC playback (??).
 
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ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Why? Surely an album playback to executives is a playback of the finished album. In the VH1 Behind The Music special, Richard described the scene, saying that "she and Phil played the album for the powers that be at A&M". Phil Ramone also confirms that "these mixes, the material and style are the way Karen approved them" in the liner notes. Playing it in its allotted sequence would give the execs the opportunity to have the same listening experience - from beginning to end - as the buying public and reviewers would get. Album sequencing is very important in defining the contours and feel of a finished album and therefore its potential success as a release. Playing the tracks in a random order just wouldn't have made sense to me.
Agreed. The execs heard the completed record. That likely means they heard it in sequence. I've yet to see any proof that they'd have heard it shuffled in any way.

Ed
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
Stephen, here is the source of my confusion (Coleman, page 271):
"By the time she had completed it in early 1980...the customary playback for senior executives was set-up."
"Jerry Moss asked Derek Green to fly in to New York to hear the initial playback of the songs in the studio."
"Flying on to Los Angeles, Green faced an attempt to soften him (Moss) up with a playback of tracks
that had been doctored and refined."
"invited to Quincy Jones' house...I had to listen to the whole album again, which was further mixed and further produced."
"The record represented a very poor choice of songs...."

And,
"After four or five songs were completed, Carpenter flew back to Los Angeles, tape happily in hand."
Source:
Karen Carpenter's Second Life
 
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GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
There are reasons for my confusion:
So, everyone believes that the FIRST playback in the NYC studio (Derek Greene)
resulted in a muddled mix of Karen's vocals on If I Had You (or, any other studio playback) ?
So, everyone believes that the album that Richard, Alpert and Moss heard was...."a poor choice of songs." ?
So, Jerry Moss LATER heard "a doctored and refined playback."?
So, there was yet another playback, "further mixed and further produced." ?
That Karen flew from NYC to LA with four or five completed songs ?
 
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newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
"By the time she had completed it in early 1980...the customary playback for senior executives was set-up."
"Jerry Moss asked Derek Green to fly in to New York to hear the initial playback of the songs in the studio."
"Flying on to Los Angeles, Green faced an attempt to soften him (Moss) up with a playback of tracks
that had been doctored and refined."
"invited to Quincy Jones' house...I had to listen to the whole album again, which was further mixed and further produced."
At this point it's all academic but I think what you're missing is that between the initial playback in NYC and the playback at Quincy Jones' home, there was the official playback for Jerry, Herb and Richard. It's only as a result of their rejection of it that there was further doctoring of the tracks, involving Quincy, in an attempt to try and bring people round. I'd still love to know what they did to the tracks to try and further improve them, and whether those mixes still exist in the vaults. Based on what we've all been saying above, maybe they should have just let Richard remix them :laugh:
 

GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^Even if it is, as you say, academic....reading Coleman and other sources merely confuses me !
The bottom line for me is this: If the 1996 cd is exactly what they all heard in early 1980,
then there can be no justification for the cancellation of the album at that time.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
The bottom line for me is this: If the 1996 cd is exactly what they all heard in early 1980, then there can be no justification for the cancellation of the album at that time.
Your bottom line is very different to the label’s bottom line and who was behind the decision. In Richard’s own words, “it was all up to Karen, and she listened to the opinion of all the people she respected, and it was her decision. And she said we’re not putting it out”.
 
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GaryAlan

Well-Known Member
^^Still....all things considered, makes no sense to me !
I had not re-visited these sources in quite some time (a vault of books, mags, liner notes, Newsletters, etc.),
and, re-reading everything this morning unfortunately leaves me searching for answers.
I realize....no answers will ever be forthcoming, I should have left this part of my mind closed !
Why haven't we heard more from the Billy Joel bandmates involved in the making of the solo album ?
The drums on Karen's solo album are such a delight to listen to !
I do love Rod Temperton's involvement in the project. Never heard much from him, either.
Never heard much from Quincy Jones, did we ?
Oh well, time goes by.....
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Why? Surely an album playback to executives is a playback of the finished album. In the VH1 Behind The Music special, Richard described the scene, saying that "she and Phil played the album for the powers that be at A&M". Phil Ramone also confirms that "these mixes, the material and style are the way Karen approved them" in the liner notes. Playing it in its allotted sequence would give the execs the opportunity to have the same listening experience - from beginning to end - as the buying public and reviewers would get. Album sequencing is very important in defining the contours and feel of a finished album and therefore its potential success as a release. Playing the tracks in a random order just wouldn't have made sense to me.
Sometimes the sequencing of tracks is not done until the very end and is done by the label, which is why, especially in the vinyl era, you would have album artwork listing all the tracks, but then a note saying to see the inner record label for the correct order, as a lot of times, the band would playback the album in one order for the execs, but then one of the execs would say they didn't like a certain song or didn't like the how the tracks were arranged and the exec would come up with the final order. I recall, back in 2012, the Beach Boys album That's Why God Made The Radio album was to have featured a track recorded in the mid- to late-90's with Carl Wilson and finished in 2012, and mention was made of the track making the album in pre-release interviews, however, when the album came out, the track was nowhere to be found, and in the CD booklet it was mentioned that the track had been removed by Capitol executives after the Beach Boys had played back the album in the order that they had wanted the album presented. Originally the Beach Boys had wanted to have this track on the album since it was an unused Carl Wilson vocal, and it would've allowed them to have had Carl Wilson on the 50th anniversary album. But even look back at the 60's when Capitol was reorganizing the early Beatles albums for their US release---you often ended up with tracks from 2 UK albums on 1 US album along with tracks that had been issued in the UK as single-only releases.
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Sometimes the sequencing of tracks is not done until the very end and is done by the label, which is why, especially in the vinyl era, you would have album artwork listing all the tracks, but then a note saying to see the inner record label for the correct order, as a lot of times, the band would playback the album in one order for the execs, but then one of the execs would say they didn't like a certain song or didn't like the how the tracks were arranged and the exec would come up with the final order.
Either way, the album was still vetoed by A&M.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Either way, the album was still vetoed by A&M.
However, it would appear that at some point in 1979, the album was played for an A&M exec without "Lovelines", and it was an exec that requested that "Lovelines" be recorded as possible a stronger opening song than maybe "I Love Making Love To You" or "Truly You". And from what we know, apparently A&M's New York exec's were in favor of releasing the album, while it was the LA execs who ultimately shut it down. So within A&M, even without Karen or Richard's involvement, there was division within the management over the album.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
I do love Rod Temperton's involvement in the project. Never heard much from him, either.
Never heard much from Quincy Jones, did we ?
Oh well, time goes by.....
I can't explain anyone else but I can explain Rod. Rod simply didn't do interviews. He didn't enjoy them so only a very few were ever granted to anyone.

Ed
 

Jamesj75

Well-Known Member
I’ve always loved Karen’s solo album, largely because it’s so diffferent and was clearly a very personal project for her.

This is a difficult one for me, as there isn’t really a song I dislike, but if I had to choose favourites it would be:

My Body Keeps Changing My Mind
If I Had You
All Because of You
So glad to see another fan who appreciates "All Because of You!" And, Anna, we are not alone...

I find this particular song heavenly. As I have mentioned elsewhere, it is the closest thing to Karen "unplugged" that we have. As with other songs from Karen's solo project, this song presents a different style. The last note is sublime.
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
I had a cassette recording thru an industry insider who lives in Los Angeles, but said he was there during the sessions, since 1988 10 years before it was finally released. My eyes got really big when Make Believe It’s Your First Time started playing. He laughed and said, yep, Richard took that one cut from the solo album and re-recorded it as a Carpenters song.
When I heard Making Love in the Afternoon, I was certain it was Peter Cetera, yawn, doing backing vocals. Still I love the song.
My favorites are My Body, Lovelines, and Making Love. On the N.Y. Sessions unreleased cuts it’s, I do it for your love. I called Paul Grein at the Los Angeles Times after listening to it for hours, and he said he had a copy too. He’s the best friend they had in the journalism department. Love his Billboard work and the Times. Robert Hilburn of the Times wasn’t so kind, until she passed. Regrets maybe? Not sure.
 

Bobberman

Well-Known Member
My favorite off this is " If We Try" and "Lovelines" those two are standouts even though they were previously released on The Lovelines album but on Karen's solo album they are the original versions ( or at least I'm under the impression that they were)
 

John Adam

Well-Known Member
Tough question. Since six of the solo album cuts had been accessed to use on Carpenters sets already, it's hard to be bias. Richard's "versions" were the first we heard, beginning seven years before the solo album was released. "If I Had You" was the first solo track I ever heard, and I was blown away by the version heard on "Lovelines." "From The Top" had the excellent mix of "My Body Keeps Changing My Mind." These seemed like the definitive versions, because I grew up with them.

Off the original Karen/Ramone album my favorite two cuts would be different.
1) Make Believe It's Your First Time
2) Still In Love With You

Would of been interesting to see what Richard would of done with these, but we have the answer to one of them (#7) on "Voice Of The Heart," don't we?
 

Jorge

New Member
It was back in the early 90's when I was getting some mail from a Carpenters Fan Club being ran by a dude named J. Cormier. I remember during one phone chat that he played for me two Karen's unreleased tracks at the time, one of them being "Make Belive It's Your First Time". I can't remember the second song. But I was stunned at the simple arrangement and Karen's voice and a piano. That was simply beautiful. How did he get the songs, have no idea. I just love KC solo. I hate the artwork with all my heart.
 

John Adam

Well-Known Member
"If I Had You" is the one remix that Richard got right. I love the cold ending on his rather than the lazy fade that Karen's solo version got. I also prefer the most assertive vocal take he used.
The arrangement everyone is so fond of--Richard's arrangement on If I Had You--was NOT thought of in 1979/1980. Had it been "in the air" at that time , no way could that song
have been held back until 1989.
Yup! Too bad for the missed opportunity on this great Karen performance. Very commercial, awesome vocals throughout. The ending, "If I Had You Back In My Life" sticks with you long after the song ends. Would of been a hit in 1980 had that version been realized.
 

ThaFunkyFakeTation

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Yup! Too bad for the missed opportunity on this great Karen performance. Very commercial, awesome vocals throughout. The ending, "If I Had You Back In My Life" sticks with you long after the song ends. Would of been a hit in 1980 had that version been realized.
Nothing they were doing was hitting at that point. It would have taken some stellar promotion to make that happen. Further, we can't even be sure she could have handled the physical demands of a bonafide hit if this song became one.

Ed
 

John Adam

Well-Known Member
Does anyone tuned into "The Carpenters Forum" own a 7" single of Karen Carpenter's "If I Had You?" If so it must be amazing to hear it on vinyl, and I assume it must be the Lovelines-Carpenters album version like the CD single? Any stories on this? :)
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
Only the promo cd single. I don’t think the 7” format was around anymore. The casingle or cassette single and cd single took over by that time. It does say Karen Carpenter on it though, not Carpenters. I’ve never seen a cassette single either. Anyone else?
 

John Adam

Well-Known Member
Only the promo cd single. I don’t think the 7” format was around anymore. The casingle or cassette single and cd single took over by that time. It does say Karen Carpenter on it though, not Carpenters. I’ve never seen a cassette single either. Anyone else?
I believe there is a vinyl single from outside of North America, as I have seen a sleeve. But of course on the Internet a lot of things are mocked up.

But alas I am an idiot, the album Lovelines was released on vinyl, so it can be heard on that, but still wonder if the 7" single has the same version?
 
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