Hey Mark:I'm with you, James, in loving Horizon and Hush. If you're a fan of her voice, it's hard not to be.
Horizon has always toggled with CTY as my favorite. The way Karen is recorded has never been as good previously or since that album. Even though I play Hush a lot (its my go-to for some happy music), 3/5 of Side One are not great. But Side Two- wow. Among their best, I'd say.
Forgot to mention why I chose Close to You. It's somewhere between raw (Offering / Ticket to Ride) and dare I say too refined (Tan album). Full of innovation and multiple flavors of song. Karen sounds stunning throughout. And some of my favorite album cuts are here alongside two major hits I love: Love is Surrender, Reason to Believe, Maybe It's You, Baby It's You. Plus WOJB started my lifelong love affair with the duo. (More here.)
I remembered that we share a fondness for Horizon and A Kind of Hush. I appreciate what you've written here about your absolute favorite album, Close to You. As I say, it can be difficult to quantify rankings when you enjoy (love) virtually everything they recorded.
Thank you for including the link to your fantastic blog! If I may be so bold, I would like to give it a plug here...
I went to the link and read your recap/review of Close to You. I was impressed by the picture you painted of the excitement you felt upon hearing "We've Only Just Begun" on the radio and how you followed your local radio station's weekly Top 30 countdown to track the Carpenters' ensuing single releases. (It was also enjoyable to read tidbits about your family's history.) I have read other essays at your site as well, and I admire your writing, insights, dedication, and effort. For anyone who hasn't been to Mark's website, it is a boundless treat. The articles are chock full of trivia and pictures, some of which were previously unfamiliar to me. And there are links to other such articles. So much to enjoy there, Mark, and it comes across as a labour of love. Sincere gratitude and salutations to you!