domingo, 25 de octubre de 2015

147º-Close To You, 1970-

 Richard and Karen Carpenter, 1970

Hurriedly put together in the wake of the success of the title song, and containing the follow-up hit "We've Only Just Begun," Close to You is a surprisingly strong album, and not just for those hits. Richard Carpenter's originals "Maybe It's You" and "Crescent Noon" are superb showcases for Karen Carpenter's developing talent, the latter a superbly atmospheric, hauntingly beautiful art song of the kind that Judy Collins was doing well at the time, and gorgeously arranged. There's also a Swingle Singers-style number, "Mr. Guder," showing off their paired vocal talents and more of Richard's arranging talents. Karen's singing on "Reason to Believe" isn't so much somber as it is passionate, as she emphasizes the melancholy component in the song more than most versions. Their version of "Help" lacks the inventiveness of "Ticket to Ride," although it has some pleasing vocal flourishes. The finale, "Another Song," tries hard for a serious rock sound, especially in Karen's animated drumming, but it's her voice that stands out. Released amid the political turmoil of 1970, in the wake of the Cambodian incursion, Kent State, and the conservative backlash against the antiwar forces, there was no way that the rock press or the most politically active listeners were going to appreciate this record, but the fact that it had two huge hit singles and earned a gold record award raised their ire against the Carpenters, a problem that would dog the duo for most of its career. But the public bought, and kept on buying. 

"Our debut single “Ticket To Ride” stayed on the charts for several months and ultimately peaked at No.54. This showed some promise for us, as most singles released never see the charts, but did not move many “Offering” albums. Nevertheless, Herb continued to “keep the faith” and we started recording a second album, the first two tracks recorded being “Love Is Surrender” and “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again”. This was before “Close To You” was brought to our attention.
In late 1969 Burt Bacharach heard our version of “Ticket To Ride”. This led to our being asked by Burt to open a benefit show he would be doing on February 24, 1970, and performing a medley of his songs I would arrange. Herb brought an obscure Bacharach/David song to my attention during this time entitled “They Long To Be Close To You” (I had presumptuously taken it upon myself to shorten the title.) I put together my arrangement but felt it didn’t quite fit the medley. Herb felt strongly we should include it in the new album. “Close To You” was released on May 15, 1970 and within six weeks was No.1. The “Close To You” album also contains “We’ve Only Just Begun”. Written by Roger Nichols and Paul Williams for a “soft sell” TV bank commercial, “Begun” caught my ear after seeing the commercial a few times. It became our third single (second gold) and ultimately our signature song. Also featured in this album are “Help” (which was slated to be our second single until “Close To You” came along) and four songs John Bettis and I wrote while still in college: “Crescent Noon”, “Mr. Guder”, “Maybe It’s You” and “Another Song”. Others I feel are particularly strong are “Baby It’s You” & “Reason To Believe”.
A perfect example of pretentious, wacky 60s musical abandon, it is complete with a recitative (lifted from Handel) and extended solo backside.  Karen’s and my multi-tracked vocal break, which precedes the Borodin-inspired penultimate section, however, is still thrilling to listen to".

-Richard Carpenter

28 Nov 1970

Richard Carpenter said of recording this song: "He (Herb Alpert) just gave me a lead sheet, and he said, 'I have a recording of this, but I don't want you to hear it. I don't want anything to influence what I may come up with. Just keep, at the end of the first bridge, two piano quintuplets.' That record, that song, the arrangement, all of it, is misleading to the uninitiated, because it sounds simple. And it's anything but simple."
In their first sessions for this song, Karen Carpenter played the drums, which Alpert didn't like. Said the producer: "I thought it was a little light. And so I asked them to go back in the studio again, because Karen was playing drums. And they recorded it the second time and I still felt they were missing a little something on the groove, so I suggested very carefully to Karen that maybe Hal Blaine should come in and play drums on it."

Blaine replaced Karen on drums and they got the take they liked with Richard on piano, Joe Osborn on bass, and Karen singing.
The trumpet part in the middle of the song didn't come easy: Richard had a very specific sound in mind, and had multiple trumpets trying to play it, which wasn't working because each trumpet was playing slightly different. Chuck Findley solved the problem by playing all the parts himself, then layering them together to create the elusive sound Richard wanted.
This was the first of a string of hits for the Carpenters. They dominated Easy Listening radio in the early '70s.

April 2009

jueves, 22 de octubre de 2015

146º-Offering, 1969-

Music is simple magic. A rhythm, a melody, a dash of words...presto. It's medicine for the soul, food for love, the essence of divinity, a reason for being. It can soar through an infinite range of ups and downs, strike a million dissonant chords, and topple the strongest resistance. But for all its travels, however wide, however deep, it never forgets to make its simple offering. Enclosed, neatly tucked between the confines of this cardboard jacket, is one of the most beautiful gifts two people can offer. The vocal sound is a product of Richard and Karen Carpenter. In addition to the vocals Karen (age 19) plays drums on all the selections and on two of the offerings she plays electric bass... Her brother, Richard, sings, plays the keyboard instruments, composed ten of the songs, and arranged all of them. It is with pleasure A&M Presents: CARPENTERS

-Herb Alpert (1969)

**This album was previously released under the title of "OFFERING". It has been re-designed and re-titled "TICKET TO RIDE". However, the tunes remain the same. CARPENTERS/TICKET TO RIDE/SP 4205
Karen & I signed with A&M Records in April, 1969, and almost immediately started work on this album. It is definitely a reflection of its time (pre-1969), with the exception of Ticket To Ride. A number of selections on “Offering” were being performed by our group Spectrum as early as 1967. At that time, Karen was not as much into singing as she later became. This explains the number of my leads on this album. We were so anxious to start recording that we recorded our existing repertoire rather than searching for, or writing new material. The drum, bass, cello, solo, keyboards, and background vocals on Bettis’s and my 1967 anti-establishment song, Your Wonderful Parade are from the demo done in Joe Osborn’s garage studio. Only a new lead and real strings were added. All I Can Do is the demo in its entirety. Both were recorded in 1968. This, to a degree, explains the divergence in approach between the albums “Offering” and “Close To You”.  
Ticket to Ride is one of our finest tracks.  Since many of The Beatles’ up-tempo songs are as melodic as the ballads, they can be made, with the right approach, into ballads as well.  Not only did I slow the piece down, but changed, or added, some chord changes as well, along with the melody at the end of the choruses, with Karen resolving on a very effective major seven.  This put her in her marvelous lower register on the word “care”, which sounds terrific and adds to the plangent character of the entire chart; after all Ticket To Ride is a sad lyric.  The arrangement ends with a tag of four part harmony (overdubbed, 12 voices in all) singing “Think I’m gonna be sad” that foreshadows the happier “wah” tag that I would later fashion for the ending of Close To You. For a debut album by a young act, “Offering” is not too shabby.  It certainly is filled with a spirit of musical adventure, and exemplifies my assimilation of the many styles of music surrounding me while growing up.  Writes Tom Nolan:  Those unfamiliar with the Carpenters’ origins might be startled to hear their atypical debut LP, released as “Offering” and later retitled “Ticket To Ride”. Some of the later elements of the Carpenters’ style are present, to be sure – a relatively polished production, Karen’s distinctive lead on many tracks, and even a foreshadowing of their subsequent breakthrough single in the lyric of the Richard Carpenter /John Bettis song, Someday, in which Karen sings the very precognitive phrase “close to you” – but the record is unmistakably a product of the pop-rock mainstream of its time.
The a cappella (sic) Invocation beginning side one echoes the choral religiosity of the Beach Boys’ Our Prayer.  Your Wonderful Parade is prefaced by Richard declaiming a circus barker’s sleazy-surrealistic monologue a la Herman Hesse via Joseph Byrd, leader of the art-rocking United States of America; while the song itself could have been written by Van Dyke Parks for Harper’s Bizarre.  Other influences discernible throughout include the Mamas & Papas, We Five, and early Nilsson.  There is restrained use of the then-chic toy, phasing.  There are tempo changes; soft but extended jazz-like solos; shimmering Buffalo Springfield-type guitar – and a Buffalo tune,Clancy; as well as the folk-rock staple, Let’s Get Together.  “Offering” tends toward being the sort of album many rock critics were encouraging at the time:  a post-folk, soft-psychedelic Southern Californian mini-oratorio.
“Offering” was later re-packaged and re-released as “Ticket To Ride”, after the minor success of the single of the same name, and the major success of “Close To You”.

-Richard Carpenter (1986)

Track List

1. Invocation 1:01
2. Your Wonderful Parade 2:54
3. Someday 5:13
4. Get Together 2:36
5. All Of My Life 3:02
6. Turn Away 3:10
7. Ticket To Ride 4:10
8. Don’t Be Afraid 2:06
9. What’s The Use 2:43
10. All I Can Do 1:41
11. Eve 2:52
12. Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing 4:18
13. Benediction :43

Album Credits

Producer: Jack Daugherty
Engineer: Ray Gerhardt
Guest Artists: Herb Alpert
Special Credits:
Bass: Joe Osborn and Bob Messenger
Guitar: Gary Sims
Shaker: Herb Alpert
Art Director: Tom Wilkes
Photography: Jim McCrary

miércoles, 21 de octubre de 2015

jueves, 15 de octubre de 2015

142º-Carpenters at the White House-

President Nixon requested the group to perform for visiting West German chancellor Willy Brandt.  

martes, 13 de octubre de 2015

140º-The Carpenters Billboard Hot 100 Chart History-

A chronological recap of all of The Carpenters' hits to enter the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart, starting with their first single in 1970.

domingo, 11 de octubre de 2015

138º-The Carpenters with Fred Napoli-

Karen and Richard Carpenter came to Toronto on a tour after the release of their first album in 1969. Toronto broadcaster Fred Napoli interviewed the brother and sister team before their appearance at The O'Keefe Center.


viernes, 9 de octubre de 2015

136º-The Singles 1969-1973-

This is the Carpenters' first greatest hits album, "The Singles: 1969-1973." The album reached #1 on the UK and US album charts in 1974, and became one of the top-selling albums of the 1970s.

This is the 2013 Universal Music Japan remaster, supervised by Richard Carpenter, and used for the 2014 Platinum SHM-CD and SHM-SACD releases in Japan. This is widely regarded as the best-sounding version of the Carpenters' material found anywhere, and is one of the best-sounding SHM-CDs period. Enjoy the album!.

jueves, 8 de octubre de 2015

135º-Yesterday Once More 2015-

Re-edited version of the Carpenters classic hit song "Yesterday Once More", no backing vocals in this version, only Karen's lead vocal, her drums, Joe Osborn's bass, and new instrumentation. 

sábado, 3 de octubre de 2015

134º-Promotional Advertisements-

As with many recording artists, Carpenters’ output was supported with promotional advertisements that were placed in trade magazines like Billboard, Cashbox, etc. These ads generally appeared during the week that the promotional singles and albums were being sent to radio stations as an extra nudge to get programmers to play the new recorded works and then were never seen again, except to those who saved the magazines.