miércoles, 20 de septiembre de 2017

RECOMENDACIONES MUSICALES 2017



No tinc por

No sólo son buenos los originales. Como podéis comprobar, en Internet hay gente muy pero que muy talentosa. ¡Ay quién pudiera tocar así!.






He decidido compartir con vosotros las canciones que más me gustan. Algunos ya sabrán que Rainy Days And Mondays de The Carpenters ocupa el puesto número 1. Y con el número dos, How Can I Tell you, de Cat Stevens. Aunque tenga una vena Hevy Metalera y Rockera, siempre fui un romántico. Qué le voy a hacer.





Y en tercer lugar, Brown Eyed Girl, de Van Morrison.
¡No es fácil elegir entre cientos y cientos de canciones!











































































































































En memoria del piloto de motociclismo Ángel Nieto. Rest in peace Ángel Nieto.


sábado, 16 de septiembre de 2017

APOYO AL MOVIMIENTO LGTBI



Sí, ya sé que este es un blog sobre música, y en concreto, sobre The Carpenters. Es tiempo sin embargo de mostrar públicamente mi apoyo a la gente que es discriminada, golpeada, encarcelada e incluso asesinada por su orientación sexual.

Tenéis todo mi apoyo y aprecio y espero que llegué el día en el que podamos decir que se ha logrado alcanzar la tolerancia y el respeto por parte de las más amplias capas de la sociedad, no sólo aquí en España, sino a nivel mundial. 

Lógicamente, energúmenos y malas personas existirán siempre, y la aceptación total es muy difícil que se logre, pero se han dado grandes pasos en la dirección adecuada.

Un abrazo para todos. 

jueves, 14 de septiembre de 2017

283º-Still Yesterday Once More-







JANIE LAWRENCE
WEDNESDAY 1 OCTOBER 1997 23:02 

FOR RICHARD CARPENTER THERE'S NO ESCAPE: FOURTEEN YEARS AFTER THE DEATH OF HIS SISTER KAREN HE'S STILL HER CAPTIVE. "CAN SOMEBODY WHO WROTE AND ARRANGED `GOODBYE TO LOVE' REALLY BE SQUARE?" HE ASKS. TO WHICH QUESTION, SAYS JANIE LAWRENCE THERE IS ONLY ONE ANSWER.

THE WAITER IS BECOMING EXTREMELY STROPPY. NO, THE AMERICAN GENTLEMAN REALLY CAN'T SIT AND HAVE PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN OF HIM PLAYING ON THE LOUNGE PIANO. HOTEL POLICY. ANYHOW WHO DID WE SAY HE WAS AGAIN? CLEARLY IT'S TIME FOR THE DEFINITIVE VOCAL REMINDER. "EVERY SHA-LA-LA, EVERY WHOA- OH-WHOA..." DOES THE TRICK. THE PENNY DROPS IMMEDIATELY. OH, THAT RICHARD CARPENTER. GINGER WITHOUT FRED. WISE WITHOUT MORECAMBE. RICHARD WITHOUT KAREN. SAD, SAD, SAD.
"I ALWAYS FELT THAT MY ROLE WAS TO BE IN THE BACKGROUND," HE SAYS, RECALLING THE HEADY DAYS WHEN THE CARPENTERS RACKED UP TWENTY HITS AMNOG THE TOP 40. SHE WITH THE FLICKED BACK HAIR AND THE MAXI DRESSES, HIM BOBBING BEHIND THE KEYBOARDS. SO APPLE-PIE WHOLESOME, SO VERY SQUARE.
OVER 20 YEARS ON, HE MINDS BEING CALLED "SQUARE". SURPRISINGLY HE STILL MINDS. "I'M NOT SQUARE" HE COUNTERS IN NERVY FASHION. "ANYBODY WHO CAN COME UP WITH, NOT ONLY THE SONG, BUT THE ARRANGEMENT TO `GOODBYE TO LOVE' ISN'T SQUARE. I THINK THOSE CHEEK TO CHEEK SHOTS OF US DIDN'T HELP THE IMAGE WHATSOEVER."

NOW, APPROACHING 51, RICHARD CARPENTER LOOKS - WELL - SQUARE, IN HIS DIAGONALLY PATTERNED ACRYLIC JUMPER AND GREY FLANNEL TROUSERS. HIS HAIR WITH ITS INCIPIENT BALDING PATCH IS NEATLY PARTED IN PREP SCHOOL FASHION. AND FOR A MAN WHO NEED NEVER DO ANYTHING, EVER AGAIN, EXCEPT PICK UP THE CONSTANT STREAM OF ROYALTIES CHEQUES, MR CARPENTER APPEARS REMARKABLY LACKING IN CONFIDENCE. HE IS POLITE, SUSPICIOUS AND PALPABLY VULNERABLE. HIS AMERICAN MANAGER HOVERS PROTECTIVELY ONLY TWO FEET AWAY. MY QUESTIONS BRING ON THE SAME EYE-SWIVELLING ANXIETY DARREN OF BEWITCHED HAD WHEN HE FEARED HIS WIFE WAS ABOUT TO TURN HIM INTO A PLANT. RICHARD IS UNCANNILY LIKE DARREN.

WHEN HIS SISTER KAREN DIED OF A HEART ATTACK BROUGHT ON BY HER ANOREXIA NERVOSA IN 1983 THE CARPENTERS HAD SOLD OVER ONE MILLION RECORDS. THEIR POPULARITY HAD DIPPED BUT IF KAREN WERE ALIVE THEY WOULD STILL BE RECORDING TODAY. OR THAT'S HOW RICHARD SEES IT. "WE'D BE MAKING MORE ALBUMS, SPEND MORE TIME IN THE STUDIO AND DO AN OCCASIONAL TOUR. SUMMER TOURS, A WEEK PER VENUE, EVERY OTHER YEAR A UK TOUR." IT SOUNDS SO PLANNED AND PRESENT TENSE, IT'S AS IF RICHARD HAS NEVER FULLY ADJUSTED TO WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED.

NOW MARRIED, HE HAS FOUR CHILDREN BUT STILL LIVES IN THE SAME LA SUBURB OF DOWNEY THE CARPENTER FAMILY MOVED TO WHEN RICHARD AND KAREN WERE TEENAGERS. MUCH HAS BEEN WRITTEN AND HINTED AT ABOUT THE DISTURBING CLOSENESS OF THEIR BROTHER-SISTER RELATIONSHIP.

EVEN NOW THE INTEREST IN THE CARPENTERS PHENOMONEN HASN'T ABATED. THERE ARE THREE NEW AMERICAN DOCUMENTARIES CURRENTLY IN THE PIPELINE.

"WE SPENT A HELL OF A LOT OF TIME TOGETHER," HE SAYS UNCOMFORTABLY. BUT WEREN'T THEY UNCOMMONLY CLOSE?

"WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE OCCASIONAL SQUABBLE WE ALWAYS GOT ALONG VERY WELL AS KIDS AND GROWING UP. IT WAS A DAMNED GOOD THING, CAUSE WE WERE TOGETHER IN THE STUDIO AND TOGETHER OUT ON THE ROAD." PERHAPS IT'S A LOSS HE WILL NEVER GET OVER? "HAVE YOU EVER LOST A BROTHER OR A SISTER?" HE ASKS.

DESPITE THE MILLIONS OF TIMES HE'S TALKED ABOUT IT OVER THE YEARS, THE PAIN STILL SEEMS RAW. "I HEAR THE ONLY THING THAT'S WORSE IS LOSING A CHILD, WHICH I CAN WELL IMAGINE. THAT GREAT VOICE, THAT GREAT LADY, GONE AT 32. I DON'T SEE ANY RHYME OR REASON FOR IT." HE MUST HAVE KNOWN HOW SERIOUSLY ILL SHE WAS. "I COULD SEE IT IN HER EYES. BUT EVEN THOUGH YOU SAY TO YOURSELF `YOU CAN DIE FROM THIS,' YOU NEVER REALLY BELIEVE IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN."

UNPROMPTED HE VOLUNTEERS THAT HE STILL FEELS GUILTY ABOUT THE OTHER EMOTIONS HE WENT THROUGH AFTER HER DEATH. "IT WAS A LITTLE BIT SELFISH OF ME. IN ADDITION TO EVERYTHING ELSE I THOUGHT OF ALL THESE SONGS YET TO BE RECORDED WHICH SHE WAS NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO DO." IN RECENT YEARS HE HAS SPENT MOST OF HIS TIME PRODUCING OTHER PEOPLE'S RECORDS. NOTHING HE HAS COMPOSED HAS ENJOYED THE SUCCESS OF THE CARPENTERS IN THEIR HEYDAY.

HIS "NEW" ALBUM - RICHARD CARPENTER, PIANIST, ARRANGER, COMPOSE, CONDUCTOR - IS (BAR TWO NEW TRACKS) AN INSTRUMENTAL REWORKING OF ALL THE OLD SONGS. WHY GO OVER OLD GROUND? "IF I JUST TOOK THE ORIGINAL ARRANGEMENTS THAT WOULD BE A TRAVESTY TO KAREN'S MEMORY, BUT THIS IS A WHOLE DIFFERENT ANIMAL FROM THE CARPENTERS RECORDS." YOU MIGHT SAY HE'S CASHING IN. "THEY'RE MY SONGS YOU KNOW" HE RETORTS DEFENSIVELY IN PARTICULARLY DARREN-LIKE FASHION. "I HAVE AS MUCH RIGHT AS ANYBODY TO RECORD THEM, I KNEW AS I WAS MAKING IT THAT PEOPLE WOULD BE POPPING AT ME. BUT IF I TRIED TO SPEND MY LIFE PLEASING EVERYBODY I'D BE IN A LOONY BIN." WOULD KAREN APPROVE? "ABSOLUTELY - I CAN'T STRESS STRONGLY ENOUGH HOW MUCH SHE WOULD. SHE WAS MY NUMBER ONE SUPPORTER. SHE WOULD LOVE SOME OF THE CHANGES I'VE PUT ON. SHE IS IN IT IN SPIRIT WITHOUT A DOUBT."

IN NOVEMBER THERE'S ANOTHER COMPILATION ALBUM, CARPENTERS: THE LOVE SONGS. WITH SO MUCH ENERGY STILL DEVOTED TO SONGS THAT HE WROTE MANY YEARS AGO PERHAPS HE WORRIES THAT'S HIS LOT?

"OF COURSE I DO. I GUESS KISMET HAD ME MAKING IT AT A YOUNGER AGE. I DON'T KNOW. I DON'T THINK THE WELL'S RUN DRY. YOU SEE I HAVEN'T REALLY TRIED A GREAT DEAL. WHEN I DO SIT DOWN AND TRY IT TURNS OUT TO BE SOMETHING THAT DOESN'T REALLY SATISFY ME. I THINK A NUMBER OF PEOPLE GO THROUGH THAT THOUGH. TCHAIKOVSKY HAD IT."

THAT HE SAYS IS ABOUT TO CHANGE. HE'S NOW WORKING TO A DEADLINE AND HAS A NEW SONG "RATTLING AROUND" HIS HEAD. "IT'S A TRIBUTE TO KAREN - AS A HUMAN BEING AND AS A SINGER." HE HAS NEVER WANTED TO WORK FULL TIME WITH ANOTHER SINGER. "I'VE WORKED WITH THE BEST," HE SAYS SIMPLY. "IF PEOPLE ARE REALLY TALENTED IT COMES OUT SOUNDING EFFORTLESS. BUT IT'S NOT EASY." DEMONSTRATING THIS, HIS EYES FOCUSED ON SOME POINT INTO THE MIDDLE DISTANCE, HE SINGS THE WHOLE OF THE FIRST VERSE OF "GOODBYE TO LOVE", POKING THE AIR AS HE REACHES "ALL I KNOW IS HOW TO LIVE WITHOUT IT".

WHEN THEIR BIOPIC WAS BEING MADE RICHARD INFORMED THE PRODUCERS THAT, AT THE SAME TIME KAREN HAD BEEN STRUGGLING WITH ANOREXIA, HE HAD BEEN ADDICTED TO QUAALUDES. "IT WAS A BIG DEAL FOR ME SO THEY REVISED THE SCRIPT AND THE WORD CAME BACK, `IF RICHARD FEELS HE HAS TO HAVE THIS IN HERE THEN WE'LL PUT IT IN.' THERE WAS NOTHING I WANTED MORE THAN NOT HAVING IT IN THERE BUT I FELT IT WAS THE HONOURABLE THING TO DO. I WAS COMING OFF LIKE A BOYSCOUT AND I WANTED TO BE AN UPSTANDING GUY AND NOT HAVE EVERYTHING BLAMED ON KAREN."

RICHARD CARPENTER: PIANIST, ARRANGER, COMPOSER, CONDUCTOR IS OUT NOW. CARPENTERS: THE LOVE SONGS IS RELEASED ON NOVEMBER 10TH

miércoles, 13 de septiembre de 2017

282º-Cover versions of carpenters songs-



Trust Us, This Is Real : Fourteen alternative-rock groups have recorded versions of their favorite Carpenters songs. : Is this a joke? Not to them. The dark side of the Carpenters' American Dream isn't joke material.


September 11, 1994|Paul Grein | Paul Grein is a Los Angeles free-lance writer who specializes in pop music. He interviewed the Carpenters for Calendar in 1981.

The Carpenters were called a lot of things in the '70s, but hip was never one of them. The brother and sister from Downey were known almost as much for their squeaky-clean image as for their poignant ballads.
But a lot of certifiably hip acts have been singing Karen and Richard's praises lately.
And now 14 alternative rock acts--from Sonic Youth to the Cranberries--have recorded an album in which they perform Carpenters hits in their own styles. "If I Were a Carpenter," which is set for release Tuesday on A&M Records, was conceived as a heartfelt yet irreverent tribute.
Alternative acts liking the Carpenters? The same Carpenters that the Rolling Stone Record Guide long dismissed as "bubbly and bland"?
That incongruity is what intrigued Matt Wallace, who has produced records by such acclaimed alternative acts as Faith No More, the Replacements and Paul Westerberg.
"That was the interesting rub about this project, taking very commercial, pop, melodic songs and marrying them with bands that don't tend to do very melodic songs," said Wallace, who served as executive producer on the album with music journalist David Konjoyan.
Konjoyan notes that, despite the obvious musical differences, the Carpenters have a lot in common with these alternative acts.
"In their own time, the Carpenters were probably as alternative as any alternative band is today," he said. "They were certainly taking their own path. I think anybody who bucks trends, anybody who does their own thing despite what's going on around them, earns respect for that."
Larry Hamby--vice president of artists and repertoire at A&M Records, which released all the Carpenters' records--agrees.
"I think Karen was sort of emblematic of an alternative type of soul," he said. "It's there in her story, her presence, her voice. There was always this sad, melancholy quality in her voice--even on the happiest, most up-tempo songs that she sang. And I think a lot of these alternative artists have picked up on that."
Do these acts really like the Carpenters--or is this some kind of a sendup?
That's the first question people invariably ask when they hear about this album--which also includes performances by Babes in Toyland, Shonen Knife, Cracker, Sheryl Crow and Johnette Napolitano with Marc Moreland.
Richard Carpenter and executives at A&M acknowledge that they were concerned that the album might be "tongue in cheek" when Konjoyan and Wallace first presented the idea a year ago.
They needn't have worried. The artists' affection for the Carpenters seems genuine. There may be some nostalgia at play here, but the attraction isn't camp.
The second question people usually ask is more complex: How much of this fascination is due to the tragedy surrounding Karen Carpenter? The singer was just 32 when she died in 1983 after an eight-year battle with anorexia nervosa.
Even Konjoyan says, "I don't think we can extract the Carpenters' lives from their music and have it really mean the same to all these bands. I mean, there is a very tragic story behind their career, and I think that's added a lot of depth to what they're about."
Alternative acts seem to be especially intrigued by the disparity between the Carpenters' sugarcoated image and the darker reality of their lives. Some even see the Carpenters' story as a metaphor for the dark side of the American Dream--the underside of success, beauty and family ties.
"They're so American--they have the light and the dark," said Kim Gordon, bassist and singer for Sonic Youth, a leading underground band that performs "Superstar" on the album.
"I just find the whole family aspect fascinating," she added. "It's like the Beach Boys family. They're supposed to be the ideal American families--the success dream, and all that."
But underneath were problems and conflicts, as in any family--only magnified by the pressures of stardom.
Sonic Youth co-leader Thurston Moore added that those undertones of darkness come across in the Carpenters' music--and are part of what makes it so alluring.
"There's a certain sort of dark mystery to the music that we always found so potent," he said.
John Bettis, who teamed with Richard Carpenter to write such hits as "Goodbye to Love" and "Yesterday Once More," said that what Moore and others hear in the music was real.
"The dark side, the melancholia, was as real as they feel it was. They're responding to the emotional truth, not the image, which is what I always wanted."
W hen Karen Carpenter died on Feb. 4, 1983, many pop fans hadn't given the Carpenters much thought in years. The duo's last album, in 1981, and last TV special, in 1980, had both bombed.
Karen's death drew heavy coverage, in part because it was so unexpected and she was so young. But an album of previously unreleased material released later that year met with only modest success. When producer Dick Clark included a brief tribute to Karen on his American Music Awards program in January, 1984, it was like remembering someone from another era.

sábado, 9 de septiembre de 2017

281º-Todd Haynes’s Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story-



11/8/2016

Superstar: Todd Haynes's banned Karen Carpenter movie is visionary

The celebrated director’s retelling of Carpenter’s affliction by anorexia enraged her family, but compassionately reveals the objectification of female celebrity

Some films were made for the internet well before the internet was made for them. Todd Haynes’s Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story is one.
Made in 1987, while the future director of Carol and Velvet Goldmine was completing his MFA at Bard College, the 43-minute curio – you can call it a short, but it has the narrative shape and scale of a feature-length biopic – was trickled through the film festival circuit the following year. Landing a lofty berth at the Toronto film festival, it fostered a select but vocal audience for its strange, beguilingly ragged form: charting the rise and fall of the anorexia-riven princess of oatmeal pop with a blend of archive miscellanea, artificial talking heads and, most crucially, a host of Barbie doll-enacted dramatisations. An exercise in patchwork postmodernism, Haynes’s film was decades ahead of its time: whether they know it or not, the video content creators of YouTube and Funny or Die are still working in its shadow.
That seems more obvious than ever now that Superstar and an contemporary viral phenomenon – 2014’s mesmeric Too Many Cooks, say – are dependent on much the same means of dissemination: online discovery through word of mouth, shared links and social media discussion. Haynes’s film may be nearly 30 years old, but it can’t be formally purchased or downloaded; even repertory gigs, such as a secret Lincoln Center screening last year, can’t be officially advertised. Just rewatching it for this piece, it took a dead link or two before I found a serviceably muddy transfer on an online video platform: cinephiles who weren’t around for the film’s first coming know it principally through the image-coarsening patina of bootleg distribution. The Damn, Daniel video appears coated in Hollywood lacquer by comparison.
Hardly any film-maker would choose for their work to be viewed in this way. Haynes certainly didn’t, though he knew he was on borrowed time when the film first came to prominence. Superstar predictably angered the family of Carpenter, who died of anorexia-related causes in 1983: it painted a nightmarish portrait of her home life and micromanaging parents, while true to his simmering queer sensibility, Haynes’s script insinuated that Carpenter’s brother and band partner Richard (by then married to his first cousin Mary) was a closeted homosexual. Richard Carpenter foiled Haynes on more banal turf, however, when he successfully sued for the film’s copious unlicensed use of their songs; it was withdrawn from circulation in 1990.
Yet in addition to enhancing an aura of cult fascination around Superstar – there is no film cinephiles are so resourcefully keen to see, after all, as one to which they’re denied access – its burial and subsequent, below-board disinterment oddly serves the film’s interest in the manufacture of celebrity myth. From its lurid, flash-forward introduction, assuming the perspective of Carpenter’s mother Agnes as she finds her collapsed daughter near death in her bedroom, Haynes’s film playfully but ruefully mocks the vapid, then-prevalent TV movies that packaged real-life misfortune for prim-time entertainment. “Why, at age 32, was this smooth-voiced girl from Downey, California, who led a raucous nation smoothly into the 70s, found dead in her parents’ home?” asks an unctuous voiceover figure at the outset, sounding for all the world like The Simpsons’ Troy McClure. Elsewhere, Haynes expertly sends up the tone and aesthetic of educational PSA videos: onscreen blocks of texts discuss the facts of Carpenter’s fatal eating disorder with dourly impersonal detachment.

The winking kitsch and stylistic distortions of Superstar’s storytelling – all the more distorted by the grainy restrictions of YouTube viewing, increasing the film’s sense of illicit artifice – thus allude slyly to popular culture’s very limited understanding of its most celebrated victims. It hardly seems more absurd to embody Karen Carpenter as an increasingly emaciated Barbie doll (Haynes chipped away at their plastic forms to illustrate her gradual deterioration) than to have her played by a workaday actress in a paint-by-numbers biopic.
Today, a film like Superstar might be made as a sustained, Team America-style gag for an off-colour comedy site, yet while Haynes is working in a vein of very rich irony, there’s not a hint of snark here. Wholly sympathetic to its tragic subject, if not to her grotesquely portrayed family, the film treats its singing, self-destructive Barbie both with compassion and a kind of reserved distance, acknowledging just how little we truly know about her. (Think to the eerily immaculate styling of Haynes’s secretly despairing female leads in Far From Heaven and Carol: perfection in his films is merely a surface to be cracked.) Far from disrespecting Karen Carpenter’s memory, presenting her in 12-inch doll form wryly nods not just to the still-rampant objectification of female celebrity and the infantilising actions of her minders, but to the dehumanising effect of the spotlight. We tend to talk of that glare as making stars bigger than life; in this still-thrilling, still covert-feeling film, viewed inauspiciously on a laptop screen, it makes them seem far smaller.

martes, 5 de septiembre de 2017

279º-We’ve Only Just Begun – The Carpenters Love Songs-


Date: Friday, 29th September 2017 Time: 8pmTickets: €23.50 & €27*
*Booking fees apply to telephone and online bookings    

      

We’ve Only Just Begun – The Carpenters Love Songs


With 20,000 tickets sold in Ireland plus successful tours of the UK, Holland and Belgium, Ireland’s most successful touring tribute show returns home for a short Irish tour this September.

The show’s creator and promoter Pat Egan says: “The success of the show is down to the outstanding high quality of the production, brilliant band and singers but ever more so the astonishing voice of Toni Lee recreating to perfection the smoky tones of Karen Carpenter. No other Carpenters show comes near”.

The show’s Musical Director and arranger is Eugene McCarthy, a highly experienced musician of over 30 years who has worked with top Irish and international acts.

Toni Lee is unique, utterly unique in that she recreates the voice of Karen Carpenter like no one else alive. Her touring show “We’ve Only Just Begun” has been on the road now for over five years and it’s simply the best celebration of the Carpenters music to be heard anywhere in the world. The show features every Carpenter hit with an eight-piece big band and audio visuals of the Carpenters career highlights. It’s an evening of pure nostalgia where Toni Lee truly becomes Karen Carpenter.

Coming from a musical background; her Dad was the bass player in Vanity Fare and her late mum worked for years as an Agent/Promoter; Toni, from a young age, has been surrounded by bands, singers and preparation for live gigs and events.  When other kids were playing street games, Toni was packing her Dad’s car with his instruments and discovering what life on the road was all about.

She first came to national attention when she appeared as Karen Carpenter on ITV’S ‘Stars in their Eyes’ which led to the creation of her touring show “We’ve Only Just Begun”, which in 2016 will tour Ireland, the UK and Holland. Dates in America are also pending.

With 25 years’ singing experience, Toni Lee is the ultimate professional performer whose attention to detail and pride in her work is second to none.





Phone:

+ 353 (0) 21 – 427 0022 (Box Office)
+ 353 (0) 21 – 427 4308 (Admin Only)

Address:

Emmet Place, Cork City

miércoles, 9 de agosto de 2017

277º- The Carpenters – 10 of the best-





The Carpenters – 10 of the best

1. Looking for Love


The Carpenter family moved from New Haven, Connecticut, to Downey in Los Angeles in 1963, to pursue the starry ambitions of musical child prodigy Richard. His sister Karen had little interest in music, but turned out to be an excellent drummer when she began playing the instrument in favour of the glockenspiel in the school band. While the all-American siblings’ oeuvre was polished, they made a few false starts before they arrived at pop perfection. The Richard Carpenter Trio won a battle of the bands at the Hollywood Bowl but little else. Then came Spectrum, the band in which Richard wrote many of the Carpenters’ future hits with John Bettis, often during downtime while they worked at Disneyland. One curio, Looking for Love, was recorded in a garage lockup owned by Wrecking Crew bassist Joe Osborn, who signed Karen to his Magic Lamp label. The song wasn’t a hit, and Magic Lamp soon ceased trading, but the song – sung by Karen, written by Richard – was the pair’s first real foray into the recording business. With its skittering rhythm section, part provided by Karen, and its proto-psychedelic flute, it’s very different from the Carpenters’ sound in the 70s, but the melody is strong, and so too is 16-year-old Karen’s old-before-its-time voice. The masters were destroyed in a fire at Osborn’s house in 1974, with the recording being reissued from a copy of the 45 owned by Richard. Copies of the original change hands for up to £2,000.

2. Eve 

Finally signed to A&M by Herb Alpert, the Carpenters released Offering, their first album as a duo, in 1969. A wayward collection of musically divergent numbers, with vocals shared equally by the siblings, it featured easy-listening kitsch, elevator jazz and numbers that wouldn’t have sounded out of place in the musical Hair. It was a commercial and critical flop on its initial release. There are moments that hint at what was to come, though, namely Someday, Ticket to Ride (their Lennon and McCartney tribute, which charted modestly) and Eve, a standout power ballad by Carpenter and Bettis that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on any of the future albums. The song starts with a plodding, plaintive piano and Karen’s rich alto, before she drum-rolls in and takes things up a notch. Richard’s chops as an arranger come to the fore in the second verse when his accompanying harpsichord takes the emotive ballad into the realms of baroque pop. Although it would be unfair to say Karen struggles with the higher notes, she’s clearly more at ease in the lower register – what her voice lacks in range, it makes up for in raw, demonstrative soul. Karen apparently always considered herself a drummer who sang, discovering she had a captivating voice only when a music teacher told her to try singing an octave lower.


3. (They Long to Be) Close to You


Richard’s genius as an arranger is evident on (They Long to Be) Close to You, a song offered to Alpert by Burt Bacharach, which he suggested his proteges cover because he didn’t want to sing thewords “moondust in your hair” himself. It had been recorded by the actor Richard Chamberlain and had also been a Dionne Warwick B-side from 1965. Listen to the Warwick version and you’ll notice the syncopation, featuring airy staccato plinks, rather elongates the phrasing. Richard decided to try it with a punchier, swinging groove and – voilà! – the duo had their first US No 1. Bacharach conceded that the reimagining was exactly what his song needed. Incidentally, many assume the flugelhorn solo is by Alpert, but he was unavailable and Chuck Findley was drafted in to imitate the distinctive style of the Tijuana-brass legend.

4. Rainy Days and Mondays


The Carpenters’ next big hit – We’ve Only Just Begun –started life as a bank commercial, written by A&M in-house writing team Paul Williams and Roger Nichols. Soon the Carpenters had their second million-seller and a pair of Grammys followed. The duo stuck with Williams and Nichols for 1971’s Rainy Days and Mondays, a song that showcases Karen’s gift for conveying pathos as the poster girl for suburban noir. A&M once championed the Carpenters’ “wholesome image and natural, unpretentious personalities” in a press release, and claimed their music heralded the “three Hs ... hope, happiness, harmony”. In truth, they probably channeled the fives Bs – the Beach Boys, Burt Bacharach and the Beatles – but Richard’s arrangements and Karen’s voice provided an edge not immediately apparent in the music. The combination of her rich, depressed mezzo and lyrics such as “What I’ve got they used to call the blues” combine to create a three-and-a-half-minute hit with considerable emotional heft, especially from such a folksy duo accused of peddling instant nostalgia.

5. Superstar


Of all the Carpenters songs, Superstar is the raunchiest, and possibly the most melancholic, too. Sung from the perspective of a fan – the original by Delaney and Bonnie was called Groupie (Superstar) – the implication is that the singer has either been duped or is delusional about a romantic connection with a pop idol. Certainly the chorus (“Don’t you remember you told me you loved me, baby? / You said you’d be coming back this way again, baby”) would be almost comical sung by anyone other than Karen, and the insistent “Baby, baby, baby, baby, oh, baby, I love you I really do” would add a whiff of desperation if she didn’t sound so world-weary and haunted. The track originally featured the risque line, “And I can hardly wait to sleep with you again”, which Richard changed to “be with you again”, ensuring plenty of airplay (although the suggestive “What to say to make you comeagain” stayed). The song was written by Bonnie Bramlett and Leon Russell, but it’s fair to say the Carpenters owned it with their version. Sonic Youth covered it memorably on a tribute album to the duo in 1994 called If I Were a Carpenter, although Richard is reported to have said he didn’t care for their update.

6. Goodbye to Love


Another original Carpenter/Bettis composition – the inspiration came from an imaginary song in a 1940 Bing Crosby movie, Rhythm on the River – Goodbye to Love is alluded to but we never hear it. Richard decided to write that song, featuring a lyric (“No one ever cared if I should live or die / Time and time again the chance for love has passed me by”) that wouldn’t have sounded out of place in a Smiths song. Released in 1972, it features a guitar solo from Tony Peluso that burns. Back when music made with guitar, bass and drums was considered to be the only sound of authenticity and bands were supposed to pay their dues, the Carpenters were anathema to high-minded rock fans – a vaporising solo in the middle of a pop soufflé caused much consternation then. “The start of my appreciation of the Carpenters was hearing Goodbye to Love,” wrote journalist John Tobler, “[and] what made it so astonishing for me was the guitar solo towards the end of the record, which could easily have been played by some progressive hero of the ilk of Jimmy Page or Jeff Beck.” A few years later, attitudes had changed slightly. Writing in Photograph Record, Ken Barnes said: “It’s certainly less than revolutionary to admit you like the Carpenters these days – in ‘rock’ circles, if you recall, it formerly bordered on heresy. Everybody must be won over by now.”


7. Yesterday Once More


In 1973, the duo tried to shake up the formula by bringing back Karen on drums for the album Now & Then. She hadn’t played on record since Offering, although she did play many of the pacier numbers live. As reformations go, it was hardly earth-shattering. The pair were still releasing melodic, melancholy ballads pitched at 50 beats per minute, and Yesterday Once More, with its titular nod to the past, practically acknowledged that the Carpenters were in the business of instant classics. On the single version, Karen manages to make “every shing-a-ling-ling that they’re starting to sing” sound heartbreaking, but the 18-and-a-half minute medley on the B-side of Now & Then featuring Da Doo Ron Ron, Night of a Thousand Eyes and Fun, Fun, Fun is all kinds of wrong. Yesterday Once More is reputedly Richard’s favourite self-composition and with good reason. It’s terrific, but otherwise the duo were in danger of becoming a self-parody. They took 1974 off.

8. Only Yesterday


Another day, another song with Yesterday in the title, though Only Yesterday was ambitious in scope, taking in various codas, and featuring a rhythm track that starts like a Ronettes classic and peaks in the chorus with clattering castanets. The song also starts with Karen singing from her boots, her voice climbing steadily as the song progresses. The verses explore gripes about solitude, though there’s a glimmer of hope that “baby baby / feels like maybe / things will be all right”. The track was the last Carpenter/Bettis composition to trouble the Billboard’s top 10, with Richard complaining it was “no fun writing between tours. Just real hard work ... What we did turn out did well, but we were definitely not prolific.”


9. B’wana She No Home


Stung by criticism of the band’s undercooked A Kind of Hush, which Richard later admitted was below par due to his dependence on prescription drugs, the band brought out their most experimental album Passage in 1977. It was an expansive collection of unexpected versions of other people’s songs, while production duties were again taken care of by Richard, who claimed he couldn’t get anyone else to sign on. Opener B’wana She No Home, written by jazz singer Michael Franks, was, according to one critic, “Karen trying to answer criticism that she is so white she is invisible”. While derided at the time, fresh ears suggest B’wana She No Home is a worthy addition to the Carpenters’ canon, bold and unusually danceable, with a smattering of conga and percussion to give it some pep. It’s the sound of session musicians being set free and often errs into dark places, but it always manages to remain in the vicinity of good taste.

10. Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft (The Recognised Anthem of World Contact Day)


Calling Occupants is perhaps the Carpenters’ last great triumph on single, although anyone who has never heard it before is advised to skip the first 50 seconds, which features a “comedy” skit between an extraterrestrial and a Californian disc jockey who uses the word “babe” too often. What follows though is six minutes of out-of-this-world magnificence, musically out of step as ever with what was going on in 1977, but oddly anticipating the sudden appetite for science fiction precipitated by Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Star Wars. The cover of Klaatu’s bizarre sci-fi ballad about an intergalactic intervention from an “interstellar policeman” apparently features up to 160 musicians and singers, and listening to it wax and wane and transmogrify, it’s not difficult to imagine that is indeed the case. If you can ignore the blunder at the outset, then the remaining six minutes might well be Richard Carpenter’s masterpiece. Taking the critics to heart once more, the Carpenters would never dare to be this adventurous again – a tragedy, although obviously there were worse tragedies to come.

viernes, 28 de julio de 2017

274º-She Had Only Just Begun-




Karen Carpenter: She Had Only Just Begun : Pop: New Carpenters' album features four songs from Karen's ill-fated solo collection. The album suggests she might have had a career as a soloist.

November 07, 1989|PAUL GREIN


KarenandRichard.

Those names were linked so often in the 1970s, when the Carpenters were the hottest duo in pop music, that many pop fans came to think of the pair as one.
That was fine early in the decade when the Downey brother-and-sister team was turning out instant standards such as "We've Only Just Begun" and "Close to You," but it started to bother Karen in the late 1970s when the duo's fortunes declined sharply.
In an effort to establish an independent identity at last, Karen moved to New York in 1979 to record a solo album with Grammy-winning producer Phil Ramone, whose credits include hits by Billy Joel, Paul Simon and Barbra Streisand.

But the album was never released. Instead, Karen and Richard reteamed to record a traditional Carpenters album, which failed to reverse their downward career momentum. And in 1983--after a brief, failed marriage--Karen died at 32 of complications from anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder which had plagued her since the mid '70s.

With her death, the "lost Karen tapes" became even more of a source of mystery among fans. But they remained unavailable--until now.

Four songs from that shelved 1979 album are featured--along with eight previously unreleased Carpenters recordings--on a just-released Carpenters album, "Love-lines."

The recordings--released to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Carpenters' signing with A&M Records--suggest that Karen could work effectively outside the Carpenters' mellow pop sound and could have gone on to a thriving solo career.

The big question: Why was the solo album put in limbo?

The bigger question: If the album had been released and been successful, would things have turned out differently for Karen?
The suspicion in some music industry quarters has been that Karen shelved the solo album out of loyalty to Richard, who was anxious to get back to work in 1979 after recovering from a Quaalude dependency. (Richard's dependency was revealed in CBS-TV's "The Karen Carpenter Story," the highest-rated TV movie of the 1988-89 season.)
In an interview tied to the release of the new album, Richard Carpenter, 43, was candid about the conflicts within the Carpenters in the late '70s.
"Karen would mention every now and again that it would be nice to receive some accolades as a solo singer," he said in an A&M office in Hollywood. "Of course, that made me feel badly, because we were a duo. Lord knows, she was the star of the duo, but that's not quite the same."
Richard said that he had a less-than-supportive reaction to Karen's announcement--just after he had begun a six-week drug rehabilitation program--that she was planning to record an album without him.
"I probably said something like, 'You're just abandoning ship, just taking off and doing what you want to do.' I was feeling sorry for myself," he said. "It was a combination of feeling I was being abandoned--which was anything but the case looking back on it--and thinking this was a perfect time for her to get some treatment for her disorder. So I was not happy, and I told her as much."
Richard, who produced and arranged the Carpenters' long string of hits, also acknowledged that he felt threatened by Karen's teaming up with another producer.
"I'm human and it did cross my mind that something could come out of this and just explode at which time I would be going through a number of emotions. I'd be happy for Karen because I always felt that she should have been in the Top 5. On the other hand, being sensitive and feeling I'd done a good job for the Carpenters I would have been a little bit upset."
In a separate interview from his New York office, producer Phil Ramone discussed his and Karen's objective on the album. "We were thinking two things: How do we make a record that doesn't sound like the Carpenters, and what could we say lyrically in these songs that has a more mature attitude?"
The solo album included a spare, intimate reading of the sexually direct "Make Believe It's Your First Time" and a bluesy version of Paul Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years"--though Karen, mindful of her prim image--had Simon change the line, "4 in the morning / crapped out / yawning" to the more demure "crashed out."
"Karen was frustrated by the Goody Two-Shoes image, but she was torn," Ramone said. "She wanted to do try new things, but then she'd turn around and say, 'We're going to do another Carpenters Christmas special.' I kept saying, 'The (Andy) Williams family even got past that one.' "
Ramone still remembers the day in early 1980 when he and Karen played the album for Richard and A&M founders Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss.
"The silence was deafening," he said. "Richard didn't say much and still hasn't. He's accepted these songs kind of like stepchildren. Karen was always the sweetheart of A&M, and Herb and Jerry reacted almost like it was their teen-age daughter I was messing with."