Carpenters Gold (CD) [2 Discs]
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251 of 258 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2004
This is the strongest Carpenters collection available. All of the hits, including, FINALLY, the single version of "Solitaire" on a domestic collection! The album cuts are well chosen, with such old favorites as "Let Me Be The One" and "A Song For You" holding their own against the singles. There's also a few previously unreleased efforts, most notably "The Rainbow Connection." At 40 tracks, it easily surpasses their previous double-disker (released at different times under the names CLASSICS and YESTERDAY ONCE MORE) which only contained 27 songs. My only regret is that Richard continues to tinker with the hits, altering classics that were more than fine in the first place. The biggest offenders are "Maybe It's You" which sounds radically different from the gorgeous, stark version found on their CLOSE TO YOU album and "Hurting Each Other," whose additional, lusher background vocals slightly deaden its highly dramatic impact. Fortunately, Richard cannot alter the Carpenters' biggest asset, which is Karen's one of a kind voice. It continues to haunt and tingle the spine 35 years later. Listed below is the lineup with the changes Richard has made to the recordings. You can still get the original versions on their respective albums.
DISC 1:
1. Superstar (additional recording in 1985, remixed in 1991)
2. Rainy Days And Mondays (1985 remix)
3. Top Of The World (1991 remix)
4. Maybe It's You (additional recording and remixed in 1990)
5. Let Me Be The One (original)
6. Reason To Believe (1987 remix)
7. Jambalaya (On The Bayou) (1991 Remix)
8. Leave Yesterday Behind (previously unreleased)
9. Your Baby Doesn't Love You Anymore (original)
10. Bless The Beasts And Children (1991 remix)
11. It's Going To Take Some Time (additonal recording and remix in 1989)
12. Rainbow Connection, The previously unreleased)
13. Only Yesterday (original)
14. Sweet, Sweet Smile (original)
15. There's A Kind Of Hush (1985 with some synth parts removed)
16. California Dreamin' (previously unreleased)
17. Solitaire (original single mix)
18. We've Only Just Begun (1985 remix)
19. This Masquerade (1990 remix)
20. Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft (1989 remix)

DISC 2:
1. Yesterday Once More (1985 remix)
2. Please Mr. Postman (1991 remix)
3. Hurting Each Other (1991 remix)
4. I Need To Be In Love (1990 remix)
5. Merry Christmas, Darling (1978 version)
6. Close To You (They Long To Be) (original single version)
7. All You Get From Love Is A Love Song (original)
8. Sing (1994 remix)
9. Make Believe It's Your First Time (original)
10. Ticket To Ride (1973 re-record first released on The Singles 1969-1973 lp)
11. Goodbye To Love (additional recording and remix 1985)
12. I Just Fall In Love Again (original)
13. I Believe You (original)
14. Tryin' To Get The Feeling Again (original)
15. For All We Know (additional recording and remix 1990)
16. Touch Me When We're Dancing (original)
17. I Won't Last A Day Without You (1991 remix)
18. Mr. Guder (1990 remix)
19. Song For You, A (additional recording and remix in 1987)
20. Karen's Theme (original)
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104 of 114 people found the following review helpful
Just listening to the samples of this new remix of "GOLD:35th Anniversary Edition ~ The Carpenters" I found it to be in my opinion sadly remixed very badly. Certainly not a tribute to the excellent talent Of Karen Carpenter and Richard as well. I wonder what Richard was thinking when he remixed these songs? As another review noticed and I agree with, is the bass on some is so loud it almost drowns out the pure excellence of Karen's deep resounding truly perfect voice. This is not a CD you want to get if you really want to appreciate the true pure sound of The Carpenters. The older CDs (if still in production or if you can find them used) "Carpenters Classics 25th Anniversary" a 2 CD disc 98:04 minute Collection remastered digitally, is a much better pick. Especially for those who remember The Carpenters when Karen was still alive and the original arrangements were nothing to mess with. The other CD's worth finding of The Carpendters especially if you like the Talent of Karen's deep resounding perfect voice, would be The CD "Voice Of The Heart" This is a hautingly beautiful collection of Love songs by Karen who lets each song touch your Heart and Soul making you feel as if you were right there as she sings each song. The other one I would highly recommend, if Christmas is your Holiday, would be "Carpenters Christmas Portrait"... "Special Edition digital version....Celebrating 70 continuious minutes of the Seasons best..." with Karen and Richard. There are 34 Carpenters songs as timeless as their sound,and 11 performances heard on this Holiday CD for the first time. These CDs are all the songs you fell in love with the first time you heard Karen sing. These are the arrangements so beautifully done with her and Richard. This new remix maybe OK if you have not been familiar with how wonderful the original songs The Carpenter's recorded and later remastered-Not Remixed- sounded. For this reason I give this 35th Anniversary remix a 2 star rating. These older CDs are how The Carpenders really won over their fans, took the Music Industry by storm and gave a generation of Music lovers reason to Love The Carpenders music and the sound they gave each song. Talent that can still win over anyone who truly appreciates the timeless talents only The Carpenters could deliver. As I more or less said in my Title for this review and taken from an old saying "if it ain't broke don't fix it!" or in this case Don't Remix it!
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74 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2004
Back in the late 60's, the sister and brother duo consisting of Richard and Karen Carpenter, known as The Carpenters were one of the seventies best loved groups. Their first hit "Ticket To Ride" (a Beatles hit), released in 1969 did moderately well for their label A&M, but it wasn't until 1970 that the song "(They Long To Be) Close To You" shot straight up the charts to number one followed a few months later with another hit "We've Only Just Begun". The following year produced yet more hits for The Carpenters with "Superstar", "Rainy Days And Mondays" and "For All We Know", establishing The Carpenters as one of the most popular groups of the early seventies. Throughout the decade the hits continued and The Carpenters had accumulated 10 gold singles and 11 gold albums in the United States. This 2-cd "Gold: 35th Anniversary Edition" includes all their great hits such as the above mentioned songs as well as "Only Yesterday", "Please Mr. Postman", "There A Kind Of A Hush (All Over The World)", "Top Of The World", "Yesterday Once More", and a rare version of "California Dreaming" (originally a hit for The Mamas & Papas) as well as a remake of the Canadian rock group Klatuu's "Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft" plus many more (40 songs total). This collection has been remastered and remixed and sounds great, the clarity of the instruments and vocals is astonishing. Also, included is a ten page booklet with a few colorful photos and a song by song breakdown and explanation by Richard Carpenter himself. Sadly, Karen Carpenter passed away in 1983 at age 32 and the world lost one of music's most gifted and beautiful voices ever. If you enjoyed the great music the seventies gave us from artists such as The Carpenters, Bread and Three Dog Night to name just a few, then this collection is a must have.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2006
I own many CDs. Most fall somewhere in the rock/metal genre, and I'm very picky about what I keep and listen to. I don't normally listen to Adult Contemporary (or Classic, in this case) because it just doesn't appeal to me. And yet...there was this song that kept playing in my head for all these years, even through the Triumph phase, the hair metal phase, the shred metal guitarist phase, the Dream Theater phase, up to recently: "We've Only Just Begun." How can a guy who spins Pantera regularly come to terms with this luscious 70s-pop tune that won't stop playing in my mind? For years, I resisted. This is what my parents liked when they were in their 20s; this couldn't be anything I could relate to, could it? I was metal to the core - okay, with a lot of other styles complicating my tastes, but it's mostly about the metal - and yet there was this one song that just wouldn't let go.

It's called a "hook", and this collection is a master class in crafting hooks. And some of these songs aren't exactly pop, either; there's old-school country styling here, and some semi-Latin tastes, and other stuff I can't even pin down. To tell the truth, I don't even know the song titles because I just keep playing these CDs over and over. Between Karen's honey-smoked voice and Richard's virtuostic arrangements, I can't pull this collection from the CD player. Here I am, waiting impatiently for Queensryche's sequel to "Operation: Mindcrime" and Symphony X's follow-up to "The Odyssey," yet this is the CD set I keep repeating. It's weird. It almost feels unnatural. And yet, this music touches a part of me, a sensual caress that makes me shiver in ways no distorted artificial harmonic could.

This is music that needs to be re-discovered and re-distributed. Some of the parts are dated, yes, and I understand that Richard remixed and even re-recorded parts of these songs after Karen's death, so maybe purists won't be satisfied with this collection. But I'm not writing for the long-time fans, I'm writing for people like me, people who wonder whether it's worth buying 40 songs that definitely show their age. Maybe you, like me, only knew a couple of songs by name; they were pretty, but you weren't sure whether you could stomach much more. Yes, you can. These songs are amazing - magical, golden, and deeply satisfying. If you want your music to reach more emotions than modern pop (or rock/metal) can, this is the collection you need to buy. This is great, great music sung by the greatest voice you'll ever hear.

I love this collection and I'm very pleased I bought it. I honestly think anyone who can listen with an open mind will find all kinds of material to love here, too.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2004
I do not listen to foreign songs very much, but Carpentars is a few foreign artists that I listen like Simon and Garfunkel.
The chance that I met Carpentars was Japanese TV drama a few years ago. In the TV drama Carpentars songs was used. By the voice that I listen with ease and beautiful melody line, I liked Carpentars songs.
I feel that pop musics are likely to be out of date as time goes by, but the songs like Capentars have universal melodies therefore even if time goes by, the wonderful things will not change.
Because I am young man, off course I do not know about Carpentars of those days. I do not know why, but I feel the nostalgia when listen to their songs. Their songs include many nostalgic things as let me long for.
I heared that the vocal of Capentars died of anorexia. But to but it the other way around, I think that she could write the dericate and honest words.
Anyway, when I am troubled I listen to their songs. Their songs have mysterious charms that are cured me.
Thank you for reading poor English.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
There are many who are a lot bigger fans of the Carpenters than I. However, Karen Carpenter's voice has always been captivating to me. It is rare to find such a low voice that is so clear and soft and even rarer to find one in the pop realm that usually favors very high and loud voices. So, I was walking through Target, saw this, remembered her voice and decided to buy it to see how well the songs have aged.

This collection has forty songs on two disks and was put together to celebrate the 35th anniversary of their signing with A&M. Karen was only 32 when she died of Anorexia Nervosa in 1983. What a loss.

So, how do does the music hold up? Very well indeed. While all the Carpenter songs are quite mellow by today's standards, and everything seems no louder or more intense than mezzo forte and the tempi tend to hang around a nice walking andante, there is also a surprising variety of songs. Happy, sad, silly, hopeful, even dark are all here. Karen has a real subtlety in the way she delivers lyrics. She also makes all that she sings sound effortless. You can prove it to yourself by trying to sing along with her. You will find yourself making all kinds of mistakes that she avoids without strain. One of her gifts was to make it sound so easy.

Her brother, Richard, is also a much better arranger than I remembered. If you listen closely you will realize that he has put together some very rich charts. Compared to the commercial music of today he comes across as a monster talent, actually. In a pre-synthesizer age, he used orchestral instruments in a lavish way for pop music. His ear for timbre is very good and he showcased Karen's voice perfectly. His own singing is usually limited to multi-track support. It is good, but not in her league. Together they are the Carpenters. Neither would have been so able to use their gifts to such fame and success without the other.

Richard provides an introductory essay and very interesting notes about each of the numbers. You will have your own favorites. If you have not heard the Carpenters before, you owe yourself this treat. In any case, it is hard to capture what this music sounded like when it was new. Richard notes that the fuzzy guitar on "Goodbye to Love" actually got him hate mail for selling out and going "hard rock". I remember how shocking that sound was back then. It sounds nothing but beautiful today.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon July 22, 2005
The duo of Richard and Karen Carpenter began their professional music career in 1969 with the release of "Offering", and ended with "As Time Goes By" in 2004. In the 35 years between, they produced some of the most beautiful music ever recorded and were the number one "soft-pop" group of the seventies. All their hits are here on this double CD album, all the favorites that are instantly recognizable as Carpenter music.

The Carpenters have released many greatest hits albums, but this is the best of their best. If you have never owned a Carpenter album and want the best sample of their most popular music, then this is the album for you. You will love it - guaranteed.

Jim Konedog Koenig
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2004
35 years after they released their first single, the legacy of Karen and Richard Carpenter remains one of the greatest success stories (with nearly a dozen gold albums and singles, 3 number one pop hits, 9 other top 10 hits, and 17 consecutive top 2 hits on the "Easy Listening" chart, including 7 number ones in a row) and ultimate tragedy in pop music history. After Karen's untimely passing at the age of 32 in 1983, many hits collections have come out, claiming to be tributes to them but are really just easy ways of getting money by cashing in on a timeless body of work. This left many fans feeling cheated, and in 2003 Richard decided to solve this problem by releasing "Carpenters Gold", a 2 - disc set with 40 tracks, including 3 that were never released. The result would've made Karen proud.

Dis 1 is a nice mix of classic hits and album cuts. Aside from the obvious "Superstar" (a great choice for the opener), "Rainy Days And Mondays", "Top Of The World", "Only Yesterday" and "We've Only Just Begun", key album cuts like "Let Me Be The One", "Jambalaya (On The Bayou)", "This Masquerade" and "Reason To Believe" are surprisingly strong additions. There's some sort of irony in them recording "Reason To Believe", and I'd like to share it with you.

"Reason To Believe" is a contemporary folk classic written by Tim Hardin (best known for writing "If I Were A Carpenter"). In 1970, The Carpenters recorded it for their "Close To You" album. A year later, they released "Superstar" as a single. "Superstar" peaked at number 2 on the Hot 100. It was kept from getting to number ne by Rod Stewart's "Maggie Mae". The other half of Stewart's single was none other than his own version of "Reason To Believe".

The three unreleased tracks are a great treat. First, there's "Leave Yesterday Behind". It's musically a rewrite of "For All We Know" but it has great lyrics sung flawlesly by Karen and I think that had this song been a single circa 1971 it would have been a huge hit. "The Rainbow Connection" became famous for its inclusion in 1979's "The Muppet Movie", sung there by Kermit The Frog. Karen's performance is flawless, and the msuic and lyrics are hopeful and happy. "California Dreamin'" is a cover of the Mamas And The Papas hit. It was recorded in 1967 while the duo was signed to the ill - fated Magic Lamp record label. Karen was only 17 when she recorded this, but her voice's range seems too mature for her someone this young. I personally think that Karen is the greatest female singer of our time.

Some fans complain about Richard adding to the original recordings. I say, don't complain. Richard obviously cares for his work and cares for his fans. He wanted the fans to have a nice listening experience with these songs. If you don't like what he did to them, get the vinyl out.

Disc 2 is where the hits get their due; "(They Long To Be) Close To You", "Please Mr. Postman", "Goodbye To Love", "For All We Know", "Hurting Each Other", "Sing", "Yesterday Once More" and "I Won't Last A Day Without You" make up the bulk of the disc. Still some great lesser - heard tracks are here. The original "feminine" version of "Tryin' To Get The Feeling Again" easily equals if not buries the "masculine" hit version by Barry Manilow. "I Believe You" is a beautiful love song while Karen's original version of "I Just Fall In Love Again" easily beats the Anne Murray version by a long shot. Their last top 40 hit, 1981's "Touch Me When We're Dancing", showcases the band's harmonies very well. "I Need To Be In Love" was Karen's personal favorite, and you can tell. She gives it her all here, as if she thinks it will be the last song she'll evr sing again. "Mr. Guder" is the group's only anti - love song (with the exception of the also included, more upbeat "All You Get From Love Is A Love Song") with a mystical flute and a somewhat menacing Karen vocal. "Song For You" is a lovely album vcut, and the closing "Karen's Theme" shows that as a composer, Richard still has it.

There are a few songs I would've loved to see here, like their cover of The Eagles' "Desperado", their original version of Barry Manilow's "Can't Smile Without You", the oldies medley from "Now And Then" and the Richard - sung "I Kept On Loving You". But you can't complain about what's here. Also included is a great booklet filled with pictures, an essay by Richard and stories of eachs ong told by Richard. I really suggest this album as well as their studio albums.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
This cd's only flaw is that it's not done chronologically, as it would have helped new Carpenters fans find it easier to trace the group's legacy. But when one overlook that one major mistake, what's here is 2 great cds of timeless music from the greatest duo in pop music history (in my opinion).
Disc 1 is easily the more intriguing of the two discs. While it features a few big hits like "Superstar", "Rainy Days And Mondays" and "Top Of The World", it mostly features obscure tracks and previously unreleased material. Among the goodies are a 1967 recording of "California Dreamin' featuring a haunting vocal by Karen, the "Star Wars" - inspired "Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft (The Recognized Anthem Of World Contact Day)", and the stirring "Your Baby Doesn't Love You Anymore" (from the 1983 posthumous release "Voice Of The Heart"). My favorite song on this disc is the 1976 hit "There's A Kind Of Hush (All Over The World)". This version easily buries Herman's Hermits' original version. And am I the only one who tears up when I hear "We've Only Just Begun"?
Disc 2 contains all of the big hits. Here's where you'll find "Yesterday Once More", "Hurting Each Other", "Sing", "Goodbye To Love" and, of course, "(They Long To Be) Close To You". Also included a few more obscure numbers that I enjoyd just as much like "All You Get From Love Is A Love Song", "I Need To Be In Love" (Karen's favorite) and "Tryin' To Get The Feeling Again" (their version buries the top 10 hit version by Barry Manilow, who had the lyrics altered for his recording). Also included the stirring instrumental "Karen's Theme", from the 1989 tv movie "The Karen Carpenter Story", as well as a track on his 1997 solo album "Pianist, Arranger, Composer, Conductor". What's best about these cds is that aside from continuing show that Karen was the best female singer of her era, it shows that she was an amazing drummer, a talent of hers that remains underrated (that and her dazzling beauty).
This set leaves nothing out (there a are few low - charting latterday singles like "Goofus" and "Beachwood 4 - 195789" missing, but they are not that important). Also, Richard Carpenter provides For good, old - fashioned pop music that will surely brighten your day, pick this cd up today.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2004
"Carpenters Gold: 35th Anniversary Edition" (2004) commemorates the thirty five years that have elapsed since Karen and Richard first signed to A&M Records. This 40 track compilation includes deceptively simple and addictive hits like "Please Mr Postman", "Top of the World" and "Sing" (who would dare to mine a song from Sesame Street?) and a remarkably varied selection of covers, including the Beatles' "Ticket to Ride", Barry Manilow's "Trying to Get the Feeling Again", Klaatu's "Calling Occupants (of Interplanetary Craft)", Neil Sedaka's "Solitaire', Herman's Hermit's "There's A Kind of Hush", and Hank Williams' "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)".
Also included for the first time are their endearing version of the Muppet's "Rainbow Connection," written by long-time Carpenters compatriot Paul Williams, a beatnik cover of the Mamas and the Papas "California Dreaming", with vocals recorded in 1967, and instrumentation added to complete the track in 1999, and their modern Christmas classic, "Merry Christmas Darling".

In between are all the hits: "Rainy Days and Mondays", "Superstar", "We've Only Just Begun", "(They Long to Be) Close to You", "Hurting Each Other," "Goodbye to Love", "Bless the Beasts and the Children"; the undisputed pop classics that have become a part of Americana, the songs that made the Carpenters one of the most popular recording groups of the seventies.
Karen Carpenter's own tragic story of life and love is heartbreaking, and adds to the mythology of the catalog. She was blessed with a distinctive and pure voice, one of the treasures of the era, and an uncompromising ability to express both unbridaled joy and devastating heartbreak. Richard's daunting role was to harness and direct this energy, to place this sparkling gem in a perfect setting; he did so with layers and layers of lush vocal harmonies, unique and flawless instrumentation, and perfect arrangements, giving the Carpenters a distinctive and timeless sound.
1975's "Only Yesterday" is arguably their musical and commercial peak, defining the Carpenters magic. Deceptively rich, emotionally brutal, but unequivocably honest, Karen's perfect pitch nails every note; the sly ache and soaring wonder in her voice, the richness of the multi-tracked vocals, the exuberance of the instrumentation, and the signature key change going into the last chorus wrap up a perfectly produced package.
- Rod Reynolds Los Angeles February 2004 ©2004 The Art Dept LA
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