"From the Top" is a Treasure of Carpenter Music
James Koenig | Minnesota | 06/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""From the Top" is a 4-CD collection of all the Carpenters top musical hits and many other little heard rarities. If you are a Carpenters fan (like me!), you already have their greatest hits, and perhaps have all or many of their albums. What's great about this set is that it offers more than just the hits. On the first CD, we are treated to the Carpenter's earliest efforts to break into the music industry. Here we hear a sound quite different from the unique layered vocal sound that came to define Richard Carpenter's arrangements for the Carpenters. Karen's young voice does not have the mature emotional inflection that characterized her later work. Song by song we hear the distictive Carpenter sound develop.
Disc Two is a collection of all the great Carpenter hits, the songs of their prime. Included on this disc is a track of Karen singing the song "Sing" in Spanish. Her diction is remarkable considering she did not speak spanish! There is also a humorous track of outtakes in the making of the "Yesterday Once More" radio medley.
Disc Three has three tracks of TV/radio commercials the Carpenters did in Japan and the United States. I doubt that anyone in the US has heard the japan commercials. There are also four tracks taken from their popular Christmas albums.
The final disc has the better cuts from Karen's solo album, and cuts from Made In America. Two gems are found on this disc, these being the Medley of five songs from the TV special "Music, Music, Music, where Karen's rendition and interpretation of "Someday" is simply superb. One can sense the hearkache in her voice as she sings this tender song about a woman who is not ready to make a total committment to her love/lover. The final gen is Karen's "Now", a touching love song about a woman who at long-last finds love. The song is a studio work lead, which was so flawless that Richard later added the orchestration and made it into Karen's final recording. The song was originally released on the "Voice of the Heart" album.
For each disc there is an excellent song by song narrative written by Richard Carpenter which gives information about the song, pictures of the Carpenters, and credits. There are numerous color pictures that supplement the narrative.
For those unfamiliar with the Carpenters, this is an excellent introduction to the beautiful music the duo produced in the 1970's. For die-hard Carpenter fans, this is another "MUST" album. I have had the album for over 10 years and still listen to it regularly. It is a treasure of Carpenter music."
Does it get any better than this ??
Geoff Hall | Borehamwood, UK | 06/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"67 tracks and just about all your favourites are there ... and then some.This is a fantastic collection starting out with Karen's giggle on the opener "Caravan", going through the early Karen singles (which are fabulous) to the cringe-making interview with Sam Riddle (was he for real?), past the "Yesterday Once More" melody, via a couple of jingles and finishing with a couple of tracks from Karen's solo album to the poignant "Now". Wonderful arrangements, intrumentally brilliant and with perhaps the greatest voice of the popular music era.The Carpenters were always my favourite band and probably will be till the day I die (and hopefully meet up with Karen in a better place - if it exists).All Carpenters fans should go and buy this, even if they have everything else. Sensational - and, to answer my own question - no, it doesn't get any better than this."
I'm on top of the world....
Eric Moore | Ft. Worth, Texas | 11/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Superb!!! I had been a Carpenters fan ever since my cousion intoduced me to them. She wanted me to see the "Karen Carpenter Story". I was amazed what they went through. In front of the spotlight they were viewed as goody goody, but behind the spotlight a more darker "leagues" haunted the two. After seeing the KCS, I was on a mission to collect all that albums and them some. To this day, I have heard most everything they released at least once. I remember hearing part of "I'll Be Yours". A song that I never heard the full version until I got this collection. I think that everything that Richard touches, musically, turns to gold. Then Karen would make it sound 10,000 times better! In the KCS, A referall is made to Karen's voice in the fact that she has a 1 in a million voice. I think it is 1 in a trillion. She is my altime favorate female singer of all time. Geting back to the collection. One review, on Vol 2 mentioned that the song "My Boddy Keeps Changing My Mind", was not included in that set. Well, back in the day when Richard went to rehab, Karen went "solo". Richard told Karen not to do disco. As it turned out, I would think Karen wanted to try her hand at the music type. I agree that there are to many Christmas tracks. Merry Christmas, Darling is a Carpenters staple. After its appeal to Christmas songs, I am glad it was added to the Christmas canon. It seemed the song was written for Karen and Karen alone. I have heard other versions of "Darling" and it does not have that same sparkle. Speaking of Christmas songs I think "Do You Hear What I hear?" is very much a treasure that seems to be very much ignored. This collection can be for beginner Carpenter Fan. However, an avid loyal fan would get much more benifit out of hearing the remixes, and the different changes made by Richard. Thus making those songs like hearing them for the first time. I have read on a web site, that there are some out-takes, and uncompleated songs in the A/M valts that needs to be released. If anything make it sound like the 4th disc on the "ABBA Thank You For The Music" 4 disc special realease. Where the Swedish four were in the studio and just playing around with songs and having a good time. The track lasted 11 minuts. Just a side note for all you ABBA fans. Of course they are talking Swidish but all the same good fun!! Back to "ToP" Seeing TV specials make it to DVD, would be a real treat!! Richard if you are reading this, I would buy all of them!
Back to this collection, the liner notes are superb, and the tracks are very crisp and clear. It would very much be a must to add to your music collection.