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4.7 out of 5 stars133
4.7 out of 5 stars
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
During the seventies, the Carpenters had considerable success in the pop charts on both sides of the Atlantic with their brand of pop music. Richard's expert arrangements and Karen's superb voice combined to create something special.
They recorded plenty of original songs but some of their biggest hits were covers. Close to you is a Bacharach-David song, originally recorded by Dionne Warwick, but her version was not released as a single. Please Mr Postman was a huge American success for the Marvelettes (and was covered by the Beatles on one of their early albums). Jambalaya is an old Hank Williams song, while Ticket to ride is a Beatles classic.
Of the original songs, Top of the world was never originally intended to be a single. However, Lynn Anderson covered the song and had a major country hit with it. She might have had a pop hit, too, but the Carpenters wisely decided to release their own version.
The strangest song here is Calling occupants of interplanetary craft. Whether you like it or not, it demonstrates that Richard and Karen were always trying to do something different.
There are so many classics here including For all we know, We've only just begun, Rainy days and Mondays, Goodbye to love, Only yesterday, Yesterday once more and I won't last a day without you. You can't get all the great Carpenters songs on a single CD but the songs here are all excellent. Among the omissions are Hurting each other, Sweet sweet smile and All you get from love is a love song, but if those were included, others would have to be left out.
If you only want a single CD of Carpenters music, this is a good one to choose.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 11 June 2004
For me, Karen Carpenter had one of the greatest voices popular music has ever heard - and she could play drums with the best. Richard Carpenter was no slouch, either. He could write, was a brilliant pianist and could arrange a piece of music like a magician.
So there were too squeeky clean for some people's tastes, but not mine! Their music came at a good time - between the Beatles and the beginnings of punk. Although there was a lot of other good music around, they shone like a bright beacon.
So after the positioning of their music, how can this review do justice to their music?
Well, these are the songs which made them famous, which demonstrate why they were seen as perfectionists in what they did and what they expected from the backing band - all brilliant musicians. The 20 tracks are wonderfully arranged and sung with such clarity and beauty that knowing that Karen appears to been a troubled person no only makes them all the more wonderful, but also poignant. They seem to fit Karen personality perfectly and she sounds as if she is living the words of a lot of the songs.
Another reviewer has suggested that the track order could have been different, and I agree with that a chronological order would have been my preference, but that does not detract from what is a wonderful collection of music.
I would also like to congratulate those involved in the production of the booklet. The accounts written by John Tobler are right on the money and gives a full account of the Carpenters careers and there is a lot of good information about each track.
All carpenters fans will have their favourites, but "Close To You" is the best debut song I have ever heard and is not bettered here, but I can't choose between all 20, as I love them all.
So, in conclusion, a wonderful collection of Carpenters music and a bonus in the well put-together booklet. Value for money was never this valuable.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 4 September 2002
There is nothing cool about liking the Carpenters. They are one of the squarest bands in history. Even Karen's tragic death isn't really very rock & roll. This doesn't change the fact that they were responsible for some of the most beautiful pop music ever, and this disc has a pretty good selection of that music. Sure they can be twee, as with 'Sing' and their sickly version of 'Please Mr Postman', but songs like 'Goodbye to Love' & 'I Need to be in Love' make up for this by just being so heartbreakingly gorgeous. In Richard and Karen's hands, 'We've Only Just Begun' transforms from a saccharine advertising jingle into something truly inspiring, while 'Close to You' changes from a so-so Bacharach and David number to a song that retains its spine-tingling loveliness despite being so over-used everywhere.
'Lovely' is the word that really sums up the Carpenters' music. Karen possessed one of the most uniquely haunting voices there will ever be, and it is destined to live forever. For me the most wonderful moments here are 'Superstar', with its irresistible sing-along chorus, and 'Rainy Days and Mondays', which sums up the experience of depression better than any song I've heard. And as for 'Calling Occupants', well what better greeting could we give to extra-terrestrials than the sound of Karen Carpenter? Sheer magic. Buy it.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 23 January 2001
I bought this CD because it reminded me of the early and mid-70's. The music of the Carpenters was the first I'd ever heard and had quite an impact on me. This is pop music as it should be. Simple, catchy, memorable tunes that can be uplifting and moving. You'd be hard pressed to find an equal to the Carpenters in the charts these days. There's a refreshing innocence reflected in this music, although many of the tracks are tinged with a deep, underlying sadness. There's something for everyone here. If you are familiar with The Carpenter's then treat yourself to some classic songs. If you've never heard them before, then get a taste of what you've been missing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 May 2010
The Carpenters were even more panned by the musical press than ABBA. Squeaky clean (they weren't), establishment friendly and popular. Everything the music journalists hated - or said they did.

The Carpenter siblings were a perfect blend. Richard's musical arrangements and song writing just fused with one of the best female vocalist ever. As far as I'm concerned the only female singer to compare with Karen is Dusty Springfield. They had the ability to wring every drop of emotion out of a song and do it in a subtle way. No bellowing or screaming.

Carpenters Gold couldn't be a better way to introduce anyone to their music. Yesterday Once More, Superstar (one of my favourites), Rainy Days and Mondays, Top Of The World, the smash hit Yesterday. Burt Bacharach's Close To You - yes very very cheesy and rather sickly, but so what? Solitaire is another favourite of mine. Perhaps this is the song that document's Karen's wonderful voice the most.

There are a few not so good inclusions, namely Jamalaya, a dodgy cover of Ticket To Ride and Sing. But on the whole this is a very strong compilation.

It has been said that Richard was jealous of the attention Karen got as he felt the didn't get the credit he should have. As Dave Hill of Slade told Noddy Holder and Jim Lea who wrote the songs " You write the music. I sell it". The same could be said of Karen.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 8 November 2012
I still possess my original purchase of this album on vinyl. But what I no longer possess is the necessary equipment on which to play it!

It was whilst watching a biopic documentary shown recently on tv, chronicling the tragically short life of Karen Carpenter, that I was reminded of just what a truly special voice she had ; and what in their day might perhaps have seemed cheesey pop tunes are now more a major contribution to the world of song, recorded (fortunately) for posterity. The very next day I downloaded this fine collection in mp3 format, and I now have ready access to much of the musical legacy of The Carpenters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is probably one of the best compilations of the Carpenter's songs I've yet come across.

The final, and longest, track - 'Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft' - is very, very different from the remainder of the album, and, as another reviewer has noted, shows that Richard and Karen were always prepared to experiment, to try something different.

Listen and enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 February 2013
What a joy to hear Karen Carpenter's lovely voice again. She made a recent car journey a pleasant experience. A real 'golden oldie. She is such a loss. Reading the material that came with the CD, was interesting. I learned so much more about her brother, who was such a talented guy, but let his sister take all the praise.
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on 28 November 2012
A basically 'competent Silver Surfer', I purchased some 'media' material for my son and, to my surprise, was awarded a small credit against an mp3 download. My wife has an mp3 player which makes the household chores flow better, so I thought "Why not". A wide selection of musical tastes to choose from but I came across this 'very easy listening' in the first page or so. Apart from having to download on of those 'download installer' programmes, the whole process was realatively quick and easy.
With the bonus deducted I picked up a classic album of 20 'full' tracks of fabulous music from right at the top of its genre for, literally, just pennies.
These are almost all readilly identifiable titles, beautifully reproduced, of real 'chill out and relax' music.
If you want a bit of quiet time, to get away from the noise of pop and beat music, this is the perfect album to calm the soul.
Very highly recommended
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on 27 March 2014
It's been so many years since I last heard any of the tracks on this album, the first track bringing a tear to my eye! The production alone on this excellent album is worth buying if only for the production alone which is absolutely superb!! All or most of the tracks bring back so many good memories to me too, I'm just glad I was around when these tracks were first released, way back in the day! So to music lovers anywhere if you wish to hear what I believe is fantastic music? this album is a must for anyone's collection!
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