on 14 January 2005
My review can not do justice to what I have just heard and seen! But I can try and describe it to you - and hope I do it justice.
First some preamble....Whenever I listen to anything by the Carpenters, I shed a little tear. Friday, 4 February 1983 was the day the world of music lost a truly great star. If I were Superman, I would want to reverse time to a few years before she died, to stop her from starting on the road to apparent self-destruction....but I'm not Superman, just a mere mortal who loved this group and lament the passing of a great voice.
Anyway, onto the package! The first CD is GOLD - the single 20-song set of the Carpenters' hits. The second CD is Christmas Portrait, their first Christmas album. The DVD is really the video "Only Yesterday".
I had all three in original format. So why did I buy this box set? Just as some climbers climb Everest - because it is there! The box-set is there to be bought and if, like me, you are a passionate, obsessive Carpenters fan, you have to have the latest release.
Karen Carpenter looked fantastic for most of her short life (until she became too thin!). She ALWAYS sounded fantastic - for me, she had (still has) one of the greatest singing voices the popular music world has ever been lucky and privileged to hear. Richard Carpenter was a brilliant pianist, arranger and a darn good composer. Between them - and with a superb set of backing musicians - they produced the most glorious music I have ever heard.
If you know the Carpenters, you know the music. You will also know the videos - unashamedly cheesey in places and slightly dated in the way Karen lip-syncs the words and holds the microphone in her left hand. The clothes also run the gamut from 1969 to 1982 - a lot of different styles.
For me, the best track on the hits CD is "Close To You". In my humble opinion, it is the best ever debut single ever to hit the UK charts ("Ticket To Ride" was issued earlier in the States but later in the UK, I think), but the other 19 are all wonderful. I don't have a favourite on the Christmas CD - I just wish "Do You Hear What I Hear" from the "Old Fashioned Christmas" album was included). My favourite video on the DVD is "Beechwood 4-5789", a surprise song selection, but a major pleasure.
All in all, this is a fantastc purchase, which all Carpenters fans should have. I also recommend this to anyone who wants to know what good songs sound like when song well.
Although Richard put it all together, Karen was the face and the voice of the Carpenters - and her voice will never stop being heard.