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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 26 April 2005
Karen Carpenter died on 4th February 1983 and, although the phrase "sadly missed" is overused and often misused, in her case it is absolutely justified. Her distinctive, liquid-golden-honeyed vocals, all-American but always crystal clear, backed by brother Richard's lush arrangements and orchestrations, graced the world's singles and album charts for most of the 1970s, serving as a melodic counterpoint to some of the excesses of the pop and rock industry's output at the time. It was easy listening par excellence - and, oddly, there has never been anything quite like them since.
There can be little argument that the twenty tracks on this collection are the best-selling or most popular of their songs. They are scheduled somewhat randomly, but at least putting the twee Sesame Street anthem, "Sing", before the finale of Klaatu's "Calling Occupants..." gives things a satisfactory sense of ending.
Three of the tracks are marked "1991 remix" - in truth, a lot of the other tracks have also been remixed at various times since their original release, as Richard, presumably at a loose end after Karen's death, couldn't resist tinkering with them. Fortunately no harm has been done, and you'd have to be a Carpenters "trekkie" to notice any differences.
It is difficult to imagine that there can be a household that doesn't already have a copy of this collection, in this or one of its several earlier releases, but if there is then this is still the one to get.
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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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VINE VOICEon 28 September 2007
with Karen's rich, sweet as honey voice and Richard's talent for arranging this duo were unbeatable in their day and still are. Sadly, All was not as well as it appeared in their songs and with the death of Karen, a true female legend died. all the great songs are here, from the joyous 'top of the world' to the bitter sweet 'I need to be in love' , the spine tingling 'goodbye to love' (makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end) the amusing 'Calling occupants of interplanetary craft'
The very romantic 'we've only just begun' and the ever so slightly moody 'Rainy days and Mondays' the brillaintly uplifting 'close to you and the oh so sad 'Superstar'are all included on this wonderful album. So, while the story may not have ended happily you can listen to this and recall the legacy Karen left.
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Karen Carpenter probably had the richest, sweetest voice in pop. Many compilations are labelled "timeless" or "classic" and in this is certainly true in the case of Carpenters Gold.

Karen's voice does send shivers down the spine, particularly on tracks such as "Superstar" and "We've Only Just Begun". Richard's contribution shouldn't be forgotten either, he was the perfect foil to Karen's remarkable vocal talents.

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on 5 March 2006
This is a must own album. Karen's voice is absolute gold and puts all other female vocalists to shame. All bar none. Every song is a masterpiece in its own right. Back in the seventies, the Carpenters were ridiculed by the press for their clean living and their non-agressive brand of music. This is a career-spanning collection and 9 of their 10 studio albums are represente. As you listen, the quality of music never wavers and that is something that is rare to find in popular music nowadays. 12/10. Brilliant.
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on 13 May 2009
If you are a fan, you can not go wrong with this. Karen Carpenter did have an amazing voice and brother Richard was a brilliant song writer, musician, producer and arranger.

For the non fan, this is very pleasant back ground music, for the fan this is heaven. All their best known works are right here.
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on 3 March 2006
We all know the Carpenters - maybe not the new generation however. This CD brings you their music in one CD. So you can throw all your old cassetes and buy this one
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on 28 May 2016
I am going through a 70's easy listening phase and I forgot how good this was - had it on record.

Sad old git warbling away in the car but of an age where I couldn't give a stuff

Go on cheese the night away !!!.....calling occupants of inter planetary.......
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on 21 May 2010
If you grew up in the 70's its impossible to ignore the comforting presence of this remarkable band. Their music is fused into childhood memories of distant places, long lost friends, former family homes and holidays. If youve ever liked ABBA (which I have) then you have to be aware of how much Benny & Bjorn loved, and were influenced by, this band. Superstar, Rainy Days And Mondays, Jambalaya, Close To You, Top Of The World, Only Yesterday and
Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft (The Recognized Anthem Of World Contact no less). Devastatingly beautiful one and all.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 October 2010
I am completely indifferent to the music of the Carpenters, so you may wonder why I am awarding 5 stars, the reason is simply for two words: Karen Carpenter. This woman has the most crystal clear, purist singing voice I have ever heard, even a rock fan like myself must tip his hat when this woman opens her mouth and starts to sing. The world lost a truly great singer when this young lady passed away. If you like 70s style easy listening, this duo are the masters of the genre.
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