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Articles Home » 1977 Articles » Carpenters, The - 1977 Passage
Carpenters, The - 1977 Passage

ARTIST: Carpenters, The
ALBUM: Passage
YEAR: 1977
CD REISSUE: 2001, A&M, 394703-2


LINEUP: Karen Carpenter - lead & background vocals, drums, percussion * Richard Carpenter - synthesizer, keyboards, tack piano, background vocals

Additional Musicians: Vince Charles - drums, steel drums * Wally Snow, Jerry Steinholtz - percussion * Jay Graydon, Lee Ritenour - acoustic guitar * Ray Parker Jr. - guitar * Tony Peluso - guitar, bass, keyboards, background vocals * Jay Dee Maness - pedal steel * Pete Jolly, Leon Russell, Larry Muhoberac - piano * Jackie Kelso, David Luell, Kurt McGettrick, Tom Scott - sax * Gayle Levant - harp * Earl Dumler - oboe * Carlina Williams, Maxine Waters, Julia Waters - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 B'Wanna She No Home * 02 All You Get From Love Is A Love Song * 03 I Just Fall In Love Again * 04 On The Balcony Of The Casa Rosada/ Don't Cry For Me Argentina * 05 Sweet, Sweet Smile * 06 Two Sides * 07 Man Smart (Woman Smarter) * 08 Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft

WEBLINKS: www.richardandkarencarpenter.com

Most critics will agree 1977 was a year of great change in music and the industry in general. There were several factors at play which lead to the upheaval in styles and sounds and Richard and Karen Carpenter were not immune. Still as popular as heck, coming off two hit singles and a successful album 'A Kind Of Hush', in 1976 it seemed the duo had switched to glide and as good as it was, churning out the same formula for eight years, 'Passage' was the album they had to make, shutting off critics who thought they were passe while giving something new to fans whose tastes had matured and inevitably were looking for something new.

The Songs
Fresh and original the album certainly was. Middle of the road sure, but not since genius Burt Bacharach's heyday had anyone heard the genre toyed with in such an experimental style and succeeded. With Richard Carpenter taking a back seat in the songwriting department, the sky was the limit where the duo could go and for the most part, the song choices were spot on. The Caribbean flavoured Michael Franks penned opener 'B'wana She No Home' sets the stage for this unusual album and Karen as always is the star of the show, sounding sultry and delicious like never before. The records biggest single 'All You Get From Love Is A Love Song' is a perfect vehicle for the songstress and one my Carpenters favourites. Up-tempo with a burn in your grey matter hook, released a couple years earlier it probably would have gone to number one instead of stalling in the upper tier of America's top 40. If there is a low point on the record it's 'On The Balcony Of The Casa Rosada/Don't Cry For Me Argentina from the musical 'Evita'. Despite my love for Queen and over the top pop 'n roll, I've never been a big Broadway show tunes guy and although this is well done, it seems out of place on the album, especially the operatic bits. I suppose the same can be said for the cover of 'Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft' originally written and recorded by Canadian prog band Klaatu. Yet, while tongue in cheek, there's far more of the trademark Carpenters sound here and the tune was helped by the 'Star Wars' craze as well as the loony tinfoil heads who unbelievably wrote The Carpenters asking when 'World Contact Day' was to be held.

In Summary
In true adult contemporary style, a not too bad Christmas album followed in 1978 but it wouldn't be until 1981's 'Made In America' that saw a return of The Carpenters with a new studio album. It would be Karen's last, passing away with Anorexia related heart failure in early 1983.

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This article has been tagged
#1 | gdazegod on July 17 2014 11:41:03
Been listening to the cover of 'Calling Occupants..' quite a bit lately.

Here's the Klaatu version..

YouTube Video:
#2 | Explorer on July 17 2014 12:45:35
Talking of Klaatu, their second album "Hope" is a brilliant piece of work, conceptual in nature and broad in it`s vision....Quite wonderful.
#3 | gdazegod on July 17 2014 15:07:30
Looks like some Klaatu coverage is required then..
#4 | Explorer on July 17 2014 17:11:21
Will get started on a review of "Hope" this very weekend if that's OK.
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