ROIO of the Week [Recordings of Indeterminate Origin]


The Carpenters
More Offerings [Thin Line Crossed]

 

Not too long ago, they reissued all the studio albums by the toothsome two less the live in London and Japan CDs. So it has been left to the buggers at the other record company to look at the TV broadcasts for rarities. More Offerings is a CD-R-type venture, thin on info but surprisingly good looking. Where did they find this incredible pic of Karen in her ultra-white undies? Must be Richard who took the pic, the pervert.

What's on More Offerings is even better. Despite the high generation tape used (hissy throughout), you get some unusual covers. There's the opening duet with Ella Fitzgerald. Karen sings This Masquerade, then Miss Ella sings My Funny Valentine, then a couple more before they duet together on Don't Get Around Much Anymore. While Miss Ella obviously has the better voice, Karen's is so much sweeter and innocent. That's why we adore her. This TV special also has Karen singing with John Davidson (a '70s TV show host), John Denver and Perry Como (oldtime heartthrob). Back in the '70s, new stars always appeared with their elders on TV to illustrate camaraderie and to co-opt each other's fan base.

The unusual songs Karen covers include The Beatles' Can't Buy Me Love and Good Day Sunshine, the Beach Boys' Good Vibrations (with John Denver), The Monkee's I Wanna Be Free, Esther and Abby O'Farim's Cinderella Rockafella, Laura Nyro's When I Die and a snippet of I Could Have Danced All Night from My Fair Lady.

It's good to listen to Karen in happier times. Her cover of Abba's Thank You For The Music is cheerful. And her medley of dancing songs (Dancing In The Streets, Boogie Nights and I Could Have Danced All Night) will set your feet a-tapping. Her cover of Boogie Nights is hilarious. Karen was a disco dud.

Then all too soon, it's over. More Offerings closes with the invocative When I Die: "I'm not scared of dying and I don't really care/if it's peace you find in dying then let the time be near."

We now know Karen Carpenter wasn't too happy about herself and she literally wasted away and died of anorexia. I guess More Offerings is a different Karen than the albums projected. On TV, she danced and sang happy songs. In the studio, she was heartbreakingly sad. A word of warning to the adventurous. These recordings are far from hi-fidelity and are meant for discerning fans of Karen. - Michael Cheah


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