Siblings Richard and Karen, creating sweet music in the 70s.
Suggested first purchase/best of: Singles 1969-1981 (2005)
Suggested first album: A Song for You
Christmas Portrait (1978) -- A lot of this sounds different from what I know the Carpenters to be. For example, there's an eight minute overture/Christmas medley at the beginning that features no vocals, and lots of the arrangements throughout have that 1960s/70s made-for-children Christmas sound. Of course, this album also contains "Merry Christmas, Darling," which sounds exactly like I know the Carpenters to be. At any rate, the album is pretty good and you don't necessarily even have to like the Carpenters to like it, though of course it doesn't hurt.
An Old-Fashioned Christmas (1984) -- Very similar to the previous Christmas album, though this one doesn't have any standout classics like "Merry Christmas, Darling."
Christmas Collection (1998) -- The two Carpenters Christmas albums -- Christmas Portrait and An Old Fashioned Christmas -- released together. Still two discs, no further changes, so buying them like this or separate makes no difference.
Gold: 35th Anniversary Edition (2004) -- Although this is two discs worth of top 40 hits, apparently the versions presented here (by Richard Carpenter himself) have been tinkered with so that they're not the original mixes (Carpenter being the George Lucas of adult contemporary music). This kind of thing is unnoticeable to me, not the hugest of Carpenters fans (they're more of my gal's thing), but it will certainly matter to others and some may even prefer the new mixes. Also, I find this music to be a bit draggy for my own tastes in large doses and by the end of the 40 song collection, I'm completely covered in a brown soggy depression. For those like me who'd rather have a single disc of only the best, most well-known songs, I'd recommend 2005's version of Singles 1969-1981 (there's another one from 1990 that's not as good). It's 21 songs long, and instead of mellow song after mellow song that blend into each other after a while, you get almost nothing but really great hits like "We've Only Just Begun," "Superstar," "Top of the World," "Merry Christmas, Darling," "Sing," "(They Long To Be) Close To You," and "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft." However, if you find this one, if you don't mind or prefer the remixes, and if you want double your Carpenters, this one's just fine.
Copyright (c) Jan 2007 by Rusty Likes Music