July 1, 2020

Karen Carpenter.

I was originally going to title this blog entry “Karen”, but with the connotation associated with the name these days it would have led would be readers in the wrong direction and I didn’t want to do that.

In 1979 Richard Carpenter went into recovery for his addiction to quaaludes. During that time, his sister Karen, the other half of “The Carpenters” went into the studio with some pretty famous producers and recorded her first solo album, to be simply titled “Karen Carpenter”. The story goes that when the album was recorded, the suits at A&M Records took a listen, along with Richard, who was now out of recovery, and absolutely hated the record. Richard was particularly harsh, saying the record didn’t fit her vocal style at all and that producer Phil Ramone was using the opportunity to try to imitate Richard’s polished vocal productions. A&M Records leaned on Karen to not release the album and it went into the vault. Bits and pieces of the album were released after her death, but it wouldn’t be until 1996 that the intended album was released, following her mixing and arrangement requests.

Richard Carpenter has said in interviews that ultimately he was supportive of his sister Karen recording her own album, he just advised, “whatever you do, don’t do disco”.

There’s a pretty kick-ass disco track on the album. It’s called “My Body Keeps Changing My Mind” and it is bell-bottom swishing disco from beginning to end.

Now, I find Karen Carpenter to be one of the greatest female vocalists of all time. I could listen to her sing all day long, and my recent love affair with the TIDAL Music service and its non-compressed music tracks has pumped her album in high fidelity to my ears for the past several days while I’ve been out doing my daily exercise.

I found an extended version of “My Body Keeps Changing My Mind” that is without 21st century remix; it’s simply an extended version of the original disco track, and I’ve been bopping to it all week. So for your listening pleasure, from 1979 here’s Karen Carpenter with “My Body Keeps Changing My Mind”.