40th Anniversary Collector's Edition (2009)

Fifteen complete albums and one DVD:
Disc 1:
Disc 2:
Close to You
Disc 3:
Disc 4:
A Song for You
Disc 5:
Now & Them
Disc 6:
Disc 7:
A Kind of Hush
Disc 8:
Disc 9:
Made In America
Disc 10:
Voice of the Heart
Disc 11:
Disc 12:
As Time Goes By
Disc 13:
Sweet Sixteen
Disc 14:
Christmas Portrait
Disc 15:
An Old-Fashioned Christmas
Disc 16:
Gold (DVD)

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Japanese CD/DVD release

The most complete collection of Carpenters music released to date, this 40th Anniversary box set contains all 14 of the albums of original studio material released by Karen and Richard, along with a 15th disc made up of mostly non-album tracks and remixes, and a new DVD edition of Gold.

All of the CDs in the set are pressed on the new SHM-CD format technology, which is supposed to deliver superior sound (as in the Japanese 40/40 collection. These are the "Remastered Classics" editions of the albums, containing all the original vinyl LP mixes of the songs. The one exception is Christmas Portrait, which was remixed in 1996 due to the deterioration of the original album master tapes.

Each album is presented in a hardcover book containing new liner notes from Richard, lots of photographs, and lyrics in English and Japanese. Bound into each book is a miniature reproduction of the original LP sleeve, which houses the CD itself. There are no reproductions of the original inner sleeves, as in the 35th Anniversary Box Set, however.

Disc 13 of the set is titled Sweet Sixteen, (for reasons which elude me, although it does have 16 tracks), and its track list is as follows:

1. All I Can Do (Spectrum version)
2. Your Wonderful Parade (demo)
3. Don't Be Afraid (demo)
4. All of My Life (1987 remix)
5. Eve (1987 remix)
6. Let Me Be the One (1990 remix)
7. Intermission (1989 remix)
8. Flat Baroque
9. Santa Claus is Comin' to Town (1984 remix)
10. Please Mr. Postman (single mix)
11. Moringa Hi-Crown Chocolate Commercial
12. Solitaire (single version)
13. Tryin' to Get the Feeling Again
14. Good Friends Are for Keeps
15. Suntory Pop Jingles
16. 1980 Medley (from Music, Music, Music)
Knowing When to Leave
Make It Easy On Yourself
We've Only Just Begun

This disc really confuses me, because it mixes non-album tracks with remixes and a couple of tracks that are found elsewhere in the set ("Flat Baroque" and "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town" are both the same versions as can be found on their respective albums). I would have been happier having a disc of all non-album material containing the early Karen Carpenter single, other early tracks, and other non-album tracks like "From This Moment On" and the KFRC and Morton's Potato Chips jingles. The only "rare" track here is the single mix of "Please Mr. Postman," which is almost never heard. (The liner notes incorrectly list the track as being the 1991 remix of "Please Mr. Postman," but it is indeed the single mix.)

Disc 16 of the set is a DVD. It's titled Gold, but it differs from the U.S. DVD release of the same name. While it contains all the videos from the U.S. version, it also contains the rarely-seen "I Need to Be In Love" video. Most interesting about this DVD is the commentary track by Richard, who talks about each video while we watch it. It gives some really fascinating insight into the videos and songs, and makes this set something truly special.

This is an expensive set and was made in limited quantities, so obtaining a copy of the set may be quite difficult. It really is essential only to the most die-hard Carpenters fan, especially if you don't have the 30th or 35th anniversary sets.

Produced by Richard Carpenter, Karen Carpenter and Jack Daugherty

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