In 1998 and 1999, A&M Records reissued all of the original Carpenters studio albums under the heading of "Remastered Classics." These CDs contain the complete original vinyl album mixes of all the songs.
The original CDs of the Carpenters studio albums had been released in the mid-1980s. While most of the songs on these CDs were the original vinyl mixes, some songs on those CDs were actually remixes. Notable examples were the remixes of "Superstar" and "Rainy Days and Mondays" on the CARPENTERS album, and the single version of "Top of the World" on the A SONG FOR YOU album, among others.
The "Remastered Classics" series has restored the CD albums to the same mixes you would find on the original vinyl albums. The "Remastered Classics" version of A SONG FOR YOU marks the first time that the original album version of "Top of the World" has appeared on a CD of A SONG FOR YOU (although the album version had been previously issued on the FROM THE TOP box set).
The only CD in the "Remastered Classics" series that DOES NOT contain the original vinyl mixes of the songs is YESTERDAY ONCE MORE. You might think of it as the "remix collection." Most of the songs on it are the most recent remixes of each song.
So if you want all your favorites in their original mixes, you'll have to buy the individual studio albums on CD. Pretty much all the compilation CDs out there contain remixes.
Unfortunately, I don't have any good source for all the CDs on my website. I've collected them for many years, and several of them are out-of-print.
Here are some of the online retailers I have used, and whom I have found to be reliable. I can't guarantee that any one of these places will have the particular CD you're looking for, but they're a good place to start looking. I have no affiliation with any of these sites; they are simply online retailers I have used and found satisfactory.
None of the Carpenters' TV specials have been commercially released so far... I hope that we can look forward to DVD releases of all the specials sometime soon, but as far as I know there are no plans for any of them to be released in any format.
There are people out there who will sell videotape copies of the specials, but from what I've seen the quality leaves something to be desired. Plus, selling videotaped copies of TV shows is illegal, unless the person selling the tape has permission of the copyright holder.
There's PLENTY of unreleased material left! However, it is likely that almost none of it is of the quality of the studio recordings that we have now, which is why we don't have more CDs of unreleased material coming out.
But for us die-hard fans, and all who are interested in "historical" recordings of Karen and Richard, there remains plenty of material that COULD be released. Some of this includes:
Recordings of the Richard Carpenter Trio, made for RCA Records
Recordings of Spectrum
Recordings made by Karen and Richard in Joe Osborne's home studio
Live recordings from before their A&M contract, such as from the Hollywood Bown Battle of the Bands and their first TV appearance
The two other songs on which Karen sings lead ("And When I Die" and "Crescent Noon") from the California State University Long Beach Choir album ("Goodnight" on FROM THE TOP is from this album)
The "Your Navy Presents" radio show, in its entirety (which contains the superb rendition of "Can't Buy Me Love," along with a few other songs which never appeared on any album)
An American live album -- Richard apparently recorded just about every concert the Carpenters ever gave, so there should be PLENTY of material to make up a live album or series of albums. Or, even better, a box set of four or five discs, containing a chronological history of the Carpetners' live performing career! Hope springs eternal...
Song from the TV specials. While many have finally seen the light of day on AS TIME GOES BY, there are still quite a few still hidden away in the vaults. The Karen Carpenter/John Denver duet from their first TV special is one example. There are also several other duets (with John Davidson, Suzanne Somers, Kristy McNichol, Gene Kelly and others) still in the vaults.
The unreleased songs and work leads from Karen's solo project. Nine of these unreleased tracks are floating around on the Internet, but there should still be two or three more in the vaults, too
Any remaining work leads or snippets of songs in the A&M vaults. What's left in the vaults is probably far from complete, but Richard could probably string song fragments together into some sort of medley, like the "rehearsal" medley of unreleased ABBA tracks from their box set. It's rumored that there is at least one unreleased Christmas track still in the vaults, too (the Schubert version of "Ave Maria" -- the one that got released is the Gounod version)
So, you see, there is plenty of unreleased material out there. Whether we'll ever get to hear any of it is up to Richard. I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting to hear ALL of it, though!
More questions and answers to be added as I have time...
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