This 2-CD set marks the debut of the Gold CD to the U.S. market. It is, however, significantly different from its European and Japanese counterparts.
With 40 tracks, it's twice as big as the other versions of Gold, and it contains a wide selection of both hits and album tracks. Three of the tracks are previously unreleased in the U.S. (which seems to be a marketing point): "Leave Yesterday Behind," "The Rainbow Connection" and "California Dreamin'." All three of these tracks are found on As Time Goes By, the only complete album of "new" Carpenters material since the '80s. Incidentally, As Time Goes By is tentatively scheduled for a U.S. release in April of 2004, but we'll have to see how that goes...
The only true find on this new set is the single version of "Solitaire." The single mix adds in the electric guitars a bit earlier and also adds a pipe organ later in the song, and this mix has never been made available on any album or CD compilation.
Some Carpenters fans are finding it odd that "Merry Christmas, Darling" is being included in the middle of disc 2, rather than at the end of a disc as a bonus track. I don't mind having it in the middle of the disc, since I've always considered the song more a "Carpenters" song than a "Christmas" song. Plus, "Merry Christmas, Darling" has probably sold more copies than a lot of their other singles!
This set looks like it will be replacing Yesterday Once More as the definitive "hits" collection in the U.S. There are only three tracks from Yesterday Once More that are not on this set, and of those, only "Those Good Old Dreams" is a real loss (the other two, "Because We Are In Love" and "(Want You) Back In My Life Again" were not even remotely hits).
The mixes here are not particularly unusual -- almost every track here is presented in a remixed form, with only a few exceptions. I find it interesting that original mix of "Let Me Be the One" is used here, since it was significantly re-recorded and remixed in 1990. Richard Carpenter seems to have settled on which remixes he likes best, and these seem to be the ones that are turning up on the last few new compilations.
The liner notes are extensive and informative, with an autobiography and track-by-track commentary from Richard Carpenter. The liner notes alone make this a far superior set to many of the previous "hits" compilations!
Please note that the 2-CD U.S. version of Gold is also availble in a package with the Gold DVD; it is listed next in this discography.
Produced by Richard Carpenter, Karen Carpenter and Jack Daugherty
Return to the Carpenters Album Index.