Now & Then is sort of two albums in one. Side one (the "Now" side) is a collection of widely varied songs (a children's song, a jazz piece, an instrumental, a country song and a bluesy pop song). Side two (the "Then" side) is a pseudo-radio program of "golden oldies," bookended by an original tune celebrating the oldies.
All in all, it is a very good album, if a bit disjointed. It produced two hit singles in the U.S. ("Sing" and "Yesterday Once More"), as well as a minor hit in several foreign markets ("Jambalaya"). The oldies show on side 2 is funny the first few times you listen to it, but Tony Peluso's radio-DJ chatter gets old after a few dozen listenings. However, hearing the Carpenters' versions of many classic pop songs from the '60s is worth the annoyance. To hear these songs without the DJ chatter, see the Reader's Digest collection.
Unfortunately missing from all the CD versions of this album is are the lyrics to the songs, which originally appeared on the inner sleeve of the LP.
There is one oddity in the various mixes of "Yesterday Once More." The "Remastered Classics" version of the CD, which of course restored all the songs to their original vinyl mixes, has a different version of "Yesterday Once More" than I have on my original vinyl LP (using the piano instead of the electric guitar for an instrumental phrase after "just like before..."). That mix appears on a German 45rpm single, but not on the U.S. version of the single. I don't know what the story is behind that one, but if anyone can fill me in, I'd appreciate it.
"Sing" was also released to Spanish-speaking markets as a Spanish-language single called "Canta." Karen sings much of the song in Spanish. This version is available on the From the Top compilation.
Produced by Richard & Karen Carpenter
"Sing" / "Druscilla Penny" #3
"Yesterday Once More" / "Road Ode" #2
Return to the Carpenters Album Index.