cover image Carpenters: An Illustrated Discography

Carpenters: An Illustrated Discography

Randy L. Schmidt. Mascot, $39.95 (192p) ISBN 978-1-64307-321-7

Schmidt follows up Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter with this illustrated history of 1970s brother-sister duo the Carpenters. Taking a chronological, photographic, album-by-album look at the musical accomplishments of Karen Carpenter (1950–1983) and her brother Richard Carpenter in their 16 group and solo recordings, Schmidt compiles insightful quotes from the siblings’ friends and colleagues to show the pair’s parallel artistic evolution and present solid descriptions of Richard’s “seamless” arrangements, “tailored for ’70s AM pop radio.” English singer Harriet (the stage name of Harriet Green) reflects on the title song of their fourth and most popular album, A Song for You, which, like many of their songs, was written by Leon Russell (“It’s so touching and very powerful”). Producer Matt Wallace, who worked with Nirvana and the Replacements, argues that Karen’s “emotionally and technically” stunning vocal prowess made her “the Adele of her time and even beyond.” And Houston Grand Opera music director Patrick Summers details how Richard’s arrangements “have affected an entire generation of classical musicians.” Illustrated with more than 200 images from concerts, records covers, and backstage moments, this book will delight the Carpenters’ still expansive fan base. (BookLife)

Correction: An earlier version of this review misstated Harriet Green's last name.