Richard Carpenter's last solo album was titled Pianist, Arranger, Composer, Conductor. Now the musical legend is returning in three of those capacities for his first full-length recording since that 1997 set. His third overall solo album, Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook arrives from Decca Records - not A&M, but part of the same Universal Music family - on October 22 in CD and digital formats.
The nine-song collection features newly-recorded solo piano renditions of some of the rich, classic melodies associated with Karen and Richard Carpenter including Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "(They Long to Be) Close to You," Fred Karlin, Robb Royer, and James Griffin's "For All We Know," Richard's own "Yesterday Once More" (co-written with John Bettis) and "I Need to Be in Love" (with Bettis and Albert Hammond), and a medley of "Sing" (Joe Raposo), "Goodbye to Love" (Carpenter/Bettis), "Eve" (Carpenter/Bettis), and "Rainy Days and Mondays" (Paul Williams/Roger Nichols). But "Rainy Days and Mondays" isn't the only song of Williams and Nichols' to appear. Richard also brings his deft touch to "We've Only Just Begun" and "I Won't Last a Day Without You," as well as to Williams and Kenny Ascher's moving "The Rainbow Connection." Piano Songbook is rounded out with Carpenter and Bettis' buoyant, country-tinged chart-topper, "Top of the World."
Richard comments in the press release, "I've not only been into music since I was a kid, but records as well, and everything to do with them. In the late forties and early fifties, the Big Three labels were: Columbia, Victor, and DECCA...Bing Crosby was on Decca! When the label asked if I might be interested in recording an album of Carpenters songs on solo piano, I could only think of my Mom and Dad, and what an enormous compliment this was to their son, who never wanted to practice. But this was a challenge. For somebody who likes to turn everything into a production, like our records, to adapt them for solo piano was a tall order, but the piano is a remarkable instrument, with a remarkable range, and I believe I've given the songs chosen a fairly good reading."
We're certain he has. Richard shares a video introduction to the album (and some samples!) at this YouTube link. Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook arrives just three days after the release of a definitive new book about the Carpenters' story. Carpenters: The Musical Legacy (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada) hits stores on October 19 from Princeton Architectural Press. This definitive biography by Mike Cidoni Lennox and Chris May (A&M Corner) with Richard Carpenter is told from Richard's perspective. It's been assembled from more than 100 hours of exclusive interviews and roughly 200 photographs from Richard's own archive, many of which have never been published. It promises to be a candid and comprehensive account of the musical duo's remarkable and enduring legacy.
Look for Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook on October 22 from Decca Records. You'll find pre-order links and the track listing below.
- Medley: Sing, Goodbye to Love, Eve, Rainy Days and Mondays
- I Won't Last a Day Without You
- For All We Know
- Close To You
- Yesterday Once More
- I Need to Be In Love
- The Rainbow Connection
- Top of the World
- We've Only Just Begun