Little Girl Blue

Little Girl Blue by Randy L. Schmidt Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: Little Girl Blue by Randy L. Schmidt Read Free Book Online
Authors: Randy L. Schmidt
since Osborn was usually in sessions each night until midnight.
    Unbeknownst to Karen and Richard, Don Zacklin had asked Friberg to recommend other talented kids from the college to audition for Magic Lamp. So when Karen and Richard showed up, Zacklin and Osborn assumed they’d come along to audition, too. The brother and sister were befuddled but cooperative. “Karen ended up singing that night,” Friberg says. “She sang and that was the end of me! To me, her voice was just like nothing else I’d ever heard before or since. It was just so distinctive. To think of all the times I saw her sitting behind the drums, never knowing that she could even sing. It’s really weird the way things worked out because that night was what started the whole thing for them. If Richard had said, ‘I’m busy,’ I probably would have gotten somebody else, and they never would have met Joe.”
    Captivated by Karen’s raw, husky voice, Osborn asked musician friend and drummer Mickey Jones to travel with him to Downey tosee this “chubby little girl” perform. “We went to a small dinner house where we heard Karen sing,” Jones recalls. “I was shocked. I had never heard a more pure voice in my life.” Hearing Karen again, Osborn was won over. He told Mickey Jones he planned to contact the girl’s parents. He wanted to record her. This was surely good news, but it did not sit well with Agnes Carpenter. She was set on the idea of her son becoming the family’s famous musician. After all, they’d moved across the country in hopes of Richard getting into the music business, and now he was being disregarded in favor of his kid sister, a musical novice. “I know that Agnes was really, really mad about that,” recalls Evelyn Wallace. “There are many piano players that are very, very good. But let’s face it, all pianos more or less sound alike. All voices do not.”
    On May 9, 1966, Osborn signed sixteen-year-old Karen Carpenter to Magic Lamp Records’ small roster of artists, which included Johnny Burnette, James Burton, Mickey Jones, Dean Torrence (of Jan and Dean), and Vince Edwards, best known as television’s Dr. Ben Casey. Since Karen was not of legal age, Agnes and Harold signed on her behalf. Two days later, Magic Lamp’s publishing division, Lightup Music, signed Richard as a songwriter in an effort to help reconcile Agnes’s displeasure with Osborn having initially overlooked her son’s talents. “Joe thought that Richard was a pain in the ass,” Mickey Jones recalls. “Richard not only wanted to play the piano but to run everything. Joe did not want him around when he was working with Karen, so he made Richard wait outside the studio.”
    Any resentment between the two soon gave way to new friendships as Karen, Richard, and Wes Jacobs began spending hours on end at Osborn’s studio. That summer Karen recorded several of Richard’s original compositions including “The Parting of Our Ways,” “Don’t Tell Me,” “Looking for Love,” and “I’ll Be Yours.” She also played drums on the recordings, which featured Osborn on electric bass and sometimes Wes Jacobs on upright bass. Richard was on piano and the Chamberlin Music Master, a version of the Mellotron, both of which were popular analog synthesizers that provided taped string and woodwind sounds. Osborn used a Scully 4-track recorder and Neumann U87 condenser microphones to tape the sessions. Playback was done through Altec 604 studio monitors. When four tracks were complete, they were bouncedor “ping-ponged” to his Scully 2-track machine, which condensed multiple tracks to two or sometimes even one. This process freed additional tracks for overdubbing and layering voices or instruments.
    â€œLooking for Love / I’ll Be Yours” (ML 704) was the first and only single by Karen Carpenter for

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