The Carnival

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1967-60)

- Terry Fischer (RIP 2017)-- vocals

- Janis Hansen (RIP 2017) -- vocals

- Tommy Neal -- vocals, bass

- Jose Suares -- vocals, percussion




- The Going Thing (Janis Hansen)

- The Murmaids (Terry Fischer)

- Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66 (Janis Hansen and Jose Suares)





Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  The Carnival

Company: World Pacific

Catalog: WPS 21894

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 2194

Price: $15.00


The Carnival was the brainchild of former Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66 members  Janis Hansen and Jose Suares.  There's a good chance you've at least heard Hansen's magnificent voice since she was featured on the hit 'The Look of Love'.    Rounded out by former The Murmaids singer Terry Fischer .and bassist Tommy Neal, the quartet found a mentor in the form of producer Bones Howe.


Produced by Howe with support from the famed Wrecking Crew, how do you describe 1969's "The Carnival" ?   Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66 meets The Fifth Dimension, with a touch of ABBA and The Free Design thrown in the mix ?  Close enough and it makes sense given Howe's work included producing much of the 5th Dimension catalog.  So this clearly isn't going to appeal to everyone out there.   No matter how you look at it, most of these ten tracks were borderline MOR-ish.   That's not to say the album didn't have charm; especially if you liked harmony-rich '60s and '70s styled pop along the lines of The Association, The Mamas and the Papas and  the 5th Dimension.  Almost every one of the  ten tracks had at least something going for them in terms of smooth sound and nifty vocal arrangements, but the real treasure here was Hansen who had a crystal clear voice that (at least to my ears), was incredibly sexy.   Plenty of highlights to pick from; if pushed in a corner I'd go with 'Hope', their cover of Jeffrey Camano's 'A Famous Myth' and their Beatles cover 'The Word'.  Mindless fun and well worth looking for.


The Carnival" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Canto de Carnival (instrumental)   (The Carnival) -   rating: *** stars

Nice slice of percussion heavy, Brazilian-influenced samba.
2.) Laia Ladaia   (Edu Lobo-  - Ruy Guerra - Norman Gimbel) - 
    rating: **** stars

Imagine the 5th Dimension on speed and singing in Portuguese (at least for the first half of the tune), and you'd get a feel for 'Laia Ladaia'.   No idea what it was about, but it had some great vocal harmonies.   The song was also tapped as a single:




- 1969's 'Laia Ladaia' b/w 'Canto De Carnival' (World Pacific catalog number W.77932)  








3.) Sweets For My Sweet   (Doc Pomas - Mort Shuman) -   rating: *** stars

As much as I love The Drifters version, this sunshine pop cover is pretty impressive.  Kind of a ABBA-esque feel on this one.    
4.) Take Me For A Little While   (Trade Martin)
  rating: ** stars

Opening with a nice bass line, they turned in a decent cover of the ballad 'Take Me For A Little While'.   personally I think the original Evie Sands version was better.

5.) Turn, Turn, Term (To Everything There Is A Season)   (Pete Seeger)  rating: *** stars

Hum, take a 5th Dimension arrangement and add a touch of Free Design to the mix and you'll get the slinky, jazzy 'Turn, Turn, Term (To Everything There Is A Season)'.  Another tune that was far better than you would have ever expected,  
6.) Hope   (Louis Aldebert - Monqiue Aldebert) -   rating: **** stars

Harpsichord, uplifting lyrics, and Brazilian flavor ... doesn't get much better than this tune.  
7.) Walk On By   (Burt Bacharach - Hal David) -  
  rating: **** stars

I'll readily admit I have no idea why I like this one so much.  It's hopelessly MOR-ish making the Dionne Warwick version sound like a slice of death metal.   There's just something that makes me smile hearing this goofy supper-club version.  

(side 2)
1.) A Famous Myth  
(Jeffrey Camanor) -   rating: **** stars

Say what you will about their MOR-ish moves, but there was no denying Fischer and Hansen had voices that meshed together extraordinarily well.   

2.) Son of a Preacher Man  (John Hurley - Ronnie Wilkins)  rating: *** stars

Their bouncy, speeded-up, pop-oriented cover of 'Son of a Preacher Man' wasn't going to make you forget Dusty's classic version, but it was mindless and harmless fun.  World Pacific tapped it as a single


- 1968's 'Walk On By' b/w 'Walk On By' (World Pacific catalog W 77922)     

3.) Reach Out for Me   (Burt Bacharach - Hal David) -    rating: **** stars

Their second Bacharach-David cover, 'Reach Out for Me' showcased Hansen's spectacular voice. Yeah, it was sheer MOR, but it was one of those inane pop songs that you just can't get out of your hear once you've heard it.  

4.) Love So Fine   (Roger Nichols - Tony Asher) -   rating: *** stars

Near perfect sunshine-pop and one of the best Hansen-Fischer duets. 

5.) The Word   (John Lennon - Paul McCartney   rating: **** stars

Another performance far better than you would have ever expected ...   Who would have expected a Beatles tune to lend itself to this kind of arrangement ?



The group actually started to work on a follow-up album, but in the wake of poor sales, the project was shelved.  I've never tracked down a copy, but one of those recordings was released as a single:


- 1970's 'Where There's A Heartache (There Must Be A Heart)' b/w 'Where There's A Heartache (There Must Be A Heart)' (United Artists catalog number UA 50749)


Sadly Fischer and Hansen both passed on in 2017.