Reviewed on this page:
Writer - Tapestry -
The Carnegie Hall Concert -
Music - Rhymes & Reasons - Fantasy - Wrap Around
Really Rosie -
Thoroughbred - Simple Things - Welcome Home - Touch The Sky - Pearls -
One To One - Speeding Time - City
Streets - Colour Of Your Dreams - Love Makes The World -
The Living Room Tour
Born Carole Klein in Brooklyn, by her teens Carole King was heading into
Manhattan after school to sell her songs on Tin Pan Alley. She cut a few
singles in the late 50's and early 60s, but first made a name for
herself as a songwriter, working with lyricist/husband Gerry Goffin:
they cranked out hits for a plethora of acts, and even turned their
babysitter into a recording star when they wrote "Locomotion" for Little
Eva. They also managed to stir up some controversy with "He Hit Me (And
It Felt Like A Kiss)," a look at domestic violence that no one was ready
for (recently covered by Courtney Love).
Soon Bob Dylan, Brian
Wilson and Lennon and McCartney (who
themselves had aspired to be the UK Goffin/King) made the Brill Building
obsolete: professional tunesmiths like King were pushed aside in favor
of performers who wrote their own songs. If you can't beat 'em, join
'em, as the cliché goes, and by 1968 King was fronting a rock
band. It took her a couple of years to work out the rough edges, and
then in 1971 she took everyone by surprise with one of the greatest
albums of the 70s - Tapestry - and continued to have massive
sales numbers throughout most of the decade. Then she lost her Midas
touch, and soon she was so desperate for a hit that she recorded an
entire album of tunes from her 60s catalog. More recently she's
maintained a low profile, releasing albums only occasionally. Though
she's ventured into a wide variety of musical terrain, King is still
best known for her breakthrough gentle soft-rock sound that's been
a big influence on artists from James Taylor
to Christine McVie to Mariah Carey. (DBW)
There's a Carole
King home page with starry-eyed reviews of King's full catalogue and
lots of graphics. (JA)
We have hardly reviewed any of Goffin & King's original hits, because
they were mostly charted by singles-only or otherwise undistinguished
acts ("Pleasant Valley Sunday" by the
Monkees is a conspicuous exception). But here's a guide to King
compositions or co-compositions on the site:
- The Beatles, "Chains"
- The Beatles, "Keep Your Hands Off My Baby"
- Blood, Sweat & Tears, "Hi-De-Ho"
- The Byrds, "Goin' Back"
- The Byrds, "Wasn't Born To Follow"
- Mariah Carey, "If It's Over"
- Willie Colón, "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?"
- The Cover Girls, "Up On The Roof"
- Aretha Franklin, "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman"
- Aretha Franklin, "Oh No Not My Baby"
- Isaac Hayes, "It's Too Late"
- Isaac Hayes, "Hey Girl"
- Laura Nyro, "Up On The Roof"
- Martha Reeves, "Dixie Highway"
- Rod Stewart, "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Man"
- James Taylor, "Up On The Roof"
- James Taylor, "You've Got A Friend"
- The Turtles, "So Goes Love"
Hits And Rarities From The Sixties (rec. 1958-1966, rel. 1995)
Some of the material on this 22 track compilation is actually from King's aborted early solo career in 1958 - 1959. There's also her 1962 Top 40 hit "It Might As Well Rain Until September," and a bunch of obscure girl group tracks with differing levels of King involvement, none of which go beyond 1966. (JA)
Now That Everything's Been Said (The City: 1968)
Ironically, Ode's first move after signing King was to package her in a "rock band" that actually consisted of just her and three sidemen - bassist Charles Larkey and guitarist Danny Kortchmar, both of whom backed King on her later albums (Larkey eventually married King), and studio ace Jim Gordon.
Producer Lou Adler also is in place here and also continued to be a standby. The album was a total flop, but two of the tunes were covered by other artists - "Wasn't Born To Follow," which shortly afterwards appeared on a Byrds album, and "Hi-De-Ho," which soon became a Top 40 hit for Blood, Sweat & Tears.
Released on CD in 1999. (JA)
- After years of collaborating with Gerry Goffin as a Tin Pan Alley songwriter and sporadically striking out with her own recordings, King decided to metamorphose into a soft-rock singer, reusing Adler, Kortchmar and Larkey, but taking the credit for herself. Most of her winning formula is here to be found, and almost everything works:
tracks like the mournful, stripped down "Child Of Mine" and the triumphantly clever "What Have You Got To Lose" would have fit in perfectly on Tapestry.
What's really striking are the points where King doesn't know what she's doing: "To Love" is a 2/4 country tune; the repetitive "Eventually" gets an annoying string arrangement; "Raspberry Jam" is a laughable 3/4-time 60s jazz number, complete with oh-so-cool chordal guitar solo; "Sweet Sweetheart" gets an Aretha-like R & B treatment; and then there's a folksy, upbeat take on "Goin' Back," which had been covered successfully by the Byrds, and sounds very similar here except for James Taylor's prominent guitar and backing vocal.
Still, it's all solid, and by the time King's gorgeous remake of her "Up On The Roof" comes on you'll be sure to have a smile on your face (ironically, Taylor's on this track too). I can't fathom why, but the album went pretty much ignored, and it wasn't until the next one that King became a mass-market phenomenon. (JA)
- This record is a lot of fun, and King rocks harder on tracks like "Spaceship Races" and "I Can't Hear You No More" than she does on any of her other classic albums. (DBW)
- This is a nearly flawless classic, full of fantastic songwriting, recorded with a first-rate band, and lifted by some remarkably emotive performances that bely King's middling technical proficiency as a singer and pianist. There are only one or two weak efforts like the inappropriately chipper "Smackwater Jack," and they're far outnumbered by huge AOR hits like "I Feel The Earth Move," "It's Too Late," "You've Got A Friend," and the title track.
And "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?," originally written by King and ex-husband Gerry Goffin for the Shirelles, is a high point not just of the record, but perhaps of the entire soft-rock movement - it features both James Taylor and Joni Mitchell on superb background harmonies.
Kortchmar, Larkey, and Adler are also in the mix. (JA)
- Plus my favorite track on the record, her spare, powerful reading of "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," written for Aretha Franklin and later recorded by Rod Stewart. (DBW)
The Carnegie Hall Concert (rec. 1971, rel. 1996)
The only live Carole King album you'll ever need, this is a complete concert featuring Larkey, Kootch, and a string quartet,
plus a guest appearance by James Taylor.
Nicely packaged and generously long, it's a harmless buy for serious fans of Tapestry - practically the entire LP gets reprised.
There are also a few impressive selections from Writer ("Child Of Mine"; "No Easy Way Down") and Music ("Carry Your Load"), and some
rarities like "Snow Queen."
There's a nice emotional progression as King starts out solo, adds in the other players one by one, and finally brings on Taylor for "You've Got A Friend" and a medley ("Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow/Some Kind Of Wonderful/Up On The Roof").
It doesn't hurt that she closes with one of her greatest tunes ("Natural Woman").
King had suddenly hit her commercial peak and was clearly thrilled to play the venue, so her between-song patter also is interesting.
On the down side, her voice shreds on a few high notes, the weepy strings are sometimes distracting, and the sound is so close to Tapestry that the record is frequently unenlightening. (JA)
This is Tapestry II - the same band, the same mellow sound, the
same memorable, consistently tuneful songwriting. The only significant
change is more prominent electric piano, organ, and celeste, played by
King herself or Ralph Schuckett. The record quickly sailed to #1 on the
charts and went gold, but it's been unfairly forgotten by history. Once
again she includes one recycled 60s hit, "Some Kind Of Wonderful," but
the new material is even stronger: the brassy "Sweet Seasons," the
surefire pop "Brighter," several classic ballads ("Song Of Long Ago,"
"Surely"), and the witty, engaging "Going To California." Again it's
almost all love songs, lyrically treating several of the main themes of
Tapestry ("Carry Your Load," "Growing Away From Me") but if you
can appreciate King at all this is impossible to dislike. (DBW)
Rhymes & Reasons (1972)
- A #2 hit and the third of King's seven gold albums in the 70s, but it's nothing more than standard fare. At this point her records were selling mostly on the strength of her name: the single "Been To Canaan" made it to the middle ranks of the Top 40, and although it's pleasant and has a catchy "been so long" refrain, it's nothing special. The rest of the album is very similar, always tasteful and melodic but almost never memorable. That also goes for the sentimental James Taylor-like lyrics, whether written with collaborator Toni Stern (four tunes), Goffin ("Ferguson Road"), Charles Larkey ("The First Day In August"), or solo. Only "Peace In The Valley" and the misty-eyed religious number "I Think I Can Hear You" hint at the next record's ambition.
There are a lot of minor guest players like percussionist Bobbye Hall and pedal steel guitarist Red Rhodes, and the backing band includes King regulars like Larkey (bass) and Danny Kortchmar (guitar). It adds up to much the same sound as on Tapestry, although it's slicker and less personal. (JA)
- Remarkably subdued and passionless, with less emphasis on horns and guitars, and more on strings. More importantly, the melodies aren't especially striking. Still, this is somewhat interesting in that the more abstract lyrics are a bridge between the entirely personal lyrics of her first three albums and the explicitly political Fantasy, and the veiled political commentary on "Peace In The Valley" is intriguing. (DBW)
- This time around King wrote all the lyrics, and they're remarkably moving, down-to-earth slice-of-life social commentary. The critics hated the record, for that very reason: like Mitchell, King was palatable as long as she remained properly feminine and unassertive, but let her record an ode to a drug addict ("Haywood") or a completely unironic expression of hope (the single "Believe In Humanity") and watch out. In fact, many of the tracks are feminist themed and notably rhetoric-free: she addresses mothers on Welfare ("Welfare Symphony"), an abandoned pregnant woman ("That's How Things Go Down"), and the empty life of a middle-class housewife ("Weekdays").
Musically she's more firmly in control than ever: she plays all the keyboards, shows a sudden flair for horn and string arranging, and she pulls off everything from Latin rhythms ("Corazón") to Shaft-like orchestrated funk ("You've Been Around Too Long") but always with her distinctive unpretentious touch. She's so melodic that she makes seamless transitions between songs and an opening/closing theme musically coherent rather than just 60s gimmicks.
Only a couple of tracks get her earlier stripped-down ballad treatment ("You Light Up My Life"). Another gold record but a commercial disappointment, stalling out at #6.
Still, if you're only familiar with Tapestry this should be your next stop. (DBW)
- Wilson has some good points: solid songwriting, elaborate production, and outstanding lyrics make this one of the better pop records of the decade.
But even the best tunes aren't as memorable as the top half-dozen tracks on Tapestry, and the production is heavy-handed, with occasionally intrusive string and horn parts that highlight King's limitations.
The band is Larkey, Hall, Harvey Mason (drums), and the super-slick David T. Walker (guitar). (JA)
Wrap Around Joy (1974)
After the backlash against Fantasy, King retreated to her earlier love song format, cowriting everything with then-flame Dave Palmer. She was rewarded with her biggest hit singles since Tapestry, including the #2 "Jazzman," featuring extended solos by L.A. Express leader Tom Scott, and "Nightingale," with Carole's daughters Sherry & Louise Goffin on backing vocals. They're lightweight and catchy, like most of the rest of the album.
The title track shows more vitality, with a raunchy lyric and pleasantly off-kilter R&B treatment; there and a few other places she continues the full-blown horn arrangements and livelier feel of Fantasy - the horn players include Nolan Smith, future musical director for Marvin Gaye.
Larkey's still around, and Kortchmar is back; Andy Newmark takes over on drums and is a noticable improvement, adding little fills and variations not unlike John Guerin. (DBW)
Really Rosie (1975)
Soundtrack to the TV special based on the children's book by Maurice Sendak (Where The Wild Things Are), and King's only record not to go gold in this period.
All the lyrics are his, but the record is vintage Carole King (title track, later reprised), with the same stripped-down production values that made Tapestry so accessible.
And apart from some uncredited, polite guitar on a couple tracks ("The Awful Truth"; "Such Sufferin'"), there's nothing to distract from King's amiable presence.
Sendak's lyrics are funny, entertaining, full of wordplay, and just a little macabre ("Alligators All Around"), while King's tunes are crisp and to-the-point ("Screaming And Yelling").
Better yet, King has the brilliant idea of using her kids Sherry and Louise as backing vocalists - they're totally on key and add a welcome sunniness (the fine, bouncy pop-rocker "One Was Johnny").
Pretty often she does fall back on her usual musical formulas ("The Ballad Of Chicken Soup"; "Avenue P," like any of ten million competent King pop songs).
But she shines on the playful, waltzing mini-story "Pierre," creates a smile-inducing 2/4 circus beat on "My Simple Humble Neighborhood," and hits a home run with the elegant, bubbly "Chicken Soup With Rice."
Surprisingly well-crafted for a soundtrack, the record marks a welcome return to King's classic sound.
Produced as usual by Adler; the rhythm section is Charles Larkey and Andy Newmark. (JA)
- By now King was falling into a rut: gentle, inoffensive love songs with the usual soft-rock backing. Taylor and Kortchmar are back (Waddy Wachtel also appears), and the rhythm section is LA heavyweights Lee Slkar and Russ Kunkel. Tom Scott is also held over from Wrap Around Joy. As usual the tunes are pleasant enough ("I'd Like To Know You Better" with backing vocals by Crosby & Nash), but they're depressingly close to earlier triumphs: "There's A Space Between Us" sounds like a rewrite of "It's Too Late," and there are a couple of duds like "Ambrosia" (written with Palmer). Gerry Goffin came back to write lyrics on half the tracks, but
she wrote the moderately successful single, "Only Love Is Real." This was another solid commercial success, and fans won't go far wrong, but there's nothing here she hasn't done better somewhere else. (DBW)
- A classic Carole King record in every way except for the routine songwriting: King's heartfelt vocals, Adler's tasteful, low-key soft rock production, and the solid backing band.
Crosby, Nash, and Taylor lend a warm tone to the stately "High Out Of Time" and romantic "I'd Like To Know You Better," and the plantitive solo number "So Many Ways" is first-rate.
But the lyrics are romantic tripe, King seems totally unfocused in places ("We All Have To Be Alone," with a nice bass hook; "There's A Space Between Us" and "Still Here Thinking Of You," both with Taylor), and the up-tempo (really mid-tempo) cuts are enjoyable but lightweight pop ("You're So Beautiful"; "Only Love Is Real"; "It's Gonna Work Out Fine").
J. D. Souther sings on the generic "Ambrosia"; Ralph McDonald is on congas. (JA)
Simple Things (1977)
Her Columbia debut found her co-producing with her engineer Norm Kinney, and working with a full rock band, Navarro: Mark
Hallman and Robert McEntee, guitars and keyboards; Rob Galloway, bass; Michael Wooten, drums; Miguel Rivera, percussion;
Richard Hardy, flute & sax. (Ernie Watts is the only holdover from the early 70s.) The result is mostly bland soft-rock
with innumerable guitar overdubs (even Carole adds 12-string to the Kansas-style "Hold On") and humdrum electric
keyboards. The lyrics also tend to ramble, and the lowpoints end up being close to unlistenable ("God Only Knows" drags
on for six minutes, "One" is a pastiche of clichés). The fairly successful single was "Hard Rock Cafe," a silly
"La Bamba" take-off with fake partiers overdubbed. The good news is the brief opening title track, with an inventive string
arrangement (by King), and the stripped-down ballad "Time Alone." Her least commercially successful effort since her
1970 debut, and a big disappointment for her fans. (DBW)
Her first record after parting ways with Epic's Ode label and producer Lou Adler. (JA)
Welcome Home (1978)
King's career was in real trouble by now: this one neither scored a hit single nor went gold, and the pattern continued with her subsequent album. (JA)
Again, Navarro was the band and Kinney co-produced. At this point, King was living in the Colorado mountains with third
husband Rick Evers (who co-wrote three of these songs) in something approaching a commune.
Sonically, the album shows no trace of hippietivity:
it's King's usual crisp pop, mixing uptempo rock ("Main Street Saturday Night") and introspective ballads ("Sunbird"); she even dabbles in disco on the appropriately robotic "Disco Tech," which I don't think is a parody. The lyrics, though, are often mawkish ("Wings Of Love") and Far-Out ("Venusian Diamond"), while the celebrations of her new alternative lifestyle (title track) seem sadly delusional, considering that Evers overdosed on heroin shortly after the album was recorded. The real problem, though, is extreme blahness: there's one memorable tune, the uplifting "Everybody's Got The Spirit," and even that's unexceptional by King's standard, while banalities like "Changes" and "Ride The Music" show no indication of her talent whatsoever.
Touch The Sky (1979)
This time Kinney was out, and King co-produced with Hallman. Recorded in Texas with Jerry Jeff Walker's country-pop
backup band, and the result is perhaps King's sparest, most intimate record ever. Unfortunately, it's also one of her
least inspired, with the condescending country-rocker "Good Mountain People" and a string of forgettable ballads like
"Walk With Me (I'll Be Your Companion)."
The high point is the melodic, charming "Time Gone By" - an unapologetic hippie "save the world" number.
I misplaced this disc while working on this review; full review coming when I find it.
In a last-ditch attempt to recapture commercial success, King reverted to her winning strategy of covering 60s Goffin & King compositions, this time recording a whole album full of them. Commercially it was a mixed success: the single "One Fine Day" was her biggest hit in years, but the record still failed to crack the Top 40 or go gold. Mark Hallman co-produces with King again, and they don't seem to have a lot
of ideas, recording many of the tracks close to their 60s versions only with less forceful vocals ("One Fine Day," which is a such a solid composition it comes across anyway; "Oh No Not My Baby"). Worse, "Locomotion" has a droning disco beat that flattens any excitement out of the tune. The one nice surprise is "Snow Queen" (from The City's album), done as a jazz waltz closely recalling John Coltrane's version of "My Favorite Things."
Musicians include Hallman, Rivera, and Hardy held over from Navarro, and Larkey returns; the biggest name guest is Christopher Cross (!) who adds rhythm guitar to a couple of tracks. This is now available on CD, but I wouldn't recommend hunting it down except for big-time fans. (DBW)
"Goin' Back" and even "Hi-De-Ho" were among the victims, but Tapestry avoided being disgraced. (JA)
One To One (1982)
By now King had been dropped by Capitol records, and she signed with Atlantic. (JA)
Certainly the best record of King's "lost years" between the mid-70s and the early 90s, with lots of her signature simple singalongs ("(Love Is Like A) Boomerang"; "It's A War"). She cover all her familiar styles: the downbeat ballad "Read
Between The Lines"; the starry-eyed love song "Golden Man";
the bouncy call-out "Lookin' Out For Number One." Oh, and the spunky country-rocker "Goat Annie," a sort of companion piece to "Smackwater Jack" in which we learn you can talk to a woman with a shotgun in her hand. Though the disc was cut in Texas with holdovers like Hallman, Larkey and McEntee
(plus Reese Wynans on keys), the sound is very LA cool, more like a Quincy Jones production or
a Brenda Russell record than the intimate releases of King's key period. But otherwise it's
close to the same level, with lots of strong material (title track, written with Cynthia Weil) only a couple of weak cuts ("Life Without Love," by Gerry and Louise Goffin;
the meandering "Little Prince").
Speeding Time (1983)
King's first album to prominently feature synthesizers - mostly programmed and played by son-in-law Robbie Kondor - fails for exactly the opposite reason as Joni Mitchell's contemporaneous Dog Eat
Dog: where Mitchell's synth palette was noisy and intrusive, King's
was bland and featureless. As a result, tunes like "One Small Voice" and
"Sacred Heart Of Stone" lack the vitality and sincerity that might have
put them over. Other compositions - "Computer Eyes," "Dancing" - are so
directionless no arrangement could have saved them. Thus, the record's
best moments are the most acoustic: "So Ready For Love" is a pleasant
slow number - with a swaying chorus, massed backup vocals (all by King),
and an intriguing wandering middle - if you ignore the lame
synth-harmonica solo. There are a few more fun moments, including
a tender fade on the title track, and nice bass runs from Bob Glaub on
the album-closing mini-suite "Alabaster Lady." Lyrically the disc is
split between predictable collections of platitudes ("Standin' On The
Borderline," Gerry Goffin's "Sacred Heart Of Stone") and odd,
impressionistic word paintings ("Chalice Borealis," written by King and
Rick Sorenson; "Alabaster Lady"). The underused rhythm section includes
Russ Kunkel and Bobbye Hall; Lee Ritenour plays most of the guitars.
After this disc flopped, King set up house in Idaho and spent several years out of the fray.
City Streets (1989)
A high-profile comeback attempt on Capitol, with Eric Clapton guesting on a couple of tracks, but
it's as bland as Eric's too-smooth solos (title track). With slick,
unimaginative production, her tunes sound completely ordinary even when
the melodies are good ("Lovelight"), and are soft-rock dreck otherwise
("Down To The Darkness"). The stripped-down "I Can't Stop Thinking About
You" effectively recreates her Seventies sound, and when that's the best
thing you can say about a record you know you're in trouble - it's a
disappointing, overly calculated effort. The polished studio band
includes Omar Hakim, Sammy Figueroa, Jerry Bralower, Wayne Pedzwater on
bass, and Kondor; Branford Marsalis
guests on "Midnight Flyer." Produced by King and Rudy Guess. (DBW)
A very careful attempt at a comeback, with guest stars like Eric Clapton. It also marks her return to
Capitol records. I've seen it frequently in the stores but haven't
picked it up yet. (JA)
Colour Of Your Dreams (1993)
- Again produced by King and Guess, but this time they didn't try to follow trends (very little synth) and they wound up with a very listenable, enjoyable small record.
King's singing is full-voiced and prominent, and there's a lot of variety to the arrangements: a slide guitar solo on "Standing In The Rain," mandolin on the title track, a funky guitar/bass vamp on "Do You Feel Love," while the opening "Lay Down My Life" gently builds from a piano hook and click track to a cathartic crescendo.
The piece de resistance is "It's Never Too Late," a lovely tune (co-written with Gerry Goffin) that cleverly recalls Tapestry both lyrically and musically, with a bare-bones arrangement and King providing her own harmonies just like her version of "Natural Woman."
While King was at it, she decided to imitate a number of other famous 70s acts: "Friday's Tie-Dye Nightmare" is a country-western tune with Dylanesque shaggy dog lyrics; "Just One Thing" is a Springsteenian mini-epic with the requisite references to dead-end streets and "the night"; King's vocal on "Hold Out For Love" recalls Rickie Lee Jones, of all people.
But the lifts play more like tributes than ripoffs, and it's endearing. There are problems, though: almost every song is too long, and there are some generic tearjerkers ("Tears Falling Down On Me," "Now And Forever" from the League Of Their Own soundtrack).
But don't let that stop you if you liked King's 70s work. Kondor is the only familiar player, and Slash (adding guitar to "Hold Out") is the only notable guest. (DBW)
- Some of the tunes are admirable ("Lay Down My Life"; the blaring, gospeley "Hold Out"), her voice is strong, and she's surprisingly energetic on the tension-building "Do You Feel Love," the updated Rod Stewart-style title track, and the embarassing roadhouse country-blues "Tie-Dye Nightmare."
And she does succeed in reviving her classic sound on "It's Never Too Late" (a clever retort to "It's Too Late" that also strongly recalls high-period Aretha Franklin).
But King's approach is even more sentimental than usual ("Wishful Thinking"; "Just One Thing"), and John Humphrey's atmospheric fretless-style bass and the occasional use of shrill synth and echoey electronic drums give her a tedious mid-80s sound (although Humphrey is impressive on "Do You Feel Love").
Guess plays guitar; they use several drummers. (JA)
In Concert (1994)
A current concert recording. Hard rock phenom Slash guest stars and adds just a little vitality, but generally it's a predictable, by-the-numbers effort, with an overlarge band including multiple backing vocalists, and a track selection focusing relentlessly on Tapestry and other records of that era.
Crosby and Nash show up to harmonize somewhat blandly on a version of "You've Got A Friend," but the gimmick seems crass because her standard live version is presented just two tracks earlier. (JA)
Love Makes The World (2001)
Another comeback attempt; the approach is the low-key, back-to-the-70s approach that's currently in vogue (see Elton John), and
because King's voice is as lovely and soothing as ever, it works wonders when the material is good ("Safe Again"; a remake of "Oh No Not My Baby" with just King and Charlie Larkey).
Unfortunately, most of the tunes are routine, relying heavily on platitudes ("It Could Have Been Anyone," "You Can Do Anything" written and sung with Babyface - musically a remake of the Backstreet Boys' "As Long As You Love Me").
When she does pump up the volume, the result is shiny corporate rock ("Monday Without You," which proves that ripping off Fleetwood Mac's late 70s sound isn't as easy as it sounds;
"I Don't Know").
Part of the blame for the impersonal lyrics must go to unreconstructed hacks Carole Bayer Sager and David Foster, who contributed a few co-writes.
Guests include Celine Dion ("The Reason," so overblown yet vacant it fits Dion perfectly), Wynton Marsalis ("I Wasn't Gonna Fall In Love") and
k.d. lang ("An Uncommon Love").
I have this one too, and Wilson's assessment seems on the mark. (JA)
The Living Room Tour (2005)
A live double-CD, with a healthy selection of early hits ("Chains"; "Pleasant Valley Sunday") and
recent soundtrack work ("Now And Forever"), nothing from the late 70s or 80s,
and of course massive doses of Tapestry ("It's Too Late"; "You've Got A Friend").
There are also two new songs: the drab ballad "Loving You Forever" and the slight intro "Welcome To My Living Room."
King's voice and piano dominates, with occasional backing from Rudy Guess and Gary Burr (guitar, bass and vocals) and some vocals from daughters Sherry Goffin Kondor and
Louise Goffin, who duets on a politically corrected "Where You Lead (I Will Follow)."
The spare presentation sure has an intimate charm, but it also precludes her from including any of her more adventurous material (nothing from Writer, while only "Being At War With Each Other" represents Fantasy). In addition, I could have done without so many sluggish late period love songs ("Wishful Thinking"), and the rushed 60s medley ending Disc One is devastatingly perfunctory.
I have no idea whether there's anything here that's better than the Carnegie Hall or In Concert discs, but it's certainly harmless.
Live At The Troubadour (Carole King and James Taylor: 2010)
Recorded in 2007, with backing from Kortchmar, Kunkel and Sklar. (DBW)
A Holiday Carole (2011)