Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Carole King - Tapestry (1971)

I have the 1999 reissue with two previously unreleased bonus tracks.

Landmark album. Everywhere I see the title of this album, it's almost always preceded by those two words. That's because it is a landmark album. I'm a sucker for '70s soft pop, but that's beside the point. This album was groundbreaking not only because of the great pop music, but because it was a huge step forward for female singer/songwriters. This record won 4 Grammy Awards: Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female. The production is sparse, but intimate and perfect. Check out the tasty flute solo on So Far Away or the soprano saxophone solo on It's Too Late to see what I mean. Everything is just right. Sequencing is perfect. In the liner notes, James Taylor says that the record industry at that time "was a labor of love in the service of the music." Man, what I wouldn't give for that to be true again. In 2003, the album was ranked number 36 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Simply put, if you can't appreciate this album, I don't really care to know you.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #1 (15 weeks, June 19 - Sept 25, 1971)

Tracks: I love all the hits, including I Feel The Earth Move (#1), So Far Away (#14), It's Too Late (#1, Record of the Year), and You've Got A Friend (Song of the Year). But even the non-singles are fantastic: Home Again, Way Over Yonder, and Tapestry. Then there's King's versions of the music she wrote that were hits for others like Will You Love Me Tomorrow?, a #1 hit for The Shirelles in 1960, and (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, a #8 hit for Aretha Franklin in 1967. These hits take on added meaning when delivered by the composer. Track 8, Where You Lead, later became the theme music for the TV show Gilmore Girls, but I won't hold that against it.

Bonus tracks: Out In The Cold is yet another great pop song that could have easily had a place on the original album. I'm guessing they ran out of room on the vinyl. The other track is a live version of Smackwater Jack which is interesting to listen to at least once because it's just King and her piano.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: This music is reminding me of the AM radio and cold, rainy days in Odessa which is strange because there aren't many rainy days in Odessa.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE this album. Always have. One of the few 8-tracks I remember that was programmed perfectly so no songs were interupted by the big KER-CHUNK! sound as the program changed. Of course, that meant the album's running order was rearranged as it was on so many tapes (original vinyl sequence in parentheses):

    1 (1) I Feel The Earth Move
    2 (8) Where You Lead
    3 (6) Way Over Yonder
    4 (2) So Far Away
    5 (3) It's Too Late
    6 (11) Tapestry
    7 (7) You've Got A Friend
    8 (4) Home Again
    9 (10) Smackwater Jack
    10 (5) Beautiful
    11 (9) Will You Love Me Tomorrow?
    12 (12) (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman