Carole King ‘In Concert,’ 1971
02.09.2014
04:57 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Carole King
James Taylor


 

Singer-songwriter and general force of nature, the great Carole King turns 71 today.

King’s first solo record, 1970’s Writer, was a commercial flop, but the following year, her Tapestry album captured the public’s attention, worldwide. Tapestry‘s laid-back, folksy, very feminine-centered compositions—something still quite “new” then, Joni Mitchell was also breaking big around this same time—saw the record become an immediate chart success. The lead-off single from the album, “It’s Too Late”/“I Feel The Earth Move” was number 1 on the Billboard charts for five weeks. The confessional Tapestry was nominated for four Grammy awards and King was given statues for Album of the Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Record of the Year (“It’s Too Late”) and Song of the Year (“You’ve Got a Friend”).

Tapestry went on to become one of the top-selling record albums in history. In fact, with well over 25 million copies sold worldwide, 10 million in the US alone, the album was the first to be certified “diamond.” Its sales tallies have been bested only by Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

Its chart run, holding down the #1 rank for an incredible fifteen weeks was the record for a female solo artist for over 40 years until Tapestry was surpassed by Adele’s worldwide blockbuster 21 in 2012. All in all Tapestry has been on the Billboard Top 200 for over 300 weeks between 1971 and 2011.

I’ve actually purchased Tapestry on three formats over the years on vinyl, CD and then twice on two different SACD releases (I’m forever searching for “the best version” of something). It’s one of the most essential albums I own. How could anyone not like Carole King???

In 1971, Carole King taped an amazing live studio set—more or less “unplugged” before such a concept existed—for the BBC’s In Concert series, with James Taylor on acoustic guitar.

Set list: “I Feel the Earth Move,” “(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman,” “So Far Away,” “It’s Too Late,” “Smackwater Jack,” “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” and “Up on the Roof.”

I was absolutely floored by the quality of this set. I hope you will be, too.
 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
A Natural Woman: Carole King ‘In Concert,’ 1971
01.28.2013
08:43 am

Topics:
Feminism
Heroes
Music
Television

Tags:
Carole King
James Taylor


 
(I posted this once before, but the video was pulled off YouTube just a couple of hours later. In light of the Joni Mitchell post last week being so popular, here it is again.)

Singer-songwriter Carole King’s first solo record, 1970’s Writer, was a commercial flop, but the following year, her Tapestry album captured the public’s attention, worldwide. Tapestry‘s laid-back, folksy, very feminine-centered compositions—something still quite “new” then, Joni Mitchell was also breaking big around this same time—saw the record become an immediate chart success. The lead-off single from the album, “It’s Too Late”/“I Feel The Earth Move” was number 1 on the Billboard charts for five weeks. The confessional Tapestry was nominated for four Grammy awards and King was given statues for Album of the Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Record of the Year (“It’s Too Late”) and Song of the Year (“You’ve Got a Friend”).

Tapestry went on to become one of the top-selling record albums in history. In fact, with well over 25 million copies sold worldwide, 10 million in the US alone, the album was the first to be certified “diamond.” Its sales tallies have been bested only by Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

Its chart run, holding down the #1 rank for an incredible fifteen weeks was the record for a female solo artist for over 40 years until Tapestry was surpassed by Adele’s worldwide blockbuster 21 in 2012. All in all Tapestry has been on the Billboard Top 200 for over 300 weeks between 1971 and 2011.

I’ve actually purchased Tapestry on three formats over the years on vinyl, CD and then twice on two different SACD releases (I’m forever searching for the best version of something). It’s one of the most essential albums I own. How could anyone not like Carole King???

In 1971, Carole King taped an amazing live studio set—more or less “unplugged” before such a concept existed—for the BBC’s In Concert series, with James Taylor on acoustic guitar.

Set list: “I Feel the Earth Move,” “(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman,” “So Far Away,” “It’s Too Late,” “Smackwater Jack,” “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” and “Up on the Roof.”

I was absolutely floored by the quality of this set. I hope you will be, too.
 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
An elegy for Davy Jones: Carole King’s demo for ‘Porpoise Song’
03.01.2012
08:32 am

Topics:
Music
R.I.P.

Tags:
Monkees
Carole King
Davy Jones

image
 
In light of the unexpected passing of Monkee Davy Jones, here’s Carole King’s original demo for Head’s “Porpoise Song” (co-written by Gerry Goffin). The Gregorian chant thing she’s got going here (it’s the Mass of the Dead, remember this was the song playing during Micky Dolenz’s “suicidal” jump off the bridge in the beginning of the film) seems like a fitting thing to post in Jones’ honor.

Sound quality is what it is, but no matter, this is still pretty amazing. Listen LOUD!
 

 
Thank you Simon Wells!

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
‘Basketball Jones’: 1974 Cheech and Chong cartoon

image
 
“Basketball Jones” was a song/routine/character from Cheech and Chong’s 1973 Los Cochinos (“The Pigs”) record. The original album cover had a secret compartment where you could see how they smuggled pot, sandwiched in their car door. I bought this LP at a garage sale when I was about ten and just starting to get into comedy albums. I only half understood the idea of “drugs” at the time, I’m pretty sure, so I can’t imagine a Cheech and Chong album made much sense to me at that age. But I loved the routine “Basketball Jones” by Tyrone Shoelaces & Rap Brown Jr. H.S.” and would go around singing the musical part of it like ten-year-olds do.

The song is about teenager Tyrone (as in “tie your own”) Shoelaces and his love of basketball sung in a falsetto voice by Cheech Marin. It’s catchy as hell, but small wonder, dig the backing band: George Harrison, Klaus Voorman, Carole King, Nicky Hopkins, Tom Scott, Billy Preston, Darlene Love, Ronnie Spector and Michelle Phillips. The animation is by Paul Gruwell and was made in 1974.

This cartoon has also made some impressive Hollywood cameos over the years, in Robert Altman’s California Split, Hal Ashby’s Being There and in the 70s underground comedy Tunnel Vision. It was also parodied in a 2011 episode of The Simpsons (”A Midsummer’s Nice Dream”).
 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion