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
Amchitka: the 1970 concert that launched Greenpeace
11.28.2009
03:46 pm

Topics:
Heroes

Tags:
Joni Mitchell
James Taylor
Greenpeace

image
 
As someone who has spent many years acquiring rare Joni Mitchell bootlegs, I can tell you, there’s not a lot out there. I’m sure that many live recordings exist of Mitchell from all eras of her career, but not a lot of them have slipped out to traders (in comparison to Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd or the Grateful Dead where there are hundreds and hundreds of live concerts floating around the Internet). When music business blogger Bob Lefsetz sent out a missive the other day about Entertainment Weekly having an exclusive on a 1970 Joni Mitchell duet with James Taylor streaming from their website, well, “click” I was there. The duet begins with Mitchell solo, performing Carey then segueing into Dylan’s Mr. Tambourine Man. She playfully forgets the lyrics before calling on Sweet Baby James to help her out. It’s sheer delight.

This sublime moment—one of many—is taken from a new 2 CD set (with book) called Amchitka: the 1970 concert that launched Greenpeace and you can buy it directly from Greenpeace here (I don’t think it’s in stores or Amazon). The show took place on October 16, 1970 in Vancouver, British Columbia and was organized by lawyer/activist Irving Stowe, a man often called the father of Greenpeace. The goal of the evening was to raise enough money to buy a boat to transport activists to Amchitka, Alaska to protest the nuclear testing the US government was doing there at the time. It was to be the very first Greenpeace action

Intense folk singer Phil Ochs starts the set, after some passionate introductory words from Irving Stowe. He is followed by Taylor, who was just hitting the big time and is announced as a special surprise guest. Mitchell, then coming off her million selling third album, Ladies of the Canyon, but still nine months before her masterpiece Blue, was the bill’s topper. In 1970, Joni Mitchell was probably the biggest selling female artist in the world—surely she was the most important—and it has been said of her that she was the midwife to the birth of Greenpeace. 39 years later, both she and James Taylor (and the estate of Phil Ochs) are donating their royalties from sales of the CD directly to Greenpeace.

If you want to sample it first, the entire set is streaming from the Amchitka website—click on Music, then click on the link that says “Play List and Streaming”—but don’t be cheap, the 2 CD set, with 48 page booklet is only $21 from Greenpeace and you’ll be supporting a worthy cause. Makes a great Christmas gift because it gives twice!

Footage from the Greenpeace’s maiden voyage:

 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Rudy Wurlitzer: Two-Lane Blacktop And Beyond

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In reference to Rudy Wurlitzer‘s ‘69 debut, Nog, none other than Thomas Pynchon said: “The novel of bullshit is dead.””  A not bad start for Wurlitzer, the sole member of the piano-making clan who never saw a dime (or not many) from his family name.

Tracing the often-psychedelic wanderlust of its title character who was either insane or drug-addicted (or both), Nog brought Wurlitzer a certain degree of fame as a novelist, but he’s perhaps best known, and celebrated, for his screenwriting.  His collaboration with Sam Peckinpah yielded the Bob Dylan-scored Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.  Two years before that, though, he and Monte Hellman pulled off one of my all-time cinematic favorites, Two-Lane Blacktop.

Starring James Taylor and Dennis Wilson (both looking shockingly boyish) as eternally drifting drivers, Two-Lane featured sparse dialogue and even sparser performances.  Visually, though, it’s pure poetry, and, to me, a still-vital piece of American existentialism—especially in its final moment.  The trailer for Two-Lane follows below.

And just up at Chuck Palahniuk‘s website, an excellent, yet typically elusive, interview with Wurlitzer where he discusses everything from Dylan to Pynchon.  Regarding his new-ish novel, The Drop Edge of Yonder, Wurlitzer also addresses, politely, “l’affaire de Jim Jarmusch.”  Apparently, the director “pillaged” from Wurlitzer the raw material he’d later shape into Dead Man.  You can read the interview here.

 
See also in Arthur Magazine: ON THE DRIFT: Rudy Wurlitzer and the Road to Nowhere

Written by Bradley Novicoff | Discussion