may 2008

Carole King

One of the landmarks fueling the singer-songwriter era in the early '70s, Carole King's Tapestry remains what it always has been: a wondrous exhibit of impeccably tailored songs, subtle arrangements that left King's earthy voice and churchy piano out front, and plainspoken, commanding vocals reliant for power not on bombast or virtuoso octave leaps, but rather on their heart-to-heart, conversational tone. This reissue adds nothing musical to the original album-no bonus tracks or alternative versions, only a remastered, sonically righteous edition of the 1971 masterpiece. The adventure is in hearing the old songs anew, with fresh ears and from the vantagepoint of time. "I Feel the Earth Move" is still a perfect, rocking album opener, as fresh as ever, but more introspective moments, such as the hymn-like confession of naked yearning, "Home Again," and another midtempo discourse on romantic dislocation, "So Far Away," seem ever more piercing in expressing timeless longings for the simple comforts of home and a loving heart abiding therein. It's also nice to hear "You've Got a Friend" in its stately, captivating, original incarnation, with a discreet string section rising about halfway through to underscore the sincerity of King's benevolent commitment, as opposed to the ensuing horrors inflicted on the song by innumerable witless pop and cabaret singers. The years have also given the personal intimacies of the title song a deeper resonance, to the point where it now stands as, arguably, the most meaningful moment on the album. In the context of reassessment, King's covers of mega-hits she wrote for others—"Will You Love Me Tomorrow?" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman"—are even more impressive for their bold, forthright female viewpoints. Disc two is a live version of the studio album, performed in sequence, with King accompanied only by her church-steeped piano stylings and emotionally charged vocals, seamlessly assembled from concerts recorded in 1973 and 1976. Her live vocals have an appealing ragged edge (King sounds a bit hoarse at times, actually), which works to her advantage in making the songs' lyrical depth all the more riveting—a remarkable performance of an album a generation embraced as one of its defining statements. King's producer, the great Lou Adler, enhances the package immeasurably—no small feat, that—by contributing track-by-track anecdotes recounting the history of the songs and the sessions.—David McGee

Founder/Publisher/Editor: David McGee
Contributing Editors: Billy Altman, Derk Richardson
Logo Design: John Mendelsohn (
Website Design: Kieran McGee (
Staff Photographers: Audrey Harrod (Louisville, KY;, Alicia Zappier (New York)
Mailing Address: David McGee, 201 W. 85 St.—5B, New York, NY 10024