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Tapestry (Legacy Edition)

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Editors’ Notes

Carole King’s Grammy-winning second solo album, 1971’s Tapestry, virtually defined the singer-songwriter of the 1970s. Its warm, intimate tone, the simple, piano-based arrangements and the genuine “living room” feel of the album captured a moment in time. Finally seated centerstage, King unleashed the perfect song cycle, including songs she’d given to others (The Shirelles’ “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” Aretha Franklin “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”), and new compositions destined to become immediate classics (“It’s Too Late,” “So Far Away” and “You’ve Got a Friend,” which would become a hit for James Taylor who played on the album’s sessions). This special edition includes a live solo piano version of the album recorded between 1973 and 1976 in Boston, Columbia, Maryland, NYC’s Central Park and San Francisco). Only “Where You Lead” is not featured; King was not performing that tune live at the time. The additional live versions offer a chance to hear what these songs sounded like to producer Lou Adler when he first auditioned King’s demos. It presents a complete picture of an album that’s become a landmark recording.

Customer Reviews


I have owned this album since 1971, everyone should own it. It is by far a work of art.

Seminal singer-songwriter LP augmented with live tracks

At the time of this album’s 1971 release, Carole King had long since proven herself one of America’s greatest pop songwriters, but she had yet to be fully recognized as a performer. It wasn’t for a lack of trying. Early in her career she’d released a few singles from her perch at the legendary Brill Building, including the minor hit “It Might As Well Rain Until September.” She’d also produced a smattering of titles for the Dimension and Tomorrow labels in the mid-60s, an album with the group The City in 1969, and her solo debut, Writer, in 1970. The latter held many charms, but found King singing her way past rock ‘n’ roll backings or fitting herself into country rock. Writer's variety is broader than the piano-centered productions of Tapestry, but neither the upbeat numbers nor the placid ballads of King's debut proved the expressive jazz-tinged singer-songwriter vehicles of this sophomore breakthrough. Presciently, Writer’s closing cover of “Up on the Roof” did point the way to Tapestry, taking what had been a signature 1962 performance by The Drifters and rearranging its Latin beat and swirling strings into an introspective piano ballad. It’s the same magic King performed in transforming the searching adolescence of the Shirelles’ “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” into the thoughtful worry-wonder of a woman on the brink of thirty. The feats are all the more impressive for the lyrics having been written when King was barely twenty-years-old herself, writing for commercial acceptance on AM radio rather than pure self expression. Here, as throughout Tapestry, King’s piano is the instrumental focus, allowing her to emote through her voice and fingers in parallel. The funky opener, “I Feel the Earth Move,” finds King’s vocals equally at home up-tempo. Her emancipated expression is breathtaking, and a bluesy piano solo enhances the euphoric freedom. Such openly emotional writing would be cloying in less talented hands, but King was not only an expert wordsmith, but a definitive interpreter of her own material. Her gospel-tinged version of “You’ve Got a Friend” is heavier than James Taylor’s contemporaneous single, amplifying both the pain and relief of the song’s lyrics, and the closing take of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” is stripped of Aretha Franklin’s arrangement and supported instead by King’s piano playing and an overdubbed backing vocal. The spare instrumentation brings this closer to a songwriter's demo, but King's performance finds a dedication to the lyrics that reclaims her stake in the song. In addition to re-imagined versions of earlier songs, King composed intimate new works of relationships being strained (“So Far Way”) and broken (“It’s Too Late”), loneliness (“Home Again”), salvation (“Way Over Yonder”) and faithfulness (“Where You Lead”). It’s only with “Smackwater Jack” and the album’s title track that King took to more fictional abandon. The sum total of Tapestry swept the 1971 Grammys, netting King awards for Album of the and Pop Vocal Performance, as well as Record of the Year ( “It’s Too Late”) and Song of the Year (“You’ve Got a Friend”). The album launched “It’s Too Late” to the top of the charts, and followed with “So Far Away” as a top twenty. Both singles’ B-sides, “I Feel the Earth Move” and “Smackwater Jack,” got their share of airplay, with the album peaking at #1 at the start of a six-year stay on the charts. Legacy’s two-CD reissue features the original album on disc one, and a second disc of live takes recorded at various locations in 1973 and 1976. The eleven tracks of disc two repeat the Tapestry song list, save “Where You Lead,” whose lyrics King had deemed servile, and left off her set list. Over the years, this material was performed in a variety of musical settings, but Legacy has selected arrangements featuring only voice and piano. There's not much distance between Lou Adler’s lean arrangements for the original album and these solo takes, but removing the intermediation of studio recording pushes King even closer to her songs. She adds an occasional inflection to her melodies, but what really sets these performances apart is the communication with her audience. The songs are transformed from interior expressions of a songwriter to vehicles for sharing emotions and responses. King really digs into her songs on stage, bringing the sleeper “Beautiful” fully to life and adding extra passion to “Way Over Yonder.” As on the original album her “covers” of songs made into hits by others reveal new emotional layers. “You’ve Got a Friend” spurs King to vocal exclamation, and “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” is sung with a declarative force that’s in startling contrast to its intimate lyric. Even more so than on the studio versions you get a hear King’s singing and playing as natural expressions. Running the live tracks in the same order as the album suggests just how carefully the album was sequenced; but what isn’t shown here is how these songs fit into King’s larger live set. It’s also interesting to note that none of these tracks were selected from tours that promoted Tapestry itself; they’re all from subsequent album tours. Those who purchased earlier versions of Tapestry will enjoy the new light shed by the live tracks; they can be purchased individually from on-line download services. Those picking up their first Tapestry CD may also want to reach back to the 1999 reissue for the bonus track “Out in the Cold,” likewise available as a download. This latter track is reputed to be a Tapestry outtake, though its provenance remains disputed. Legacy’s deluxe gatefold digipack includes new liner notes by Harvey Kubernick, period photos from the recording sessions, and song-by-song lyrics and instrumental credits. This is a superb reintroduction of one of the 1970s most endearing and enduring albums. [©2008 hyperbolium dot com]

Where you Lead

i love that song so much although the first time i heard it was on gilmore girls i love them too


Born: February 9, 1942 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

While the landmark Tapestry album earned her superstar status, singer/songwriter Carole King had already firmly established herself as one of pop music's most gifted and successful composers, with work recorded by everyone from the Beatles to Aretha Franklin. Born Carole Klein on February 9, 1942, in Brooklyn, New York, she began playing piano at the age of four, and formed her first band, the vocal quartet the Co-Sines, while in high school. A devotee of the composing team of Jerry Lieber and Mike...
Full Bio
Tapestry (Legacy Edition), Carole King
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  • $14.99
  • Genres: Pop, Music, Pop/Rock, Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Soft Rock
  • Released: Mar 1971

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