Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

Tapestry – Carole King


Carole King was first a songwriter and then a musician and with Gerry Goffin, for awhile her husband, forged a writing partnership which stamped it’s influence all over the music world.

As a recording artist she is best known for her 1971 album “Tapestry” the album featured several of their songs already made famous by other artists particularily (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman which Aretha Franklin has aleady claimed as one of her signature tunes.

The album has recently been re-released with an additional CD of solo live performances of the album, here is a review taken from Amazon.

“This nth reissue of Carole King’s second solo LP titled “Tapestry” (originally released In May 1971 in the USA) includes solely the tracks featured on the original LP (there are no “bonus” tracks.)

Epic/Legacy (King’s former label) presents this release as a way to celebrate Carole King’s fifty year career as a recording artist (her first single, “The Right Girl”, was released in May 1958 by ABC.) However, this sounds like good, old, plain corporate hype designed to sell – again – an album that has already been re-released to death. My view is vindicated by the official Carole King website where the accent is put on another live 2-disc set titled “The Living-Room Tour” released on CD in 2005 and now available as a 2-DVD set.

It is nevertheless true that “Tapestry” – along with a few other seminal LP offerings by the likes of James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, the CSN&Y foursome, etc. (you name them!) – truly defined the singer-songwriter genre.
It is for its formidable musical achievements that this album sold upwards of 20 million copies worldwide while also winning Carole King four major Grammy awards. Nowadays, it remains everyy bit as fresh as it did in 1971. I recall being stunned by the quality of the work (compositions, singing, arrangements) when I bought my copy on the A&M/Ode UK label. The album was also a fairly big hit in the UK (topping at #24 in the UK LP charts.)

The “Tapestry” album boasts another “new” remastering by Vic Anesini and Jim Irwin. By the way, those two already remastered the 1999 Epic/Legacy re-release (which included two bonus tracks). In my opinion, you will need truly golden ears and a hi-fi to boot to hear any sonic improvement. The dedicated “audiophiles” will probably have opted for the 2006 SACD version, which was also remastered by – you guessed it – Anesini and Irwin. By the way, I reckon that this team has done wonders when reissuing dozens of albums of essential music from the past, either for Columbia/Epic or for Irwin’s own “Sundazed” label. Their sonic achievements are always of the highest order. Their only rivals, regarding reissues, are the guys from Rhino (who are working for Warner!) Anyway, there are only so much new remasterings that you can use.

To entice you to buy this 2-CD set, the second CD includes previously unreleased live, solo performances of the original studio “Tapestry” tracks. The producers have chosen to sequence the live tracks like the original studio album.

It is fair to consider the second album like some kind of “unplugged” CD. This material was recorded live 1973 and 1976 in various US venues. This type of release “from the vaults” has gathered some success of late (think of Neil Young’s “Massey hall 1971” or Stephen Stills’ “Just Roll Tape.”) And, of course, it is enjoyable to hear Carole King’s recorded in this context during her heyday.

Personally, I would have much more appreciated to see the new live tracks released separately from “Tapestry” on their own CD.

For the prospective buyer, there is also another fact to consider. In 1996, Epic/Legacy already released “The Carnegie Hall Concert” (from June 18, 1971.). This solo concert features James Taylor as “special guest” on… “You’ve got a Friend.”
Besides, this CD boasts a more generous track selection (19 songs, although three of them are performed as a 7’46” medley.) The latter album includes 10 interpretations of tunes from “Tapestry” (“Where You Lead” and “Tapestry” are the only two missing.) The inclusion of lesser-known (but very good) songs from “Writer” (King’s first solo album, 1970) and from “Now That Everything’s Been Said” (the 1969 LP she recorded as a member of the City) makes for a more interesting, varied aural experience. By now you must probably be convinced that Anesini and Irwin mastered this one too. Well, you are right!

However good the music on this 2-CD set, I cannot help to find that it will be mostly of interest to collectors. This explains the missing star in my rating”

Carole King is now in her late 60’s but going by her recent appearance on Jools Holland the voice is still there.

Here she is with James Taylor with the sublime “You’ve Got A Friend”

Now for Amy Winehouse and her take on “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”

……………….finally the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin


For more information on Carole King click HERE

To buy Carole King music click HERE

April 13, 2009 Posted by | Video | , , , , | 1 Comment

Easter – Patti Smith


Easter Monday gives me a great excuse to post about my favourite Patti Smith album “Easter”….yes I do prefer it to “Horses” though it is a close call.

The album was released in 1978 and is perhaps best known for the song “Because The Night”

The original song was recorded by Bruce Springsteen during sessions for his Darkness on the Edge of Town album. The Patti Smith Group was working on Easter in the studio next door, and the bands were exchanging tapes; Springsteen even composed some songs in the other band’s style. With male-centered lyrics and a reported Latin feel, the original version of the song – a workingman’s lament – wasn’t finding a place on the Springsteen album. Smith took the song and recast it from a female perspective, and it was included on Easter, becoming the first single release from that album. Though it was never released on a Springsteen studio album, in concert beginning with his Darkness Tour Springsteen would often perform the song with his original lyrics, borrowing Smith’s rock arrangement. The only commercially-released recording of a Springsteen version of the song was included on Live/1975–85

Now for my favourite track from the album for the players and management of Dumbarton FC here is “‘Till Victory”

“‘Till Victory” – Patti Smith Group

Raise the sky.
We got to fly over the land, over the sea.
Fate unwinds and if we die, souls arise.
God, do not seize me please, till victory.

Take arms. Take aim. Be without shame
No one to bow to, to vow to, to blame.
Legions of light, virtuous flight. Ignite, excite.

And you will see us coming, V formation, through the sky.
Film survives. Eyes cry.
On the hill, hear us call through a realm of sound.
Oh, oh-oh. Down and down.
Down and round, oh, down and round.
Round and round, oh, round and round.

Rend the veil and we shall sail.
The nail, the grail: That’s all behind thee.
In deed, in creed, the curve of our speed.
And we believe that we will raise the sky.
We got to fly over the land, over the sea.
Fate unwinds and if we die, souls arise.
God, do not seize me please, till victory.

Victory. Till victory. [repeat]


For more information on Patti Smith click HERE

To buy Patti Smith music click HERE

April 13, 2009 Posted by | Old Music, Video | , | Leave a comment


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