Saturday, 25 May 2013

Classic albums: Carole King - Tapestry

http://www.superseventies.com/oaaa/oaaa_king2.jpg


1. Carole King
2. Tapestry
3. Track listing
4. Lyrics
5. Links

 Carole King


Carol King was born Carol Joan Klein in February 1942 into a Jewish family, and was brought up in Brooklyn. She was encouraged to be musical from a young age, and while still at high school, she showed her musical ambition when she changed her name to Carole King, formed a vocal group, and made some demo records with Paul Simon. At Queens College she met Gerry Goffin; then, in 1959, when still 17, fell pregnant, got married and dropped out of college. King's first released recording was The Right Girl in 1958. A song she wrote and sung herself. The arrangement was by Don Costa, A&M's chief arranger, who would go on to work with Frank Sinatra. In her early teens she had dated Neil Sedaka who later introduced her to Don Kirshner, who signed her up as a part-time staff writer for Aldon Music at 1650 Broadway opposite the Brill Building.  Sedaka had a hit in 1959 with "Oh! Carol", to which Goffin wrote a humorous but unsuccessful "answer song", "Oh! Neil", which King sang. Holding down day jobs. Goffin and King worked in a cubicle office at Aldon Music in the evening, writing songs. However, after writing "Will You Love Me Tomorrow", which topped the American charts in 1960 in a recording by the Shirelles, they were able to give up the daytime jobs in order to concentrate on writing. The story is that on hearing the song, before it was even recorded, Kirshner gave King two cheques for $10,000 - one for her and one for Goffin, and King went round to the science lab where he worked, and told him to take off his lab coat, as they wouldn't need to do their day jobs any more!

During the sixties, with King writing the music and Goffin the lyrics, they wrote a string of classic songs for a variety of artists, such as "Take Good Care of My Baby" for Bobby Vee;  "Up on the Roof" for the Drifters; "Chains", covered by the Beatles; "The Loco-Motion" for their baby-sitter Little Eva; "It Might As Well Rain Until September", which King recorded herself - her first (and only Sixties) hit; "I'm into Something Good" for Herman's Hermits; "Pleasant Valley Sunday" for the Monkees; and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" for Aretha Franklin.

At the end of the Sixties King and Goffin divorced, and effectively stopped writing together. King moved to Laurel Canyon with her two daughters, meeting up with James Taylor and Joni Mitchell, and formed a short-lived group, the City, with her future husband, Charles Larkey. They recorded one indifferent album, Now That Everything's Been Said, which was quickly deleted. She then worked with Taylor on the iconic Sweet Baby James album, and the global hit single "Fire and Rain", playing piano and adding backing vocals. In 1970, she made her first solo album Writer, with Taylor playing guitar and providing backing vocals. The album, consisting mainly of Goffin-King songs, wasn't a success, but then, bringing in Joni Mitchell, Taylor and King worked simultaneously on Taylor's Mud Slide Slim album, and King's Tapestry album, both of them recording their version of King's "You've Got a Friend". King said of the song that she "didn’t write it with James or anybody really specifically in mind. But when James heard it, he really liked it and wanted to record it. At that point when I actually saw James hear it, I watched James hear the song, and his reaction to it, it then became special to me because of him, you know, and the relationship to him. And it is very meaningful in that way, but at the time that I wrote it...again, I almost didn’t write it. When I write my own lyrics, I’m conscious of trying to polish it off, but all the inspiration…really comes from somewhere else.  That was because his album Sweet Baby James was recorded the month before Tapestry was recorded, I think, or even possibly simultaneously. Parts of it were simultaneous. And it was like Sweet Baby James flowed over to Tapestry and it was like one continuous album in my head, you know. We were all just sitting around playing together, and some of them were his songs and some of them were mine.” (When she talked of Sweet Baby James she meant Mud Slide Slim). 

That sequence of recording together from Sweet Baby James to Tapestry was significant. Together, Taylor and King became the new face of singer-songwriting: a homely, familiar, intimate, almost confessional style of writing and performing, that captured the mood of the times, and attracted a new and increasingly powerful audience: women. Their friendship has endured the years, and they have performed and recorded together since reuniting in 2007 for an anniversary concert at The Troubadour, where they had first performed together in 1970.

King's follow-up album Music, was in the same style as Tapestry, and sold well, but didn't transcend in the way that Tapestry did. King has continued to write, record and perform, though has never again quite captured the feel of Tapestry.


Tapestry

The lyrics of the songs, some new written by King, some old - written by her husband Gerry Goffin in the Sixties, unite together like a tapestry to weave a picture of a woman at that point in time, when women were starting to develop a new voice and image for themselves. As this was still the start of the Seventies, that voice was not as strident as it would become, but was poised between being womanly and feminine and creative and loving, and being confident and independent - a position that women appear to have returned to today and find most comfortable.

Her voice is direct, honest, clear, a little strident at times, but somehow that makes it more real. It's a very approachable voice: warm without being gushing; not polished or professional, the voice of a song-writer doing a demo. While not refined, distinguished, or clever, it is a familiar and attractive voice. The perfect voice to carry her own songs, giving them an immediacy and intimacy and familiarity that is invaluable, and part of the success of the Tapestry album. The warm, loose production, which puts emphasis on King's voice and piano, helps the intimacy. The production, however, is more complex than first appears - it is subtle and clever, using a range of instruments and voices to support King in a warm, jazzy style, exemplified well on "It's Too Late".

Supporting musicians are accomplished session players, apart from Joni Mitchell and James Taylor who provide occasional backing vocals.  Some of the same musicians played on Taylor's Mud Slide Slim, which was recorded at the same time, but in a different studio.

Songs


Side One
"I Feel the Earth Move"

The opening track  is a fast, rocking song, with rolling, fast piano and a steady drum beat sung in a simple. direct voice that occasionally can't manage what King wants of it. The openess and honesty of that, the vulnerability of the limitations, and the feel of this being a demo is very engaging. It's fresh and inviting, and prepares the listener for what will be a warm, low key, tender, intimate and honest feeling album.

"So Far Away"

"So Far Away" is a folky, country-rock piece, played with sparse production and sparse instrumentation, with flute and bass giving something of the feel (but not the touch or depth) of Astral Weeks.

"It's Too Late"

"It's Too Late" was released as a single, and became a number one hit. Though Tapestry is mostly noted for the songs as conveyors of lyrical content - and that had been King's role during the Brill Building years, finding the tune to Goffin's words - "It's Too Late" is noteworthy for the instrumental break near the end. There was an interest among rock music writers in 1971 for jazz fusion, and for a groovy, Latin influenced form of what would become known as smooth jazz. King, also, has that interest, and there is a atmospheric section of guitar and piano exchange that is cool and smoky, and really swings. It fits in well with "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" by the Rolling Stones, "Oye Como Va" by Santana, "The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys" by Traffic, and "Riders on the Storm" by the Doors - all recorded around the same time.



Track Listing

Complete album on YouTube

01 00:13 "I Feel the Earth Move"
02 03:11 "So Far Away"
03 07:03 "It's Too Late"
04 10:55 "Home Again"
05 13:21 "Beautiful"
06 16:25 "Way Over Yonder"
07 21:10 "You've Got a Friend"
08 26:15 "Where You Lead"
09 29:31 "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?"
10 33:39 "Smackwater Jack"
11 37:18 "Tapestry"
12 40:29 "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman"


Lyrics

"I Feel The Earth Move"Lyrics and Music: Carole King

I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down, tumbling down
I feel my heart start to trembling
Whenever you're around

Ooh, baby, when I see your face
Mellow as the month of May
Oh, darling, I can't stand it
When you look at me that way

I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down, tumbling down
I feel my heart start to trembling
Whenever you're around

Oh, darling, when you're near me
And you tenderly call my name
I know that my emotions
Are something I just can't tame
I've just got to have you, baby

I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down, tumbling down
I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down
I just lose control
Down to my very soul
I get a hot and cold all over
I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down,
Tumbling down, tumbling down...




"So Far Away"Lyrics and Music: Carole King

So far away
Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore
It would be so fine to see your face at my door
Doesn't help to know you're just time away

Long ago I reached for you and there you stood
Holding you again could only do me good
Oh, how I wish I could
But you're so far away

One more song about moving along the highway
Can't say much of anything that's new
If I could only work this life out my way
I'd rather spend it being close to you

But you're so far away
Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore
It would be so fine to see your face at my door
Doesn't help to know you're so far away

Traveling around sure gets me down and lonely
Nothing else to do but close my mind
I sure hope the road don't come to own me
There's so many dreams I've yet to find

But you're so far away
Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore
It would be so fine to see your face at my door
Doesn't help to know you're so far away




"It's Too Late"Lyrics: Toni Stern   Music: Carole King

Stayed in bed all morning just to pass the time
There's something wrong here, there can be no denying
One of us is changing, or maybe we've just stopped trying

And it's too late, baby, now it's too late
Though we really did try to make it
Something inside has died and I can't hide
And I just can't fake it, Oh no no

It used to be so easy living here with you
You were light and breezy and I knew just what to do
Now you look so unhappy, and I feel like a fool

And it's too late, baby, now it's too late
Though we really did try to make it
Something inside has died and I can't hide
And I just can't fake it, oh no no

There'll be good times again for me and you
But we just can't stay together, don't you feel it too
Still I'm glad for what we had, and how I once loved you

But it's too late, baby, now it's too late
Though we really did try to make it
Something inside has died and I can't hide
And I just can't fake it, Oh no no no no no

It's too late
Baby
It's too late
Now darling
It's too late




"Home Again"Lyrics and Music: Carole King

Sometimes I wonder if I'm ever gonna make it home again
It's so far and out of sight
I really need someone to talk to, and nobody else
Knows how to comfort me tonight

Snow is cold, rain is wet
Chills my soul right to the marrow
I won't be happy till I see you alone again
Till I'm home again and feeling right

Snow is cold, rain is wet
Chills my soul right to the marrow
I won't be happy till I see you alone again
Till I'm home again and feeling right
Till I'm home again and feeling right

I wanna be home again and feeling right


"Beautiful"Lyrics and Music: Carole King

You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face
And show the world all the love in your heart
Then people gonna treat you better
You're gonna find, yes, you will
That you're beautiful as you feel

Waiting at the station with a workday wind a-blowing
I've got nothing to do but watch the passers-by
Mirrored in their faces I see frustration growing
And they don't see it showing, why do I?

You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face
And show the world all the love in your heart
Then people gonna treat you better
You're gonna find, yes, you will
That you're beautiful as you feel

I have often asked myself the reason for sadness
In a world where tears are just a lullaby
If there's any answer, maybe love can end the madness
Maybe not, oh, but we can only try

You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face
And show the world all the love in your heart
Then people gonna treat you better
You're gonna find, yes, you will
That you're beautiful as you feel


"Way Over Yonder"
Lyrics and Music: Carole King

Way over yonder is a place that I know
Where I can see shelter from hunger and cold
And the sweet-tastin' good life is so easily found
Way over yonder, that's where I'm bound

I know when I get there, the first thing I'll see
Is the sun shining golden, shining right down on me
Then trouble's gonna lose me, worry leave me behind
And I'll stand up proudly in a true peace of mind

Way over yonder is a place I have seen
It's a garden of wisdom from some long ago dream

Maybe tomorrow I'll find my way
To the land where the honey runs in rivers each day
And the sweet-tastin' good life is so easily found
Way over yonder, that's where I'm bound
Way over yonder, that's where I'm bound



"You've Got A Friend"
Lyrics and Music: Carole King

When you're down and troubled,
And you need some love and care,
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me,
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night.

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there
You've got a friend

If the sky above you grows dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind begins to blow
Keep your head together and call my name out loud
Soon you'll hear me knocking at your door

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running, running, yeah, yeah, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there
And I'll be there, yes I will.

Now, ain't it good to know that you've got a friend
When people can be so cold?
They'll hurt you, yes, and desert you
And take your soul if you let them,
Oh, but don't you let them

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running, running, yeah, yeah, yeah, to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there, yes I will.
You've got a friend

You've got a friend
Ain't it good to know, you've got a friend?
Ain't it good to know?
Ain't it good to know?
Ain't it good to know, you've got a friend?

Oh yeah, now
Oh, you've got a friend
Yeah, baby
You've got a friend
Oh yeah...
You've got a friend



"Where You Lead"
Lyrics: Toni Stern   Music: Carole King

Wanting you the way I do
I only want to be with you
And I would go to the ends of the earth
'Cause, darling, to me that's what you're worth

Where you lead, I will follow
Anywhere that you tell me to
If you need, you need me to be with you
I will follow where you lead

If you're out on the road
Feeling lonely and so cold
All you have to do is call my name
And I'll be there on the next train

Where you lead, I will follow
Anywhere that you tell me to
If you need, you need me to be with you
I will follow where you lead

I always wanted a real home with flowers on the window sill
But if you want to live in New York City, honey, you know I will
I never thought I could get satisfaction from just one man
But, if anyone could keep me happy, you're the one who can

And where you lead, I will follow
Anywhere that you tell me to
If you need, you need me to be with you
I will follow where you lead


"Will You Love Me Tomorrow"
Lyrics: Gerry Goffin, Music: Carole King

Tonight you're mine completely
You give your love so sweetly
Tonight the light of love is in your eyes
But will you love me tomorrow

Is this a lasting treasure
Or just a moment's pleasure
Can I believe the magic of your sighs
Will you still love me tomorrow

Tonight with words unspoken
You say that I'm the only one
But will my heart be broken
When the night meets the morning sun

I'd like to know that your love
Is love I can be sure of
So tell me now and I won't ask again
Will you still love me tomorrow
Will you still love me tomorrow
Will you still love me tomorrow
Will you still love me tomorrow



"Smackwater Jack"
Lyrics: Gerry Goffin, Music: Carole King
Now Smackwater Jack, he bought a shotgun
'Cause he was in the mood for a little confrontation
He just let it all hang loose
He didn't think about the noose
He couldn't take no more abuse
So he shot down the congregation

You can't talk to a man
With a shotgun in his hand
Shotgun

Now Big Jim the chief stood for law and order
He called for the guard to come and surround the border
Now from his bulldog mouth
As he led the posse south
Came the cry, we got to ride
Clean up the streets for our wives and our daughters

You can't talk to a man
When he don't want to understand
No, no, no, no, no, no

The account of the capture wasn't in the papers
But you know, they hanged ole Smack right then instead of later
You know the people were quite pleased
'Cause the outlaw had been seized
And on the whole, it was a very good year
For the undertaker

You know, you know, you can't talk to a man
With a shotgun in his hand
Shotgun in his hand

Smackwater Jack, yeah
Smackwater Jack bought a shotgun
Yeah, Smackwater Jack bought a shotgun
Smackwater Jack, yeah
Smackwater Jack, yeah

Talkin' about Smackwater Jack, yeah
Talkin' about Smackwater Jack, oh
Talkin' about Jack and his shotgun,
Talkin' about Smack, talkin' about Jack
Smackwater Jack, yea


"Tapestry"
Lyrics and Music: Carole King

My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue
An everlasting vision of the ever-changing view
A wondrous, woven magic in bits of blue and gold
A tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold

Once amid the soft silver sadness in the sky
There came a man of fortune, a drifter passing by
He wore a torn and tattered cloth around his leathered hide
And a coat of many colors, yellow-green on either side

He moved with some uncertainty, as if he didn't know
Just what he was there for, or where he ought to go
Once he reached for something golden hanging from a tree
And his hand came down empty

Soon within my tapestry along the rutted road
He sat down on a river rock and turned into a toad
It seemed that he had fallen into someone's wicked spell
And I wept to see him suffer, though I didn't know him well

As I watched in sorrow, there suddenly appeared
A figure gray and ghostly beneath a flowing beard
In times of deepest darkness, I've seen him dressed in black
Now my tapestry's unraveling - he's come t



"(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman"
Lyrics: Gerry Goffin, Music: Carole King
Lookin' out on the morning rain
I used to feel uninspired
And when I knew I had to face another day
Lord, it made me feel so tired

Before the day I met you, life was so unkind
But your love was the key to my peace of mind

'Cause you make me feel
You make me feel
You make me feel like
A natural woman

When my soul was in the lost-and-found
You came along to claim it
I didn't know just what was wrong with me
Till your kiss helped me name it

Now I'm no longer doubtful of what I'm living for
'Cause if I make you happy I don't need to do more

You make me feel
You make me feel
You make me feel like
A natural woman

Oh, baby, what you've done to me
You make me feel so good inside
And I just want to be close to you
You make me feel so alive

You make me feel
You make me feel
You make me feel like
A natural woman




Links

In Concert for the BBC 1971
  Songs:
  "I Feel The Earth Move";
  "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman";
  "So Far Away" (with James Taylor and Charles Larkey - her husband);
  "It's Too Late" (with Danny Kortchmar and Charles Larkey);
  "Smackwater Jack;
  "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?"/"Up On The Roof"

Interview:  A Conversation with Carole King

Articles
  Troubadours: Carole King / James Taylor & The Rise of the Singer-Songwriter
  BlogOnTheTracks: Revisiting Carole King's Tapestry
  Rolling Stone


Contemporary Rolling Stone review
All Music Review (Rating: 5/5, Album Pick)
Wikipedia

Other reviews
  SuperSeventies
  Facebook

2 comments:

  1. Can't see the lyrics because of the background colour. It'd like an underground magazine from the Seventies.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think I'll change it from a black background to a white one.

    ReplyDelete

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