Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#698 in the Series) is Carole King, The Legendary Demos
Carole King demos have been floating around the music industry for as long as I can remember. Some sounded really good. This release is the first time that some of those have hit the streets on an official basis. Let’s say, it’s been worth the wait.
This package was released late last month and it covers about a decade of Carole’s early writing career. These songs are indeed demo versions, but they are not solo demos. Many of the songs do indeed have a small band playing with her, some songs however are just her.
I have a close friend that always mentioned that he loved viewing the creative process of music. I couldn’t agree more. This does give you at least a partial look into that process. No, you don’t see the songs as they develop, but you do hear them in the unfinished versions. Many of these songs went on to be hits for others, while six of the songs made their first appearance on Carole’s all time classic album Tapestry.
First up are two songs that made their way onto two early albums by The Monkees. Those songs would be “Pleasant Valley Sunday” and “So Goes Love.” “Pleasant Valley Sunday” is nearly identical to the finished version. There might be a slight adjustment to the harmony vocal parts but that’s about it.
“Take Good Care of My Baby” has always been a favorite. This was a #1 hit for Bobby Vee in 1961. It also was recorded by Bobby Vinton and Gerry Lewis and the Playboys, The Beatles also used it in their failed audition for Decca Records.
“You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman” was made a hit twice, once for Carole and once for Aretha Franklin.
“It’s Too Late” is wonderful to hear as a demo. This was one of the songs that first pushed the Tapesty albums to the top of the Billboard Album chart. I always marveled at the way she looked at a break-up. She’s so matter-of-fact about it all. Can you write a better line than “You were light and breeze and I knew just what to do. Now you look so unhappy and I feel like a fool.” We’ve all been there. She nailed it, especially the light and breezy part. How true, when things are going well it always seemed like the sun is always shinning, inside and out.
Of course she’s added “You’ve Got a Friend” in this mix. This is another one that is close to the released, more familiar version.
I also should mention that many of the early tracks here were co-written with her long-time writing partner Gerry Goffin. This piece couldn’t be considered complete without mentioning his name.
Now I’m hoping for a Part 2. I know the tracks are floating around out there. I need to hear some more goodies like “So Far Away” and “Hi-De-Ho.”
- “Pleasant Valley Sunday”
- “So Goes Love”
- “Take Care of My Baby”
- “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”
- “Like Little Children”
- “Crying in the Rain”
- “Way Over Yonder”
- “Yours Until Tomorrow”
- “It’s Too Late”
- “Just Once in My Life”
- “You’ve Got a Friend”
Listen to spinets of many of these great tracks.