Carole King “Tapestry”


Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#349 in the Series) is Carole King, Tapestry.

There has always been one thing that I’d love to know about an artist like Carole King, and about her writing her masterpiece Tapestry.  That is, do you really know what you’re writing when you write an album like this? Meaning, this just wasn’t your run of the mill singer-songwriter album.  This was indeed a masterpiece of music.  Did Carole know that this was something special? Did she know that although she’d written a ton of hits, mostly for others, that this was just different?  I really don’t know how to answer that.  I’d love to hear what you think. Please share your ideas below.  I’m betting she knew that she had a good album coming to life, but no one could ever come close to expecting what this thing did!

I was thirteen years old when this was current.  The thing that I remember most about, well two things actually, was how “It’s Too Late” was everywhere on the radio. Calling it a massive hit would still be an understatement.  It was as big as a hit that I can remember.  The other thing that I remember about this album was how everybody had a copy of it.  I know that The Beatles had huge success a half decade earlier. That was still however in an era when people were buying single 45s. In fact, those Beatle albums helped change that. By 1971 and ’72 we had turned the corner. People were now buying full length albums and those people bought Tapestry.

Why not buy the full album?  You didn’t have filler tracks here, not at all. What you had were future classic songs, one after another.

The first song was the uptempo, “I Feel the Earth Move.” This was indeed a fine track but I feel did not give us a clue on what was about to follow.   The next song just might be the best song that Carole ever wrote, and yes, I am very aware of the classics that she’s written.  I’m referring to “So Far Away.” Spectacular doesn’t do this song justice. It’s truly remarkable.

The huge hit “It’s Too Late” would be next followed by another super song, “Home Again.”

Side two of Tapestry is the home for two of the most well-known songs in songwriting history. I’m speaking of course about “You’ve Got a Friend” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.“  While Carole King had hits here with both of those songs, they are still better known by others that covered them,  James Taylor and Aretha Franklin of course.

Singer-songwriter music was not the rage when this was released in ’71. That all changed after the success of Tapestry.  For that alone it should be considered groundbreaking.

–Larry Carta

Track listing

All songs by Carole King except where noted.

Original vinyl

Side One

  1. “I Feel the Earth Move” – 2:58
  2. “So Far Away” – 3:55
  3. “It’s Too Late” (lyrics by Toni Stern) – 3:53
  4. “Home Again” – 2:29
  5. “Beautiful” – 3:08
  6. “Way Over Yonder” – 4:44

Side Two

  1. “You’ve Got a Friend” – 5:09
  2. “Where You Lead” (lyrics by Toni Stern) – 3:20
  3. “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” (Gerry Goffin, King) – 4:12
  4. “Smackwater Jack” (Goffin, King) – 3:41
  5. “Tapestry” – 3:13
  6. “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” (Goffin, King, Jerry Wexler) – 3:49

Personnel

  • Carole King – Piano, Keyboards, vocals, background vocals
  • Curtis Amy – flute, baritone saxophone, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, string quartet
  • Steve Barzyk – drums
  • David Campbell – cello, viola
  • Merry Clayton – vocals, background vocals
  • Terry King – cello, tenor saxophone, string quartet
  • Danny “Kootch” Kortchmar – guitar, conga, electric guitar, vocals
  • Russ Kunkel – drums
  • Charles Larkey – bass, electric bass, string bass, string quartet
  • Joni Mitchell – background vocals
  • Joel O’Brien – drums
  • Michael Pultand
  • Ralph Schuckett – electric piano
  • Barry Socher – violin, tenor saxophone, viola, string quartet
  • Perry Steinberg – bass, violin, tenor saxophone, string bass
  • “The Mitchell/Taylor Boy and Girl Choir” (Joni Mitchell and James Taylor) – background vocals
  • James Taylor – acoustic guitar, granfalloon
  • Julia Tillman – vocals, background vocals

Links

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Posted by Larry Carta

1 Comment

  1. coachmaddog (20 Apr 2011, 17:33)
    Reply

    I am a punk from the 1976, but I love this lp. Please don’t tell anyone, it’s our little secret.



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