Carole King brought the fledgling singer/songwriter phenomenon to the masses with Tapestry, one of the most successful albums in pop music history. A remarkably expressive and intimate record, it's a work of consummate craftsmanship…
On January 24, 2014, Carole King was honored as the 2014 MusiCares Person of the Year. At a gala event in Los Angeles, Carole and a cast of superstar guests including Sara Bareilles, Alicia Keys, Gloria Estefan, Lady Gaga, Zac Brown and James Taylor performed some of the quintessential songs from her renowned and celebrated career. Proceeds from the sale of this product will provide essential support for MusiCares, which ensures that music professionals have a place to turn in times of financial, medical and personal need.
In an era where it's not uncommon for a superstar act to wait three or four years between releases, it's astonishing to realize that Carole King wrote and recorded a strong follow-up to 1971's bazillion-selling "Tapestry" that was released before the year was up! "Music" was a big commercial success, but anything would pale next to the ecstatic commercial response to "Tapestry", which was still high in the charts when this follow-up was released. The generically-titled "Music" didn't spawn any hits as big as "It's Too Late" or "So Far Away," but with several decades' hindsight, it's clear that "Tapestry" was no fluke; in its more low-key way, "Music" is every bit as fine an album.
The soundtrack to a television special originating from the pen of author Maurice Sendak, Really Rosie is that rare children's album with the wit and intelligence to capture the imaginations of adult listeners as well. Sendak's sharp, clever lyrics tell the story of young Brooklynite Rosie and a cast of vividly etched supporting characters including the apathetic Pierre and a boy named Chicken Soup; Carole King's melodies serve the material remarkably well, transforming even the most deliberately silly songs into catchy, piano-driven pop confections. In fact, it's in many ways her most fully realized record since Tapestry, with a sparkling charm and heartfelt sincerity that interim releases lacked.
This album was always sort of a joke among Carole King's serious fans, containing 12 songs drawn from six albums, and liner notes that fail even to acknowledge the existence of Writer, her one pre-Tapestry solo LP. A Natural Woman supplanted it later, and the addition of two live cuts, "Eventually" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" from the Carnegie Hall concert on the 1999 reissue (Ode/Epic/Legacy 65846), doesn't extended the range or depth of the selection sufficiently. On the other hand, the 1999 remastering does improve the listening pleasure inherent in what is here – the material off of Tapestry, Music, Rhymes & Reasons, and others is now very robust, with vivid instrumentation and a close, rich profile of King's voice. The selection of King's work is still only an inch deep, but it's a more rewarding inch.