Tony nominee Jessie Mueller performs “You’ve Got a Friend”
from the Broadway show “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.”
–courtesy of NYT In Performance series–
Because who couldn’t use a little bit of this right now?
The End (so far)
In 1970, James Taylor released his album Sweet Baby James (with Carole King on piano and singing backup). It was nominated for a Grammy for Album of the Year, and included such standards-to-be as the title song, Steamroller, Country Road and Fire and Rain.
In 1971, Carole King released Tapestry (with James Taylor (+ Joni Mitchell!) providing vocals). That album became music legend; it broke all records, winning pretty much all the Grammys in 1972 and becoming one of the best-selling albums of all time. You know every song on it by heart: I Feel the Earth Move, So Far Away, It’s Too Late, Where You Lead, Will You Love Me Tomorrow?, Smackwater Jack, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, Tapestry and You’ve Got A Friend – the song which James Taylor would record that same year for his own #1 hit.
These two giants of folk/rock would go on to take their places in the pantheon of American music. 35 years later, they played a reunion concert in 2007 at the legendary Troubadour club here in West Hollywood. I wasn’t there. If time travel ever does become a thing, that’s where you’ll find me in November 2007. (And then, I’d probably hop back to the 60s in Los Angeles – and just stay. But that’s another post.)
The concert at the Troubadour was released on CD and DVD in 2010. PBS has been showing this concert for several years now during its membership drives. And as I was channel surfing tonight (trying to escape the incessant We-still-have-no-idea-what-happened-to-the-missing-Malaysian-airliner-but-we’ll-just-keep-repeating-things-endlessly), I happened upon this concert on PBS.
So, first of all, here’s a link to PBS where you can go to support your local Public Broadcasting station. And here’s a link to the PBS online store where you can purchase the CD/DVD of the Troubadour show. I hope you will. And I hope PBS will forgive me if I’m breaking any rules by sharing these two clips from the concert. (Of course, I’ll remove these instantly if someone minds. But I hope not.) The first is You’ve Got A Friend – the feel good tune of the millennium, and the one song that owes its parentage to both of these artists. The second is Carole King’s soulful So Far Away. Enjoy!
And here’s a quick trip in that time machine to 1972 and James Taylor singing Fire and Rain.
If you’re trying to figure out what 21st century singer/songwriters compare to JT and Carole King… and Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Jackson Browne, Cat Stevens, Simon & Garfunkel, Harry Chapin, Judy Collins, Linda Ronstadt, Carly Simon, Fleetwood Mac, Dan Fogelberg, Neil Young, Crosby Stills & Nash, The Mamas and the Papas, America, The Eagles… Stop. They have no modern equals. And that’s no small compensation now that I’ve accumulated as many years as a deck has cards. The music that I first collected on LPs and 45s, wins.
I can close my eyes and see the album covers scattered on the floor of the living room at 9 Roosevelt in Old Greenwich, where the party always seemed to be. And now I’ll find out if Laird is really following this blog. 😉
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