I bought the original LP (still have it!) of this in 1971 with money I had for my 21st birthday (from what must have been one of the very early Virgin Record Shops in Birmingham). It was the first album I also bought on cassette (for the car!), the first cd version I bought of an album I already had (at something like 10 times the price of the original LP - how's that for holding your value!). Now I've had to buy another for my 17yr old daughter who loves it (almost) as much as I do.
There's something for every mood, every track has a different appeal. The gentle melancholy of "so far away", don't we all need a place "Way over yonder"? My heart has always twinged with sympathy for the girl who has always wanted "a real home with flowers on the window sill" but who is prepared to follow her man in "Where you lead". Tell me, I want to know, did it work out, did you ever get that real home?
I don't think anyone has ever bettered Carole's version of "Will you still love me tomorrow?", possibly my favourite track, or maybe that should be Tapestry - or maybe "You've got a friend". Impossible to choose - a whole Desert Island's worth!
My kids, poor things, were forced to listen to this on car journeys from a tender age and they even loved "Smackwater Jack" - bellowed out with gusto from a tender age by both of them. Can you listen to that without finding your feet tapping and wanting to jig about?
The mix of tracks, songs, words, instruments, piano - all are just so right - it's hard to imagine how this could be improved. And it has stood the test of time, along with those other favourites "Judith" by Judy Collins and "Bridge over troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel".
So yes, the best album of all time, at least for me and not one bit less powerful in appeal thirty years on from when I first heard it.
Add something to your life - if you haven't heard it, buy it, sit back and enjoy. And,with luck, you may get as much pleasure out of it as me for a very long time.
And if you're in this part of the world and you notice a mum and daughter singing along to this in a car, note and wordperfect, it's probably us! Enjoy!