Customer Review

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sweet release, 16 July 2010
This review is from: The Essential Carole King (Audio CD)
I don't know if you ever buy off Amazon USA, if ever there was a time to do so this would be it, as the price there as I write is about one third of the UK price. If you don't want to pay shipping then the mp3 is another less expensive alternative.

Essential Carole King offers a unique opportunity to acquire not only the greatest songs of her recording career, but also her songwriting repertoire as part of the Goffin King hit songwriting team as performed by the original artists.

As much as you may already know about Carole King there is more to Carole King than you can imagine.

"We wanted to be songwriters just like Goffin and King," said Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney when they were starting out. They did several Goffin King covers particularly 'Chains' on their first album, and 'Keep your hands off my baby,' on The Beatles at the BBC.

In the early 1960s Carole King along with then husband Gerry Goffin were among the most famous songwriters working out of the Brill Building in New York, penning many hits for many artists. It seemed like the Brill Building and famed Tin Pan Alley was the center of the musical, or at least the songwriting universe. Other songwriters included Lieber and Stoller, who wrote Jailhouse Rock and Hound Dog, and Stand By Me, Sedaka/Greenfield 'Breaking up is hard to do.' Barry Mann would pen 'You've Lost that Lovin Feeling, and On Broadway, with wife Cynthia Weill.' Neil Diamond would pen "I'm a Believer for The Monkees.

One night the Goffins babysitter was practising a new dance around the house, and Carole asked her what she was doing. She was doing 'The Locomotion,' and so a song, and a star was born as Little Eva became the world's most famous babysitter, with a number one hit.

The people who recorded versions of Carole's songs include the most accomplished recording artists of that era and since:

Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, (You've Got a Friend), The Monkees, Neil Diamond, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Donny Osmond (No 1 hit with Go Away Little Girl), Dusty Springfield, The Byrds, BeeGees and Rod Stewart. Michael Buble's most recent album has a version of 'Some Kind of Wonderful.' In case you're wondering who did what songs, I will post some links below.

When releasing her second album Tapestry-Legacy Edition (2-CD), not surprisingly she would draw partly on her songs written for others, and pen new songs written for herself. The release of of the landmark album Tapestry in 1971, was a watershed moment in musical history. Tapestry spent 15 weeks on top of the Billboard Charts and over 345 weeks on the Charts, probably the most notable accomplishment by a female artist to that point, and maybe still, and would sell a reputed 25 million copies.

Her unique and distinctive piano style, her unpretentious and unassuming vocal style, her emotional range, her sincerity as an artist, and ability to connect emotionally and intimately relate with the listener would ensure its and her continuing popularity. Rolling Stone ranked Tapestry as number 36 on its top 500 albums of all time list, the second highest ranking by a female artist, and beating out Dark Side of the Moon, and Hotel California. Some of her songs have become anthemic, and universally relatable.

I Feel The Earth Move, and It's too Late would become number one hits, and You've Got a Friend would become a number one hit for James Taylor, and according to him the biggest hit of his career. A newly discovered personal favorite, Jazzman would hit number 2.

So, you may wonder how The Essential Collection compares to previous releases. I think the producers have done an excellent job in putting together a wonderful collection, the best collection at the best price without being too Tapestry heavy. If you're like me, you probably already own Tapestry. Nevertheless, the second cd, the songwriter is worth acquiring at this price all by itself.

Although Tapestry is well represented, it is a stroke of genius to mix in the original artist versions of classic number one songs, so we get the Shirelles version of Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, The Chiffons One Fine Day, and Aretha Franklin's classic version of You make me feel (like a natural woman). It's really interesting to hear the different styles of different artists such as the folk style of The Byrds, and the rock pop style of The Monkees. I am particularly pleased with the inclusion of The Reason featuring Celine dion, and Now and Forever, a favorite from the soundtrack of A League of their own.

I don't remember a time ever when an artist released a double album of their own hits, and original versions of their hits by other artists on a single release. I imagine it must have taken a while to get the permissions from the different record companies and artists. A bold move by the producer for which I for one am grateful.

At this price and with these songs, I suspect this album will become a number one bestseller. It's certainly bigger, better, and has more diversity than other recent number one albums I have bought, and has 33 songs all of which have sold millions, most of which have been top ten hits, and a good number of which have been number one hits. The fact that she is currently on a world tour will undoubtedly boost sales, and I hope to get an opportunity to see her live with James Taylor even though I have no ticket yet.

I believe this album will keep you engaged and fascinated for a long time, and the sleeve notes include the highest chart positions of each song. The more you listen the more you realise how much more there is to Carole King than you previously imagined, and there's even more than that..

If you wish to explore even further I recommend you consider mp3 download of The Dimension Dolls, a 1963 album featuring early vocals of Carole King, particularly interesting is her take on Crying in the rain, Breaking up is hard to do, and Keep your hands off my baby and featuring two other well known female artists artists from the Brill Buildings. I also highly recommend The Best of the Girl Groups, Vol. 1, an outstanding album with excellent story songs, and 3 or 4 Goffin King songs.

If you are a collector like me, I recommend you consider individual downloads such as Being at War with each other, Barbra Streisand, So Far Away with Rod Stewart from Tapestry revisited, an outstanding version, Go Away Little Girl, I can't stay mad at you. I'm into Something good, Herman's Hermits. With that I believe you will have not just the album Essential Carole King, but almost all the other essential Carole King. Because it's not possible to insert mp3 download links into product reviews, I have posted links in the comments section.

I hope you found this review helpful, and I think you will love this album, which is some kind of wonderful.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Jun 2014 11:27:45 BDT
Phoebe19 says:
Thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to write such a thoughtful and detailed review, it's wonderful in its own right :)

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2014 08:15:47 BDT
L. Power says:
Thank you.
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