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This review is from: The Legendary Demos (Audio CD)
When Carole King released the iconic album "Tapestry" in 1971 she had already spent ten years as a professional songwriter in partnership with Gerry Goffin and others, writing a string of hits for The Shirelles, Little Eva, The Monkees and Bobby Vee. She must be the most successful female songwriter in the history of popular music.
This collection of 13 demos, recorded between 1961 and 1970, features some of the most recognisable pop songs of all time including six that were included on "Tapestry". Despite not being for commercial release the performances have a dramatic intensity and vibrancy as Carole sings to her own piano and occasional guitar accompaniment. These are the building blocks from which would be constructed some of the classic recordings of the sixties.
Not only do these demos prove that she is one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century they also show that they were an inspiration to those artists who performed her material. Hear her perform "Cryin' In The Rain" and it's undeniable that the Everly Brothers based their #6 US hit on the King demo. The backing on Bobby Vee's #1 hit "Take Good Care Of My Baby" was surely inspired by the piano on the King demo, too.
Perhaps the most remarkable track on the album is "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Born Woman". Carole invests it with a raw and sincere emotion and an inspired piano accompaniment. It rivals the classic Aretha Franklin version, a US #2.
Other gems include spontaneous demos of "Pleasant Valley Sunday" a Monkees #3, "Just Once In My Life", a #9 for the Righteous Brothers, and "You've Got A Friend" a #1 hit for James Taylor.
A bonus for me was hearing King's evocative and poignant performance of "So Goes Love" recorded by The Monkees in 1966 but not released until it was "discovered" in the eighties. Their version shows what a great song this is but it just can't compete with the atmosphere created by the King original.
Wonderful songs and wonderful performances. This release is a fitting testament to the legend that is Carole King.