CAROLE KING: THE LIVING ROOM TOUR In 1971 a young woman sat solo in the spotlight for the first time since high school. During the previous decade, this woman had quietly helped define rock and roll by co-writing over 50 songs that had landed in the … see full wiki
She is 66 years old now. I had not listened to or thought about her music for quite some time. And so I was really quite surprised to see her new two disc set "The Living Room Tour" being featured at my local record store. I simply could not resist. Most folks recall Carole King as the artist who brought us the legendary album "Tapestry" back in 1971. But it is also important to remember that Carole is a talented musician and a gifted songwriter to boot. Her collaborations with ex-husband Gerry Goffen produced a flurry of hits on Top 40 radio in the late 50's and early 60's. It is great to see Carole King back in the game.
"The Living Room Tour" features a total of 21 outstanding tracks. And as the title might suggest the "live" performances these were extracted from features minimal instrumentation. There are no drums or horns. There is just Carole at her piano accompanied by Rudy Guess and Gary Burr who both play some guitar and bass. This "bare bones" concept works extremely well here. Of course, Carole king fans will want to hear her big hits. Most, but not all of them are included. It was fun to hear new renditions of such King classics as "It's Too Late", "Sweet Seasons", "So Far Away" and most especially her 1974 #2 hit "Jazzman". Carole also does a masterful job on a number of tunes she wrote for other artists including "Where You Lead" and "You've Got A Friend". And be sure to check out her impassioned vocal performance on "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman". Very impressive!
"The Living Room Tour" is chock full of highlights and memorable performances. One of my favorite tracks was a tune called "Now and Forever". The tune sounded vaguely familiar but I simply could not remember where I had heard it before. As it turns out, Carole wrote it for the motion picture "A League of Their Own". Finally, just for good measure and perhaps a chuckle Carole chose to include the old Monkees hit "Pleasant Valley Sunday". It is better than you might expect. "Living Room Tour" just might become the surprise hit of this summer. Carole King still sounds every bit as great as she did during her heydey three decades ago. And it is quite apparent to me that she had a ball doing this. Highly recommended!