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Home, warmth, love and sincerity
on July 6, 2004
Four words spring to mind whenever I hear this classic 1971 album from Carole King - home, warmth, love and sincerity. Even the half-lit album cover of a barefoot Carole with her cat sitting by a window somewhat evokes this. There's just something very reassuring and familiar about this album, perfect for listening to if you're feeling sentimental on a rainy day, or optimistic on a spring morning. "Tapestry" arrived at something of a strange time for music. The idealism and politically-inspired music of the 60's had come to an end, and as if to let everyone know the 60's had well and truly finished, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin had all passed on while the Beatles, the Supremes and Simon & Garfunkel had all gone their separate ways. Music seemed unsure where to go until glam rock and progressive rock developed, along with disco later. It was during this "void" in 1970/71 that songwriters of the 50's and 60's seem to emerge as the hitmakers of the day with songs that often told stories; people such as Neil Sedaka, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, James Taylor and Carole King. "It's Too Late" was one of those songs I'd always hear on the radio and I bought "Tapestry" on the strength of liking that song alone. I recognized the titles "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" and "You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman" from the versions made hits by The Shirelles and Aretha Franklin respectively, and when I listened to the album I discovered "I Feel The Earth Move" was the same song as that made a hit by Martika in the UK in 1989. There isn't one song on this album I don't like, but "So Far Away" is probably my favorite on the album. "You've Got A Friend" is another track that particularly stands out for me. I read an interview with Alanis Morissette in 1996 in which she said the middle 8 in that song just killed her every time she heard it, and I know what she means. You look forward to hearing it as much, if not more so, than the song itself. The simplicity of the recordings on this album by using just drums, piano and bass is very effective and what give the album it's weight in gold as much as Carole King's brilliant songwriting. In this case, less is definitely more. Terrific album.