CD review: ‘The Essential Carole King’Written by Vicki L. Kroll | | email@example.com
The Essential Carole King (Ode/Epic/Legacy)
This two-disc set serves up nearly two hours of music by the legendary singer-songwriter Carole King.
Disc one is King singing her own songs. It opens with “It Might as Well Rain Until September,” which was a modest hit in 1962. Four tracks from the landmark 1971 album “Tapestry” are included and still resonate with a range of emotions — “I Feel the Earth Move,” “So Far Away,” “It’s Too Late” and “You’ve Got a Friend.” The soaring vocals on “Sweet Seasons,” a gem from 1972, are as uplifting as the lyrics: “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose/ And most times you choose between the two/ Wondering, wondering if you have made it/ But I’ll have some kids and make my plans/ And I’ll watch the seasons running away …/ Talking about sweet seasons …”
Other highlights on disc one are “Jazzman” from 1974 and a medley of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow/Some Kind of Wonderful/Up on the Roof” King recorded with James Taylor during a 1971 concert at Carnegie Hall. She also duets with Babyface on “You Can Do Anything” and with Celine Dion on “The Reason.” “Now and Forever” is a fitting closer on the CD: “Didn’t we come together/ Didn’t we live together/ Didn’t we cry together/ Didn’t we play together/ Didn’t we love together/ … Now and forever/ I will always be with you.”
Disc two is King the songwriter. Between 1955 and 1999, she wrote or co-wrote more than 100 songs that hit the charts. In 1959, at age 17, she wrote with Gerry Goffin her first No. 1, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” which was recorded by The Shirelles in 1960. That song starts the disc and is followed by a surprising array of pop — from the exuberant, self-confident “One Fine Day” by The Chiffons to the brokenhearted but brave “Crying in the Rain” by The Everly Brothers to the cool, comedic “Pleasant Valley Sunday” by The Monkees. King and Goffin helped shape pop music in the 1960s, and this disc features several of their defining moments.
This 33-song collection is a reminder: It’s good to know you’ve still got a friend.
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