Every so often, a from-the-vault release captures our hearts, minds, and attention in such a way that itâ€™s impossible not to tell all family, friends, and neighbors about its existence. Originally issued to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Tapestry, Carole Kingâ€™s The Carnegie Hall Concert: June 18, 1971 is such a record, a fortunate document of an absolutely magical period in the singer-songwriterâ€™s legendary career and a revealing look at the then-stagefright artist turning in a commanding performance just as she was becoming a superstar.
Mastered from the original tapes, our numbered edition hybrid SACD of this compelling concert album brims with liveliness, depth, dimension, detail, and transparency. The nuances of Kingâ€™s spare performances and warm vocals emanate as if sheâ€™s sitting five feet away. Stripped down even further than they are on the studio albums, songs breathe with palpable earnestness and emotion, the subtle differences from their more polished studio brethren allowing listeners an insight into Kingâ€™s creative genius.
At the time of its recording, King still suffered from shynessâ€”and who could blame her? She had been accustomed to penning lyrics for other artists and sitting behind a desk in the Brill Building. Only recently did King strike out on her own and enter the public realm. This set encapsulates this contrast in thrilling fashion. Disarmingly genuine and daringly honest, The Carnegie Hall Concert: June 18, 1971 benefits from the inclusion of Kingâ€™s nervous between-song banter that exposes who she is as a person and performer. Most importantly, despite her anxiety, she turns out stirring renditions of tunes from 1970â€™s Writer, Tapestry, and even a few from the yet-unreleased Music (also available from Mobile Fidelity).
Her control is demonstrated on the recordâ€™s six opening cuts, which feature King alone at her piano. For the remainder of the program, sheâ€™s accompanied by guitarist Danny Kortchman, bassist Charles Larkey, and a string quartet, which enter and exit according to arrangement. As such, the concert is profoundly intimate and personal, an â€œunpluggedâ€ session that predated the use of the term by nearly two decades. Longtime collaborator James Taylor joins her for a memorable medley of some of her biggest hitsâ€”â€œWill You Love Me Tomorrow/Some Kind of Wonderful/Up on the Roofâ€â€”the chemistry evident of why the duoâ€™s 2010 tour was one of the most in-demand outings in years.
Our remastered sound ties everything together and is what makes this release extra special. By going to the original source, the audiophile label considerably opens up the sonic perspectives, revealing the spacious acoustics of the famed venue that act in concert with Kingâ€™s music. In particular, the songs from Writer benefit from the no-nonsense production. You can literally picture Kingâ€™s piano beside her, and her voiceâ€”sincere, tender, melodicâ€”is rich, full-bodied, and penetrating. Listeners can even hear it crack on occasion, the results a consequence of her nerves. Unpolished and non-synthetic, the performance is better for it.
Carole King The Carnegie Hall Concert: June 18, 1971 Track Listing:
1. "I Feel the Earth Move" â€“ 3:36
2. "Home Again" â€“ 2:45
3. "After All This Time" â€“ 3:19
4. "Child of Mine" (Gerry Goffin, King) â€“ 4:03
5. "Carry Your Load" â€“ 2:59
6. "No Easy Way Down" â€“ (Goffin, King) 5:32
7. "Song of Long Ago" â€“ 3:24
8. "Snow Queen" (Goffin, King) â€“ 3:51
9. "Smackwater Jack" (Goffin, King) â€“ 3:49
10. "So Far Away" â€“ 4:12
11. "It's Too Late" (King, Toni Stern) â€“ 4:22
12. "Eventually" (Goffin, King) â€“ 4:38
13. "Way over Yonder" â€“ 4:13
14. "Beautiful" â€“ 2:39
15. "You've Got a Friend" [Performed with James Taylor] â€“ 6:25
16. "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?"/"Some Kind of Wonderful"/"Up on the Roof" [medley; performed with James Taylor] (Goffin, King) â€“ 7:46
17. "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" (Goffin, King, Jerry Wexler) â€“ 4:09