Carole King - Tapestry
1971 – Ode Records
This is one of those albums that should (and probably is) in everyone’s collection. Between 1955 and 1999, King wrote or co-wrote 118 Billboard charting hits! Let that sink in…118 songs on the charts. That is incredible. Not only is she a seriously talented songwriter, her singing and piano skills are great. Although Tapestry is only her second album, the songs and performance have more sophistication than many artists’ later career albums. Those years writing songs for others before she recorded under her own name definitely gave her the experience needed to produce a beautiful, fully formed album. The music is expertly played and the recording sounds like the band is in your living room. That being said, there is nothing really complex, harmony and arrangement wise. I have found this with a few different rock albums from the 70s, there is nothing that jumps out at me in terms of the complicated music that I usually gravitate towards. There must be something about the whole of all the elements together that appeals to me. Perhaps it is that I grew up with his music, my parents like the songwriters from that era. For this album in particular though, it may be the case that some of these songs were done by other artists and became hits. Their versions are very different than King’s versions, which is interesting. I like hearing different arrangements of the same songs. Good songwriting is good songwriting. The songs can be done in different ways, but if the base material is great, the song will come through. I’ll keep diving into these 70s songwriter albums from time to time to see if I can get any clarity on what is behind their appeal. Perhaps it is better not to know and to just enjoy the album for what it is. I know that’s what I am doing with Tapestry. It is a great album that you need to listen to again and again.