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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Record Reviews > Carole King

MUSIC REVIEWS

Carole King-The Living Room Tour (Sanctuary)

Living room shows are a phenomenon in the folk-music world where groups of fans put together money to hire folk singers to do personal concerts for small audiences in people's homes.  It's a charming, old-fashioned idea and a fantastic way to get to see an artist in a more intimate setting.  Some of the biggest names in folk play living room gigs. 

However, upon hearing of this CD, I was shocked to think that a legendary pop singer/songwriter like Carole King was doing them as well.  After all, she has written some of the biggest hits of the rock era, such as "One Fine Day," "(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman," "You've Got a Friend," "The Loco-Motion," "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?," "Take Good Care Of My Baby," "I'm Into Something Good," "Pleasant Valley Sunday" and dozens of others.  Tapestry, her 1971 debut album as a performer, was the biggest selling album ever for several years in the 70s, before eventually being eclipsed by Frampton Comes Alive, Saturday Night Fever and Thriller.  Even on her last live album a few years ago, she still had enough rock cachet to have Slash as a guest guitarist.  King doesn't tour all that often it was hard to believe instead she was playing in homes in New England.

Turns out she wasn't.  These live performances were not recorded in people's living rooms unless there is someone living at the Greek Theater in LA, the Auditorium Theater in Chicago and the Cape Cod Melody Tent in Hyannis, Massachusetts.  However as she explained in the liner notes for the album, King had been to many living room shows and wanted to try to capture that intimacy in a concert setting.  Since she can't go to the living rooms, King brings her living room with her, the stage set is a homey space with bookshelves, lamps, plants and desks.

Obviously you can't see a stage set on a live album, but King's noticeable comfort actually does help to provide that homey intimacy that she was striving for.  On some songs, King's voice sounds a little ragged, but this is a nice, easy-paced exploration of King's back catalogue.

Backed by an unobtrusive pair of guitarist/bassists, the spotlight is on King's piano, her vocals and her always spectacular songwriting.  Daughter Louise Goffin sits in for a spirited duet of "Where You Lead I Will Follow" (a variation of her Tapestry classic "Where You Lead" which was recorded as the theme for the TV series Gilmore Girls.).  Also standing out are a wonderfully smoky rendition of "Jazzman," a spare and vibrant version of "It's Too Late" and a medley of her sixties classics.

So it turns out you can get Carole King playing these songs in your living room, after all, with this disk.  (7/05)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright 2005 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: July 31, 2005.

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Copyright 2005 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: July 31, 2005.