This is arguably the definitive female singer-songwriter collection, released in 1971 to critical acclaim while selling millions of records and influencing countless musicians who have since sought to mine a similar soft rock territory. Tapestry consists of twelve songs, most of which were penned individually by Carole for this album (two are co-writes with Toni Stern), but also including her own interpretations of two golden oldies written back during her days as a highly productive Brill Building writer, when she teamed with husband Gerry Goffin to write many familiar classics. The reinterpretations are a highly effective and slowed down take on “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” that gives The Shirelles a run for their money and an also-good but less necessary “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman;” Aretha’s version was definitive. Many of the new songs are highly confessional and intuitive takes on love, loneliness, and longing, and Ms. King’s sparkling piano work and warm voice conveys a richly identifiable intimacy that makes most of these seductive, resolutely adult songs almost impossible to dislike. The standout tracks are simple, gorgeously poignant ballads such as “So Far Away” (this utterly lovely, evocative number is arguably her greatest solo song along with the next one), “It’s Too Late,” (sure to greatly move anyone who’s ever experienced the disintegration of a cherished relationship), “Home Again” (which gets my vote as containing Carole's greatest vocal on the album), "Way Over Yonder" (gospel infused and soulful, with a choice sax solo), and “You’ve Got A Friend” (later covered in a sleepy hit version by James Taylor but this version is better). The propulsive rocker “I Feel The Earth Move” and the catchy, feel good “Where You Lead” also feature memorable and invigorating performances, and this is a filler-free album that you can consistently sing along to. I can put this on and both my mother and my wife will enthusiastically voice their approval, as Tapestry is an excellent album within its “adult contemporary” genre. In fact, it’s arguably THE confessional West Coast female singer-songwriter album of the early 1970s (along with Joni Mitchell’s Blue), making it a must-have release that was the clear high point of Carole King’s solo career.
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