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Any Major Carole King Songbook Vol. 1

February 8th, 2022 Leave a comment Go to comments


I have a hunch that this will be the year of Any Major Songbooks — and if previous reaction to these is an indicator, Many Major Readers will be pleased with that. I still owe you Vol. 2 of the Barry Gibb Songbook (Volume 1 ran for Barry’s 75th in September), and next month we’ll have Brian Wilson. But today it’s the turn of — and the streetsmart reader will have deduced this already from the header — Carole King, to mark her 80th birthday on February 9.

What an incredible career Carole King has had. Blessed with perfect pitch and prodigious intelligence, Carole Klein (as she was born) first dreamt of being a singer, recording a demo as a 16-yerar-old with her friend Paul Simon. At 17, she married the budding songwriter Gerry Goffin (and had a child with him). At 18, she had written her first hit with Goffin, the classic Will You Love Me Tomorrow for The Shirelles. By 25, she was a stone-cold songwriting legend, even among the illustrious residents of the Brill Building scene. By 30, she had recorded one of the biggest, greatest and commercially successful albums in pop history, with Tapestry.

King has written or co-written 118 Billboard Hot 100 hits, and 61 UK chart hits. Not many people have achieved more chart success.

In all that, King was responsible mainly for the music, though she wrote many lyrics, too, especially after splitting from Goffin. Remarkably, Gerry Goffin was the one who wrote the words from a women’s perspective in songs like (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman and Will You Love Me Tomorrow. King captured her husband’s empathetic sentiments with perfect melodies.

Goffin also wrote the lyrics for a song that won’t feature: He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss). The Crystals hit was inspired by the violence their babysitter Little Eva (of Loco-motion game) was suffering at the hand of her boyfriend. Eva justified it by saying that the goon’s abuse was motivated by his love for her. The song is accusatory rather than condoning of domestic violence — though the Crystals version takes on another twist by having been produced by the abuser and convicted killer Phil Spector…

The bulk of the songs here were written with Gerry Goffin (tracks 1-4, 8-9, 14-17, 22-24). Others were written with Toni Stern (12, 18, 19, 21), and the rest were all Carole on her own (5-7, 10-11, 20).

Apart from being one of the great songwriters, Carole King has also been a fine singer. On Tapestry we can hear that at its best on the often underrated Way Over Yonder, covered here to great effect by jazz singer Cami Thompson. On this collection, we have King singing one of her Brill Building-era songs, in live duet with James Taylor from 2010, her vocal powers undiminished.

Another artist covering himself here is Micky Dolenz, singing The Monkees’ gorgeous Sometime In The Morning in 2012. You can grab the Monkees version — possibly my favourite by that group — on the Any Major Morning Vol.2 mix (which with its Volume 1 is still among my all-time favourite mixes). In line with my “no-act-twice” doctrine, The Monkees will feature with another song, on Volume 2.

In the two mixes of Carole King songs, I’ve tried to avoid replicating anything featured on the Tapestry Recovered mix or on the Brill Building Covered mix. I’ve also mixed things up chronologically. Whereas I’ve divided the two Barry Gibb Songbooks into distinct phases, I decided that this wouldn’t work with King. In fact, she decided that herself when she recorded some of her old songs which she had written with Goffin (whom she had divorced by then) on Tapestry.

So, here’s the first lot of Carole King compositions. The lot is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes home-smackwatered covers and the above text in an illustrated PDF. PW in comments.

1. Lady Lee – I’m Into Something Good (1964)
2. Skeeter Davis – I Can’t Stay Mad At You (1963)
3. Ike & Tina Turner – The Locomotion (rel. 1988)
4. Aretha Franklin – Oh No Not My Baby (1970)
5. Martha Reeves – Dixie Highway (1974)
6. Michael Jackson – You’ve Got A Friend (1972)
7. B.J. Thomas – Early Morning Hush (1973)
8. Micky Dolenz – Sometime In The Morning (2012)
9. Carole King & James Taylor – Up On The Roof (Live) (2010)
10. Cami Thompson – Way Over Yonder (1993)
11. Ruth Brown – I Feel The Earth Move (1972)
12. Billy Paul – It’s Too Late (1972)
13. Marlena Shaw – Go Away, Little Boy (1969)
14. The Sweet Inspirations – Crying In The Rain (1969)
15. Blood Sweat & Tears – Hi-De-Ho (1970)
16. The Byrds – Goin’ Back (1968)
17. Cher – Yours Until Tomorrow (1969)
18. Carpenters – It’s Going To Take Some Time (1972)
19. Barbra Streisand – Where You Lead (1971)
20. B.W. Stevenson – Home Again (1972)
21. Kenny Rogers & The First Edition – What Am I Gonna Do (1971)
22. Alan Price Set – On This Side Of Goodbye (1967)
23. Peggy Lipton – It Might As Well Rain Until September (1968)
24. The Shirelles – Make The Night A Little Longer (1962)
Bonus track:
The Beatles – Keep Your Hands Off My Baby (1963)


More Songbooks:
Ashford & Simpson
Barry Gibb Vol. 1
Barry Gibb Vol. 2
Bill Withers
Bob Dylan Volumes 1-5
Brian Wilson
Bruce Springsteen
Burt Bacharach & Hal David Vol. 1
Burt Bacharach & Hal David Vol. 2
Burt Bacharach’s Lesser-Known Songbook
Carole Bayer Sager
Carole King Vol. 2
Chuck Berry
Cole Porter Vol. 1
Cole Porter Vol. 2
Elton John & Bernie Taupin
John Prine
Jimmy Webb Vol. 1
Jimmy Webb Vol. 2
Jimmy Webb Vol. 3
Lamont Dozier
Laura Nyro
Leonard Cohen
Neil Diamond
Paul McCartney Vol. 1
Paul McCartney Vol. 2
Rod Temperton
Sly Stone
Steely Dan

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  1. amdwhah
    February 8th, 2022 at 14:59 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. rat-a-tat-tat
    February 8th, 2022 at 19:12 | #2

    Thx as always for your hard work.
    Agreed those two “morning” mixes are gold.

  3. Douglas Trapasso
    February 10th, 2022 at 03:14 | #3

    Happy birthday, Carole! Just curious; do you know when this photo was taken? Was it part of the publicity for a specific album?

  4. amdwhah
    February 10th, 2022 at 10:14 | #4

    I spotted it on Google Images; the caption gave no context or source.

  5. loosehandlebars
    February 21st, 2022 at 22:52 | #5

    I’ve recently been revisiting Merry Clayton’s second LP. Carole generously gave her good friend, a backing vocalist on “Tapestry”, three previously unreleased songs for inclusion on a very good record.

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