Carole King – in concert – The Trouadour – May 18, 1971 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Something special for the holiday season. Although it’s been around in various forms and collectors circles over the years, this performance by the legendary Carole King, recorded live at The Troubadour on May 18, 1971 is an extraordinary musical experience. To say it’s historic is a given, to say that this is vintage Carole King in a solo setting (aside from occasional visits by Danny Kortchmar and Charles Larkey) it goes without saying.
Carole King’s monumental career has extended over decades, from her formative period as a songwriter getting her feet wet in the famous Brill Building in New York in the 1950s and 60s, turning out countless hits for some of the cornerstone performers in Rock, to her emergence as a solo artist whose work fairly defined the early 70s and the era of the singer-songwriter.
There was a time, around the period of this Troubadour gig, that you couldn’t turn on a radio or walk down any given street and not hear at least one Carole King song coming out of a loudspeaker someplace. Her music was everywhere because her music and her message were honest.
Sometimes, I think, the true test of an artist is listening to a song written years earlier and finding your emotions around it haven’t changed – the vibe and the intention are still there. Perhaps that’s the trick; to dial into that reservoir of timeless human emotion and convey its deep simplicity with deft perception that stays forever.
I will say though, that every time Los Angeles or anywhere in Southern California had an earthquake, it would be a signal for just about every radio station to start playing “I feel The Earth Move” to the point where it did become a parody of sorts. But there was still the essence of honest emotion in there, even if the humor surrounding it was dark. Ironically, this concert comes three months after the big L.A. Earthquake of 1971. So there’s that.
This concert hasn’t been officially released, probably for a lot of reasons, not the least of which it was made by a fan in the audience (who was lucky enough to be close enough and not be surrounded by consumptives), and there are certain drawbacks – but as a historic document its essential and is as fresh as it was in May of 1971.
Enjoy the show.
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