Carole King

The Living Room Tour

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Carole King has co-written more great songs than almost anyone. On her Living Room Tour of 2004 she ran through some of her favorites, old and new, in a very intimate manner with just her piano or acoustic guitar for accompaniment. (She was also joined by guitarists Rudy Guess and Gary Burr on acoustic guitar and occasional bass and vocals.) The double-disc set The Living Room Tour documents some highlights from various shows and works well as a career retrospective as it touches on both the songs she wrote for others and those she performed herself. There are plenty of songs from Tapestry and her early-'70s albums (including the reworked "Where You Lead I Will Follow," which features her daughter Louise Goffin on vocals), songs from soundtracks ("Lay Down My Life" from the little-seen After Dark, My Sweet, "Now and Forever" from A League of Their Own), and a couple of new compositions (the cute "Welcome to My Living Room" and "Loving You Forever"), too. King was always an idiosyncratic vocalist and she sounds a little ragged around the edges here, more gritty and lived-in than you might remember but certainly not worn out. In fact, the grit adds some emotion and strength to her voice. It definitely adds a new dimension to the versions of songs she and Gerry Goffin wrote way back in the early and mid-'60s like "Pleasant Valley Sunday" and "Chains." Her relaxed takes on these classics are highly entertaining; King sounds like she is having a blast and the audience responds in kind. The medley she does of "Take Good Care of My Baby"/"It Might As Well Rain Until September"/"Go Away Little Girl"/"I'm into Something Good"/"Hey Girl"/"One Fine Day"/"Will You Love Me Tomorrow" is great fun and highly educational -- no, amazing might be a better word. Knowing that those songs only touch the tip of the iceberg as far as classic Goffin/King tunes goes is mind-blowing. Fans of Carole King will be as happy as the audiences at the shows (who quite often join in with King on the choruses of the more familiar tunes) to own this charming collection.

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