Carole King

In Concert

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In Concert was the first of Carole King's live albums to appear, actually preceding the release of the 1971 Carnegie Hall concert. The two couldn't be more different. Carnegie Hall presents a nervous, unassuming artist on the cusp of stardom. The Carole King of In Concert is a different woman -- an abundantly confident, slick professional, with all the timing, glitz, and glamour of a Las Vegas pro. Sometimes this works -- her mind-boggling collaboration with Slash on "Hold Out for Love" comes up trumps, and the rearranged "Jazzman" betters its studio counterpart. But there are disasters, too -- "Hard Rock Cafe" is a distinctly unwelcome inclusion, and the blandly flawless band plays as if in a recording studio, rather than on-stage. It's no surprise that King's most unforgettable standard -- "You've Got a Friend" -- elicits the warmest crowd response, which might explain why it appears twice, the second time with supporting vocals courtesy of Crosby, Stills & Nash. But find, if you can, the accompanying video that features an amusing Brill Building medley of "One Fine Day," "Take Good Care of My Baby," and "Hey Girl," which are not included on the CD.

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