Get this crazy baby off my head!


Carole King

Carole King - City Streets - 1989 - Capitol Records

In the 1970's, Carole King, the great singer/songwriter released some brilliant, critically-acclaimed albums, like "Writer", "Music", "Rhymes & Reasons", "Wrap Around Joy", and of course the all time classic "Tapestry". "Tapestry" was praised by critics and fans alike, went to number one and included the hit singles “It’s Too Late” and “So Far Away.” In 1972, Carole won four Grammy Awards: Record of the Year for “It’s Too Late,” Album of the Year for Tapestry, Song of the Year for “You’ve Got a Friend,” and Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Female for Tapestry. Over the next few years, Carole released a number of albums, for a total of eight Gold, five Platinum and one Diamond certification to date. However, most of Carole King's later releases are forever being compared to albums like "Writer" and especially "Tapestry". Many of her albums have been discounted by music critics for not living up to the impossible standards of those two albums. In the music business, it's hard to win. You are only as good as your last release, and after a string of hugely successful seventies' albums, Carole King found it hard to receive much recognition for albums as good as "City Streets" . The album has received many poor reviews from the music critics. It's been called "bland", "overproduced", having "slick, unimaginative production", and "ordinary". Many eighties albums were slickly produced, and the developing recording technology of the eighties enabled record producers to sometimes overindulge in overly sophisticated sound production, not always benefiting the quality of the album. Arguably, "City Streets" may have partly fallen into this "trap", but the songs have beautiful melodies, and the album includes musicians like Eric Clapton, Michael Brecker, Branford Marsalis, and Mark Bosch. Carole King's musicianship is not overshadowed by any possible "slick overproduction", and the album is not as "bland" or as "ordinary" as some critics have made it out to be. Carole King from Brooklyn, NYC remains one of the greatest living singer/songwriters. Listen to songs like "Lovelight" and "Ain't That the Way" , and the King/Goffin song, "Someone Who Believes in You" . Listen to Carole's "Carnegie Hall Concert: June 18, 1971" album. You can find Carole's "Hardrock Cafe" album @ CKING/HRCAF and her "One To One" album @ CKING/121


"City Streets" - 5:00
"Sweet Life" (King/Rudy Guess) - 4:34
"Down to the Darkness" - 4:17
"Lovelight" - 4:28
"I Can't Stop Thinking About You" (King/Paul Hipp) - 5:00
"Legacy" (King/Guess) -5:04
"Ain't That the Way" - 3:09
"Midnight Flyer" (King/Gerry Goffin) - 4:27
"Homeless Heart" (King/John Bettis) - 4:05
"Someone Who Believes in You" (King/Goffin) - 2:56

All songs written and composed by Carole King, unless otherwise noted


Carole King – Synthesizer, Guitar, Piano, Vocals
Eric Clapton, Mark Bosch – Guitar [Eric plays on the tracks "City Streets" and "Ain't That the Way" ]
Paul Hipp – Guitar, Vocals
Wayne Pedziwiatr, Seth Glassman – Bass
Ted Andreadis – Piano
Robbie Kondor – Synthesizer, Keyboards
Max Weinberg, Omar Hakim, Steve Ferrone – Drums
Sammy Figueroa – Percussion
Michael Brecker, Jim Roberts, Branford Marsalis – Saxophone
Nick Lane – Trombone
Richard Hardy – Wind
Jimmy "Z" Zavala – Harmonica
Kacey Cisyk, Sherry Goffin, Heidi Berg – Vocals


About a year ago, word got out that Carole King was talking to Warner Bros. vice-president Russ Titelman about producing her comeback album. For King's long-suffering fans, this was practically thrilling news. Titelman, after all, had rejuvenated Steve Winwood on his Back in the High Life; moreover, Titelman had known King in her Brill Building years. Presumably, he would be able to update her sound without undermining its melodic essence. But King and Titelman never came to terms, and she ended up back at Capitol, the scene of her disappointing albums of the late Seventies, coproducing herself with her new guitarist, Rudy Guess. She had a lot of the right ideas for City Streets – organizing a new band, hiring some high-profile guests, including Eric Clapton and Max Weinberg, who have added some needed bulk (Clapton's guitar on the title cut, Weinberg's propulsive drumming on "Sweet Life") to King's resonant melodies. Yet City Streets still lacks the spark that would help the album transcend mere competence. King has yet to re-create the chemistry of her work with producer Lou Adler on Tapestry and its immediate follow-ups in the early Seventies. Since Tapestry, one of the stumbling blocks for King has been lyrics. She has collaborated with some of rock's great lyricists – her former husband, Gerry Goffin, and Toni Stern – but Stern's work hasn't appeared on any King album since 1972, and Goffin hasn't written an outstanding lyric for King since "Smackwater Jack." On City Streets, Goffin serves up some warmed over imagery in "Midnight Flyer" that defeats King's buoyant melody. And in "Legacy," King and Guess deliver a shrill, finger-pointing homily on the environment (the intentions are good, but, hey, most of the time it doesn't rhyme). City Streets gets nine cuts deep before King sings a lyric worthy of her melodies: "Homeless Heart," with words by John Bettis, who has written hits for the likes of Madonna, Michael Jackson and Karen Carpenter. This desperate tale of lost love inspires King's most lucid melody and sturdiest vocal; she even turns the mike over to daughter Sherry Goffin for a gorgeous snippet at the end. "Homeless Heart" is a ray of hope, proving that King doesn't have to be a legend gathering dust in the Songwriters' Hall of Fame. Indeed, the woman whose "Locomotion" is a hit all over again and whose Tapestry was a major influence on Tracy Chapman deserves to be a part of contemporary music. If City Streets doesn't provide the redemption that she and her fans have been seeking, at least the album's underlying message is that if she had a smart producer and some smart lyricists, it still wouldn't be too late, baby. © ROB HOERBURGER, (Posted: May 18, 1999) © 2009 Rolling Stone

BIO [ © David Collins [ from Contemporary Musicians, December 1991 , Volume: 6, by David Collins , www.concentric.net/~Jjones24/carole.html]

An introspective, stage-frightened woman with a wispy though resonant voice, Carole King seemed an unlikely bet in the early 1970s to become one of the top-selling recording artists of all time. But she moved quickly into that elite class with just one album, 1971's Tapestry, which by itself has sold more than 14 million copies worldwide and was the best-selling LP of all time until the Bee Gees surpassed it at the height of the disco craze with their Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. While Tapestry made King a household name as a singer, her previous career as a songwriter had already firmly established her reputation in recording industry circles. As Jon Pareles and Patricia Romanowski reported in the Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock, "King has had two outstanding careers. Throughout the Sixties, she was one of pop's most prolific songwriters, writing the music to songs like 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow' and 'Up on the Roof,' with most lyrics by her first husband, Gerry Goffin. Then in 1971, with her multimillion-selling Tapestry, she helped inaugurate the Seventies' singer/songwriter style." King seemed to arrive at the peak of her talents just in time to take advantage of a post-psychedelic generation that yearned for songs with a more personal, acoustic sound and lyrics that reflected simpler values. Actually, King's arrival at the superstar level was due more to a long fermentation in the shadows of the music industry. Born Carole Klein on February 9, 1942, in Brooklyn, New York, King took an early interest in music and had formed her first band, the Co-sines, while still in high school. While attending Queens College, King met Goffin; the two began what would become a long personal and professional relationship. Along with notable songwriters Neil Sedaka--a childhood friend of King's--Cynthia Weil, and Barry Mann, King and Goffin joined Al Nevins and Don Kirshner's Aldon Music company and composed hundreds of songs in the Brill Building's cubicles, famous for incubating hit songs for decades. In 1961, King--who was not yet 20--and Goffin had their first hit when "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" became a Number One single for the Shirelles. In the early 1960s there was a strong push among music publishers for songs written exclusively for black artists; King's longtime interest in rhythm and blues stylings gave her a head start on the competition, as evidenced by the Drifters's Top Ten hit with the King-Goffin composition "Up on the Roof." Soon, Goffin and King were the hottest songwriters in the business. They followed their chart-topping success with the hits "Hi-De-Ho" for Blood, Sweat, and Tears, "One Fine Day" for the Chiffons, "Natural Woman" for Aretha Franklin, "Oh, No, Not My Baby" for Maxine Brown, and "Locomotion," the Number One hit the Goffins wrote for their seventeen-year-old baby-sitter, Little Eva. As Jon Landau wrote in Rolling Stone: "The songs of Goffin and King are superb examples of the songwriting craft of the Sixties. Finely honed to meet the demands of the clients who commissioned them, and written with the requirements of AM radio always firmly in mind, they still managed to express themselves in a rich and personal way. Like Hollywood directors who learned how to make the limitations of the system work for them and in the process created something of their own pop vision." A mid-1960s attempt by Goffin, King, and Al Aronowitz to launch their own Tomorrow label failed, as did the Goffin marriage, which ended in divorce and King's move to Los Angeles with their two daughters. King was relatively inactive during this period, although she did continue to write both music and lyrics. In 1968 she formed a group called The City with bassist Charles Larkey--who would become her second husband--and Danny Kortchmar, a former member of the New York City club band Flying Machine, who introduced King to that group's vocalist, James Taylor. Because of King's stage fright, The City never toured; their only LP was an unsuccessful effort for Lou Adler's Ode label called Now That Everything's Been Said . At this point it was Taylor who provided the encouragement King needed to take the next logical step in her career. Taylor had been much impressed by many of King's compositions for The City, particularly "You've Got a Friend," which he later turned into a hit himself. Taylor urged King to continue to write and record her own songs; the result was the 1970 album Writer, which displayed flashes of a new maturity in King's writing along with her richly textured piano chords. Writer enjoyed just enough success to merit another solo effort, Tapestry, which featured the hits "I Feel the Earth Move," "So Far Away," "It's Too Late," and King's own version of "You've Got a Friend," which Taylor had already taken to Number One on U.S. charts. Tapestry made it to Number One on the album charts, scored four Top Ten hit singles, and remained on the charts for 302 straight weeks--until 1977. Understandably, King could never quite duplicate the incredible success of Tapestry, but for a period of years after its release she continued to produce quality work on LPs like Music, Rhymes and Reason, Fantasy, and Wrap Around Joy. King switched to Capitol Records in 1975 and immediately produced the gold record Simple Things, but it seemed clear by this time that her most productive period had passed. She continued recording into the 1980s, but sporadically and never with as much success as in earlier years. By that time she had become something of a recluse, preferring to live quietly in her Idaho home and make only a few concert appearances. King did, however, break new ground in her career in 1988 by appearing in an off-Broadway play called A Minor Incident.

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