So I picked this up at Used Kids after my “Social and Political Contexts of Education” class (much more interesting than it sounds from the course title) back in January.  Actually, I went into Used Kids before class and saw it, but I was running late (as usual) and I needed coffee (it’s so obvious if you fall asleep in a class of 7), so I left it.  Plus, I wasn’t sure if it was the edition I wanted. But my students have taught me how to surf the web on a smart phone while you’re supposed to be paying attention in class, and I figured out it was the one I wanted and fortunately it was still there 3 hours later.

I recognized some of the songs title before I listened to it, but they were mostly from songs that were hits for other people such as “You’ve Got A Friend” (James Taylor), “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” (Aretha), and “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” (the Shirelles).  I had not realized that these songs were actually written by Carole King.  When I listened to the album, I recognized several of the other songs like “So Far Away” and “I Feel the Earth Move” from listening to top 40 radio while I was riding around in mi madre’s car in northeast Ohio as a child.  I just had never realized they were sung by Carole King.  Sadly, I guess that really sums up my impressions of Carole King…she has written tons of famous songs, I just never really noticed they were hers.

This album basically consists of really well-crafted pop songs.  Unlike Joni Mitchell, King’s friend and contemporary, King stays withing the typical strophic pop song structures.  It actually reminds me quite a bit of a female version of Jim Croce, although it is less depressing.  King’s voice is a little brassy, but she has just a touch of white soul that sounds best when she is accompanying herself on piano.  JT puts in another appearance playing acoustic guitar on some tracks…hey wait, he played on Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” as well.  I guess in the 70s that was probably considered free love…but in today’s vernacular, JT was a playa!

Other lists: Unfortunately, Carole King doesn’t make any other Rolling Stone lists on her own merits, but the Shirelles’ version of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” comes in at #126 on the list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All-Time.

My favorite track: “So Far Away”

Honorable mention: “You’ve Got a Friend” (JT’s version is better though)

Quote: “There came a man of fortune, a drifter passing by.  He wore a torn and tattered cloth around his leathered hide and a coat of many colors, yellow-green on either side.  He moved with some uncertainty, as if he didn’t know just what he was there for or where he ought to go.”