Carole King’s Lost Album–and Band


Between her run as half of a prolific hit songwriting duo with her husband Gerry Goffin (“One Fine Day”, “The Loco-Motion”, “Pleasant Valley Sunday”, “Up On the Roof”, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”…) and the singer-songwriter genre-defining Tapestry album, Carole King’s short stint with folk-rock band The City is the long-lost missing link.

Carole+King_07As King’s marriage to Goffin was breaking up, she headed in a different direction–geographically, by moving west to California’s Laurel Canyon with her two daughters; and musically, by meshing her talents with guitarist/vocalist Danny Kortchmar and bassist (and King’s future husband) Charles Larkey, finding a more progressive sound and unbridling from her Brill Building pop standard style of writing.

The City released one mostly-forgotten album which is being re-released this week by Light in the Attic Records.

Now That Everything’s Been Said shows touches of the folk queen King would become, and it’s not without hit material of its own, although it would be via other artists that several of its songs would reach a wider public, since the album itself went, as lyricist David Palmer says, “number zero with a bullet”.

“Hi-De-Ho” became a top 20 single for Blood, Sweat & Tears in 1970:

The Byrds made “Wasn’t Born to Follow” their own with a version that appeared in the film Easy Rider:

And American Spring and the Monkees interpreted “Now That Everything’s Been Said” and “A Man Without a Dream” respectively.

Check out the City’s mellow “Snow Queen” with jazzy fills by drummer Jimmy Gordon of Derek & the Dominos and Pet Sounds fame:

With production by Lou Adler and lyric contributions by Gerry Goffin and David Palmer (later of Steely Day) and of course Carole King stepping up to the microphone to interpret her own material for the first time, Now That Everything’s Been Said deserved a better fate than to languish in obscurity. But with its re-release we’re given the second chance to hear the lost chapter in the career of one of pop’s most accomplished writers.

You can sample all of this album’s tracks here

Songs You May Have Missed #165


Skeeter Davis: “I Can’t Stay Mad at You” (1963)

A mostly forgotten trinket from the pop music moment just before the Beatles.

If we rightly think of the Mick Jaggers and Paul McCartneys as rock and roll royalty, what ought we say about Carole King, who was crafting perfect pop songs like this one several years before even they came onto the scene?

King’s often-covered “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”, as recorded by the Shirelles, became pop’s first number one hit by a girl group–in 1960. If you want a short clinic on great pop songwriting just listen to any version of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” and King’s own recording of “It’s Too Late” (with its jazzy sax solo). It just doesn’t get any better than that.

Granted, the sentiments of “I Can’t Stay Mad at You” are passe, but it’s charm is undying, like the innocence of a love story in an old black and white movie.

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