THE LONG PLAY

 

”The Long Play" is a continuing Sunday evening Feature on The GOAT. This year, Every Sunday Evening, Album Rock WXYG, The GOAT will feature a full album at 8:00 PM from the halcyon musical days of 1970.


1970 was Quite an amazing year in Album Rock history. Gonna be a tough choice every week. So many great ones to choose from.


We hope you’ll tune in next Sunday evening, September 27th for “Writer”, the debut studio album by Carole King, released in 1970. King already had a successful career as a songwriter, and been a part of The City, a short-lived group she formed after moving to Los Angeles in 1968. Tracks on the album include "Up on the Roof" which was a number 4 hit for the Drifters in 1962, and "Child of Mine", which has been recorded by Billy Joe Royal, among others. The album did not receive much attention upon its release, though it entered the chart following the success of King's next album, Tapestry, in 1971.


Reviewers rated it positively, almost as highly as Tapestry, one noting that it was the "most underrated of all [her] original albums". And, in a review that also covered Tapestry in Rolling Stone, Jon Landau wrote, “Carole King’s “Writer” was a blessing despite its faults. The rhythm section was made up mainly of her musical friends from Jo Mama and the arrangements sounded like they were pieced together in the studio. The production was poor, managing to sound both labored and sloppy at the same time. Carole herself was mixed too low on many cuts and the band would up with an unusually tinny sound, considering the kind of music they were playing. And yet Carole’s own personal determination and talent transcended these irritants to make the whole thing very worthwhile.


“Child of Mine” is a lyrically simple song addressed to a child from a parent. The singing is unaffected, the music striking in its purity. And yet the turn of phrase, the subtlety of the composition, give the song a tension that goes beyond the surface simplicity. “Raspberry Jam,” one of the few songs on the album that Gerry Goffin didn’t write the lyrics for, is similarly seductive. At its center is a jazzy, tilting doodle of a melody. However, the chorus leads us back to more familiar territory: a very majorish line that stands in an almost liberating contrast to the verses. “Sweet Sweetheart” is likewise filled with fun the song is about a boy who “overlooks the bad and keeps all the good in mind.”


The single most rewarding thing about the first album was the chance to hear her sing three of her best known songs. “No Easy Way Down” is a masterpiece of a pop ballad with almost symphonic crescendos. “Goin’ Back” is a less demanding song that shines in the relaxed setting Carole creates for it. And finally, there is “Up On the Roof.” I suppose it is the song’s unpretentious awareness of the oppressiveness of the city that has caused its recent revival, but whatever, the reason. Carole’s version is absolutely haunting. She transcends the ordinary production to speak directly to the listener. And when she sings ” . . . Oh, let’s go, up on the roof,” the spark is there. She has done what she set out to do: communicate.”
All songs were written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King :


Side One:
"Spaceship Races" – 3:09
"No Easy Way Down" – 4:36
"Child of Mine" – 4:05
"Goin' Back" – 3:20
"To Love" – 3:39
"What Have You Got to Lose" – 3:33


Side Two :
"Eventually" – 5:01
"Raspberry Jam" – 4:35
"Can't You be Real" – 3:00
"I Can't Hear You No More" – 2:46
"Sweet Sweetheart" – 2:46
"Up on the Roof" – 3:37


Personnel :
Carole King - piano, vocals, backing vocals, and arrangements
Ralph Schuckett - organ
John Fischbach - Moog synthesizer
James Taylor - acoustic guitar and backing vocals
Danny Kortchmar - acoustic guitar, electric guitar, conga
Charles Larkey - Fender bass
Joel O'Brien - drums, percussion, vibes
Abigale Haness and Delores Hall - backing vocals


Tune In and Turn On, next Sunday evening, September 27th, and every Sunday evening at 8:00 PM for The GOAT'S "The Long Play.”

 

 

 

 

 

Back to top of page