Carol King – Music (Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab Silver Label) VINYL LP REVIEW

THE UNWARY CONSUMER could easily confuse the mellow, brown-tinged interiors pictured on the cover of Music with those of its predecessor, the classic Tapestry, and while that would be a mistake, it wouldn’t be a tragedy.
After all, they were both minted in the same year, 1971, and represented the full flowering of Carol King as one of the queens of the cult of the singer-songwriter that was in full bloom at this time, as espoused by friends and colleagues like James Taylor, Jackson Brown and Joni Mitchell.
You only have to look at the sales status to see how differently the two albums performed, however, Tapestry over time attaining 10 x multi-platinum (Diamond) ranking, while Music was merely platinum. And listening to the work 41 years later, it’s easy to see why: Music simply lacks those memorable songs that still get flogged on “classic” radio.
I find that strange, considering that King (with her then husband Gerry Goffin) churned out so very many brilliant pop songs when they were working the production songwriting line and selling their wares to others. I mean, why is it exactly that Tapestry ended up being such a spectacular one-off?
Still, for those who like the style – the laid-back ambience created by studio pros like Danny Kortchmar (guitar) and Russ Kunkel (drums) and another guest appearance by James Taylor (acoustic guitar, backing vocals), Music is like hugging a fluffy cat (or a big warm blanket, for the cat-averse) on a cold Sunday afternoon in winter. You could say that it’s cut from the same cloth as Tapestry. And it sounds great after all these years.
Of course, the acoustic-based recording was beautifully crafted and engineered at the time, and its analogue nature is perfect for Mofi. GARY STEEL

Sound = 4/5
Music = 3.5

Gary Steel’s admittedly less than highly spec’d gear includes: Pro-ject Xpression II turntable, Ortofon cartridge, Pro-Ject Phono Box II, Rotel RC-1550 preamp, Yamaha CD-S2000 Super Audio CD Player, and Martin Logan Powered Hybrid Electrostatic Loudspeakers.
* The vinyl of Carol King’s Music is available from Southbound Records, a fabulous vinyl-dominated store located at 69 Mt Eden Rd, Auckland.

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