Carole King already had a long track record of writing hits in the 1960s, but when she began to make albums in her own right in the early 1970s she came to be acknowledged as one of the most influential figures among the singer-songwriters of the time. Between 1969 and 1976, when she was with the Ode Records label, she recorded a series of memorable albums with regular collaborators such as James Taylor, Charles Larkey and producer Lou Adler. This collection covers that period, with selections from eight albums, as well as a number of interesting previously unreleased tracks.
Given its significance in pop music history, as one of the biggest selling singer-songwriter albums and a classic of the genre, it is probably only right that all of 'Tapestry' is included. However, it's unfortunate that as a result some excellent later albums of Carole's, notably 'Music' and 'Fantasy' are rather passed over. Perhaps 'Tapestry' was a little too successful, in that whilst it continued selling by the truck load the subsequent releases were in danger of being overlooked.
The songs and production are straightforward and down-to-earth, without pretensions. Perhaps these is why the original albums, particularly 'Tapestry', were so successful - the songs were from the heart and about real emotions, and reflected a time when in some respects life seemed simpler and one could be more optimistic about the future. Certainly for my part, Carole's music of the early 70s evokes many precious memories and I still very much enjoy listening to it.
With only a little over an hour's worth of music on each CD in this set, it would have been technically possible for several additional songs to have been included, thus giving a better representation from all of the original albums. When so much effort has obviously been put into the presentation of this package, it's a pity that the opportunity of providing an even more comprehensive collection has been missed.
This small gripe apart, however, this is a very good retrospective, accompanied by a detailed illustrated book, and would be an asset to any collection.