In Rotation: Carole King's "The Legendary Demos." A series in Sunday Calendar about what Times writers and contributors are listening to right now...
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Carole King, “The Legendary Demos” (Rockingale/Hear Music)
The songs live within the minds of most Americans over 30, entangled among the neurons like morning glory: “You’ve Got a Friend,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” “Tapestry,” “Take Good Care of My Baby,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” and dozens others that Carole King wrote in the 1960s and ‘70s either alone or with her writing partner (and one-time husband) Gerry Goffin.
But no matter how often we’ve heard them, most have never been as exquisitely and simply experienced as on “The Legendary Demos,” which collects King’s original versions of these songs.
The set consists of thirteen works recorded from 1962, when she was working as a writer in New York’s songwriting epicenter the Brill Building, through 1971, after she’d divorced Goffin and moved to Laurel Canyon. The tracks on “The Legendary Demos” have been long coveted by collectors and King fans, and it’s easy to hear why. Though created as demo records and not intended for release, the documents contain some of King’s most casually elegant performances.