Thursday, May 6, 2010

carol king & james taylor "live at the troubadour" review

james taylor and carol king's newest release, "live at the troubadour," is a trip down memory lane, for the two of them - and fans as well. this performance was recorded in 2007, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the troubadour, a west hollywood venue that hosted many of their early concerts (together with the likes of elton john, the eagles, and joni mitchell, among other notable artists to have played there). what was intended as a "one-off" reunion (and included members of their original group), instead turned-into a world tour. the album release (together with a dvd of the performance) just kicked off their tour.

as expected from two of the most prolific and successful song writers, the fifteen song set list is heavy with their major hits: "so far way," "carolina on my mind," "it's too late," "fire and rain," "sweet baby james," "i feel the earth move," and "you've got a friend." but taylor gets in a few old chestnuts ("blossom" and "machine gun kelly"), while king performs a couple of songs she wrote for other groups ("up on the roof" for the drifters and "will you still love me tomorrow" for the shirelles). it's an impressive mix of songs. despite the co-billing however, only one song, "you've got a friend," is performed as a duet.

still taylor and king play as old friends - and it's difficult to image that almost 40 years have elapsed since they last played together in the early 1970s. there's an intimacy to the performance that goes beyond two seasoned musicians playing side by side - they genuinely like each other. that mood is certainly enhanced by their original band mates on stage. as taylor introduced them ("the section"): "... still alive and at the top of their game." the trio includes, danny kortchmar (guitar), leland sklar (bass) and russell kunkel (drums).

the chatter between songs is also fun. right after "blossom" carol king noted that as she prepared for the tour, her brain didn't remember the song. but when she played it, her fingers and heart did. taylor recites the familiar story of his drive down to visit his newborn nephew as the catalyst for "sweet baby james." and, for their duet on "you've got a friend," taylor noted how much he was moved by the song when he first heard carol perform it. then, taylor added, he didn't know then that he'd perform it every night, ever since!

this is a must get for any taylor or king fan!

here is the set list:

so far away
machine gun kelly
carolina in my mind
it's too late
smackwater jack
something in the way she moves
will you still love me tomorrow
country road
fire and rain
sweet baby james
i feel the earth move
you've got a friend
up on the roof
you can close your eyes

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