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Music DVD Review: Carole King and James Taylor – Live at the Troubadour

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My wife and I have several songs which we refer to as "our song".  It's impossible for either of us to hear it and not get that connection — feel the same feelings we experienced when it became our song.  If you're in need of a song that would fill that bill for young lovers, or lovers that still feel young and can actually remember the seventies, then these two artists can provide it.  

Right smack dab in the middle of a special moment, when you realize that your way and my way seem to be one and the same, then you CAN believe the magic of my sighs.  The funny thing about this is that when King and Taylor were making their impressions on us, we had not met.  We didn't meet for another twenty years.  We had a long distance courtship and enjoyed the moon together — and the songs we loved.  Music and celestial bodies are like that.  They give people in love something to share intimately even when they aren't together.

Two of the most prolific and successful recording artists of all time are close friends and are together again.  To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of a venue that calls itself home to such notables as Elton John, The Eagles, and Joni Mitchell.  King and Taylor performed here together in November of 1970 and again in November of 2007.  Carole King and James Taylor — Live at the Troubadour  is a CD/DVD collection of fifteen classic numbers chosen from the 2007 shows.  Yes, your favorites are included.  

As the DVD opens with quiet scenes of an empty Troubadour, Taylor's voice is heard having a conversation with King who answers and then fades.  The show begins with solos of significant songs by each.  After Taylor sings "Blossom", King comments that when she was preparing for this tour, and she sat down to play this song, her brain didn't remember it but her fingers and heart did.  The conversation between numbers ranges from warmth to humor to the joy of reveling in a friend's accomplishments.  After the first two songs, Taylor introduces "The Section", their original band as "..still alive and at the top of their game."  Joining them on stage are guitarist Danny Kortchmar, bassist Leland Sklar, and drummer Russell Kunkel.  Kortchmar gets a nice solo when King performs her monster hit, "It's Too Late", and Kunkel is noted for his brushwork on "Fire and Rain".

A respectful round of applause was prompted by the opening notes of "Fire and Rain" which could easily be Taylor's signature song.  It was a moment in which Taylor connected with his audience and their emotions with his experiences recounted in an autobiographical song.  It was a moment to remember and the type of moment not found in enough concerts.

It was a surprise that King's performance of "It's Too Late" didn't take me back to 1970.  Instead, it struck me as a woman who has come to terms with her past and the lost love that inspired the song.  It wasn't the young woman who sang to me years ago, but an old friend who seemed to say, "It's over and in the past and okay now."  A joke and friendly banter on stage led into her performance of what would be a show-stopper of a song she co-wrote for The Drifters, "Up On The Roof".  It was a  great bookend to complement a breakup song with it's message that "it's peaceful as can be" on the roof and that there's "room for two". 

To support the May 4th release of the CD/DVD set from Hear Music/Concord Music Group, the superstars began a sixty concert "Troubadour Reunion" world tour in Australia in March.  The tour arrives in North America this month to sold out shows in Madison Square Garden and The Hollywood Bowl among other stops.  Each disc has the fifteen songs and no extras.  

Would I buy Carole King and James Taylor — Live at the Troubadour?  Yes.  This is a lasting treasure.
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About FCEtier

  • http://open.salon.com/blog/tricia_weight A Geek Girl

    Amazing. I’ve loved them both for years. They wrote the soundtrack of my youth.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    A few years ago, some on-line music site voted James Taylor the wimpiest singer/songwriter. It’s so obvious that the younger set just doesn’t get it. I could go on with a diatribe in this vein, but suffice to say that the same was probably thought of my generation which thumbed our collective noses at the music of earlier generations as well. What can you do?

    I came of age as it were just when Taylor and King were hitting their early stride.
    To me, these two, especially Taylor, are timeless. They were certainly a significant part of my life back in the 70s and remain so today. I don’t know if Taylor is still writing. He hasn’t put out an original album in some time. Nor has King unless, I missed something. I will buy this album. I’ll have to check to see if their tour is coming my way. Couldn’t miss that.

    B

  • carolyn rew

    What a treasure these two artists are.They have cared about their music and their individual passions enough after all these years, that they have not allowed alcohol or drugs to spoil their fine talents.

  • http://etierphotography.blogspot.com/ FCEtier

    Thank you all for your comments.
    Baritone, I think King put out a new album recently, Kit reviewed it here on BC. Ck the reviews.

  • john quinn

    Enjoy these two magnificent Performers James and Carole .We will not see the likes of them ever again.As always listening to James is like listening to a recording of ones life ,his legacy will truly live on for generations to come ,which musically is testament to his lifes work ……

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Of course James Taylor had a fairly long running bout with drugs back in the mid-70s (I think) which he alludes to from time to time in his music. Don’t know if he got into alcohol much. His marriage to Carly Simon was no picnic for either of them, I guess. But he has come away from all that seemingly stronger and perhaps better than ever. His voice seems timeless, so far unaffected by his age.

    King’s voice hasn’t faired quite so well, but she can still belt out a tune.

    B

  • Norm

    A true test of time, this music touches all generations. My kids love it the way I did/do. A hundred years from now it will be as revered as Bethoven – music and words for all time. So, too will Joni’s songs.