Memoirs, Music.

Carole King’s Tapestry, still in my heart

Few who came of age in the 1970’s are unfamiliar with the singer Carole King, and more specifically, her album Tapestry. It struck an immediate and widespread chord, so to speak, for many including myself; over the years, I have listened to it often, and it has never lost its appeal for me.

-PD, Gary Minnaert

Troubadour nightclub, West Hollywood, 2006. Attrib: Gary Minnaert, PD.

I was reminded of her music by a recent PBS American Masters television broadcast entitled Troubadours, which tells the story of the era of singer/songwriters in American music, artists such as Carole King, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Elton John, and many others. Carole King in particular was the first of that generation to break out of the mold as a songwriter and to begin to also sing her own songs. The story revolves around the Troubadour club in West L.A., where many of these artists were given their start, and worked with and knew each other.

While I admired many of the artists who were profiled, Carole King stood out not just musically, but also in how she chose to live her life.  She eschewed stardom completely, and raised her family out of the limelight.  For her, it was always and only about the music.

-PD-USGOV,

Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. PD-USGOV.


-Oregon Scribbler,

Oregon Scribbler.

Every time I hear songs from the old Tapestry album, it triggers a specific memory, as music often does, in this case of my days in the Army in the mid-70’s. One day I lay on my bunk listening to Tapestry, in a cubicle setting of  bunk beds and standing lockers, my stereo inside my metal locker, which stood behind the head of the bunk, both doors open to create a large sound box to amplify my cheap stereo. Her songs invite introspection, and I was lost in the music, when one of my fellow students in the Redstone Arsenal Army electronics school wandered by, and asked if he could listen as well.  I said sure, and he sat down on another bunk and began listening; he listened until the album was finished playing, as did I, neither of us saying anything until it was done, the music holding sway.

We hadn’t met prior to this, but  we became friends that day.  It is not unusual for music to provide common bond, but in most social situations, conversation usually trumps the music, or the music is only directly attended to sporadically.  Such was the power of her music, that this memory still seems to describe something closer to a small concert, with the attendees raptly absorbed in the music, rather than focused on conversation or play.

After watching the PBS Troubadours show, I felt once again the old pull to put on Carole King’s Tapestry album and play it in its entirety, to sing along in the ancient and deeply grooved harmonies of my youth, to become lost once more in its melodies, rhythms and emotions.

3 thoughts on “Carole King’s Tapestry, still in my heart

  1. Thank you, Tom, for providing these memories. I had not seen this program before, and I remained glued to the screen throughout, learning many things I had not known about the songs and artists I loved so long ago. As you say, her music was, and remains, poignant and full of power. K

  2. Ha ha! From your comment, I assume you share some of my own ancient musical tastes and preferences: Much before 1900, little after 1980, and whatever else it is, rap is not music.

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