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Little can be added to the praise that has always been heaped on Carole King's classic album "Tapestry". But a group of artists have found a better way than words to show their admiration and love for this practically perfect collection of songs. With a plethora of artists from Celine Dion to Manhattan Transfer to Rod Stewart, this Tribute will appeal to practically everyone. Granted, not all the artists' will suit the taste of true lovers of the original clear clean voice that we know as Carole King, but there is a lot to recommend this album.
Basically, this CD is a collection of artists singing the full collection of original tracks. Put in the same order of the vinyl, those who have memorized that album will not be surprised by what comes next. Each artist has brought something very personal to these songs, and that's what makes this unique. These aren't just covers of Carole King's songs they're individual (and group) interpretations of these songs. My personal favorite track on this album is Manhattan Transfer's version of "Smackwater Jack". This ballad like song, with its slightly country overtones, seems to fit the voices of this group like a glove. They've revitalized this song with their special harmonies and taken the beat up a notch, making it just a bit jazzier than King's version very nice indeed.
You might not blame me if my least favorite track was Celine Dion's version of "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman", but I was pleasantly surprised at her interpretation, and have decided, for this one time, to ignore my previous feelings about Dion's ability and choice of songs. However, this is probably the one song on the album which doesn't seem to truly 'wow' you when you hear it. I'm afraid that the emotion behind Carole's original comes through quite a bit better than Celine's here, and this is probably the least worthy cover on the album.
Some people might have found Rod Stewart's version of "So Far Away" difficult to swallow however, now that he's released all those "American Songbook" albums, this would no longer be the case. I know that on my first hearing, I found it hard to listen to his scratchy voice on this beloved song. But, rather than give up on the interpretation, I gave it several more chances, and I must admit it is starting to grow on me.
The Bee Gees sing "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?" on this album, and - as expected - they sound like they always have sounded. If you like them, you'll like their version. If not, you'll hate it.
I've got to say that "You've Got a Friend" sung by Bebe & Cece Winans featuring the one and only, Aretha Franklin, is a real treat - and I never heard of Bebe or Cece before! Learn something new.... Those fans of the TV show "Gilmore Girls" will recognize this song as the show's theme-song where Carole King sings together with her daughter Louise Goffen. I personally think that if this CD is ever re-done, they should add that version as a bonus track. I won't rate this down because it's missing here, however.
Although I wouldn't purchase this tribute album in lieu of the original Carole King, any lover of her songs and the original album just shouldn't be without it. While each of the covers is a bit different, and have something to contribute to these songs, they don't (for the most part) seem to detract from the originals, and in some cases, some listeners may even prefer these covers. I'm still fonder of her versions however, so I'm giving this album only four stars but will still recommended it.
Thanks for reading!
Davida Chazan © July 2002, updated August 2006
Available on Amazon.co.uk for £14.99 or marketplace from £4.91
Audio CD (31 Oct 1995)
Original Release Date: 24 Oct 1995
Number of Discs: 1
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 You've Got A Friend
2 You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman
3 I Feel The Earth Move
4 It's Too Late
6 Smackwater Jack
7 Will You Love Me Tomorrow
8 Youre You Lead
9 Way Over Yonder
11 Home Again
12 So Far Away