Saturday, July 24, 2010

Carole King: Tapestry

Back in 1976, a fellow college student, Phil Haas, was needing some cash for his upcoming wedding. He offered me the deal of a lifetime – to buy his AKAI reel to reel deck. The price was $125 and it included dozens of tapes and a set of headphones. His brother had purchased the machine when he was stationed in Vietnam and the machine was set up for both US and international configurations and included its own amplifier.

Of the tapes, there were some pre-recorded reels including Carole Kings’ “Tapestry.” I cannot point to a single commercially released reel-to-reel tape as my first, as there were about ten included in the package. Being one the several, “Tapestry” will represent my many firsts such as first album, first purchased album, first commercially released cassette, first commercial 8-track, and first purchased single. The only thing that is missing is my first single – and that comes this Tuesday with my 300th post.

“Tapesty” is Carole King’s best album bar none and it was certified “Diamond” by the Recording Industry Association of America for an excess of 10 million copies sold in the US. It was number one for 15 weeks – the longest at number one for any female artist, the longest charting album by any female solo artist, and the fifth longest charting album overall. Worldwide, it sold over 25 million copies. In 1972, the album received four Grammys: “Album of the Year,” “Best Female Pop Vocal Performance,” “Record of the Year” for “It’s Too Late,” and “Song of the Year” for “You’ve Got A Friend.”

The album produced two double-sided hits: “It’s Too Late”/”I Feel the Earth Move” at #1 and “So Far Away”/”Smackwater Jack” at #14. To honor these hits, I am featuring the two flipped hit records – which are my two favorite cuts off this legendary LP.

The Entire Album

I’ve included a YouTube playlist of the album (sans “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” The studio version of this classic Aretha Franklin hit was not available on YouTube. By the way, I still have the reel-to-reel deck and it works fine after all of these years. It doesn’t get much use, but there are occasions when I need an R-2-R deck and I have it. As for Phil Haas, he and Bev his wife write a weekly column on family relationships for Standard Publishing’s The Lookout. They do a fine job and have excellent advice.

1 comment:

  1. You were lucky to have the piece of machine because it is a classic but it was sold for such a cheap price. Considering that it still works fine after several years is proof enough of its great quality and durability. :)