In the High Peaks

Monday, April 15, 2013

Ohmigosh! Carole King: A Natural Woman--A Memoir Narrated by Carole Herself!

First of all, I must begin this entry by saying that Carole King's album Tapestry defined me when I came of age. It spoke for me. It encompassed my dreams and lamented my heartbreaks. I couldn't stop listening to it, and I literally wore out the vinyl. I couldn't help singing along with it either, as bad as that must have sounded. My whole being resonated with each song, each lyrical phrase. She was singing about my life! I don't believe there was an album that I inhaled more deeply than Tapestry, although I must confess to an undeniable, passionate love of Sgt. Pepper, which comes up as a strong second.

I was 18, 19, and 20 during my compulsive Carole King years:1971-1973. By 1974, I had moved on. Her new music no longer spoke to me as vibrantly, and that was that. But my abandonment of her music does not diminish the intensity of my unforgettable recollections of my love for the albums she produced during those years.

When King's memoir appeared last spring, a year ago, I wasn't tempted to seek it out. After all, I had listened ardently to Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon - and the Journey of a Generation by Sheila Weller, which was an absorbing, lengthy biography that details both the musical careers and personal lives of the three women whom I'd long admired.

I blindly assumed that there was nothing more for me to discover about Carole King. But then--Tah dah!! I came upon the audiobook of Carole King: A Natural Woman at the library and discovered that King had narrated the unabridged memoir. Immediately, I wanted to listen. And I've been compulsively spellbound on my commutes to work ever since. (No! No! Just five miles to go before I reach the college? Slow down!)  Now I get to be embraced by her life and hear Carole tell it in her own words, with her own emphases (she has an emphatic voice), and also hear her burst into song spontaneously throughout. What a joy!! Why didn't this audiobook win a zillion awards??

Well, obviously, I urge you to listen to this audiobook if you have any interest in King or her legacy to popular music. Beg, borrow, steal, or buy it even! It's that good.

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