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May 9, 2016

Before Tapestry

carole-king-before-tapestry

In 1967 Carole King joined the proto-folk group The City. Light In The Attic has reissued their 1968 album, Now That Everything Been Said

By Harvey Kubernik

The Light In The Attic record label in late 2015 reissued the Lou Adler-produced 1968 album Now That Everything’s Been Said by The City, a music unit formed by songwriter/pianist/singer Carole King, bass player Charles Larkey, along with former Flying Machine and Fugs’ member, guitarist/vocalist Danny Kortchmar. Jim Gordon is the drummer on Now That Everything’s Been Said.

In the mid-’60s King, husband Gerry Goffin, and entertainment music columnist and writer Al Aronowitz founded their own short-lived New Jersey-based record label, Tomorrow Records, briefly distributed by Atco Records.

Charles Larkey, the bassist for Tomorrow Records’ the Myddle Class, eventually became King’s second husband after her marriage to Goffin dissolved. Joel O’Brien, the Myddle Class drummer, later would contribute greatly on King’s landmark Tapestry.

It was in 1967 when Carole King decided to pursue a solo recording career again. King and Larkey then relocated to Southern California and Hollywood’s rustic Laurel Canyon area. Kortchmar moved to Los Angeles after appearing on the Fugs’ Tenderness Junction album.
This is the first official vinyl reissue of The City’s lone audio document that was re-mastered from the original tapes that Adler produced for his Ode imprint, which was distributed in ’68 by Columbia Records.

The 2015 retail LP is an expanded gatefold edition housed in deluxe Stoughton “Tip-On” gatefold jacket. The music is a really terrific folk rock blend that pre-sages the emergence of the singer/songwriters of 1969 and 1970.

A slew of King compositions, she wrote or co-wrote all but one of the selections, reveal some pop gems we’ve heard by other recording artists: “A Man Without A Dream” was covered by the Monkees, “Now That Everything’s Been Said” was a turntable radio hit for the Brian Wilson-produced American Spring, Blood, Sweat & Tears charted with “Hi-De-Ho (That Old Sweet Roll), and “Wasn’t Born To Follow” was made popular by the Byrds and placed on the Easy Rider soundtrack.

In the liner notes to this sparkling re-release, incorporating quotes culled from her autobiography, A Natural Woman, King, says, “[We] expected it to zoom to the top of the charts within, at most, a few weeks. Individually and together, we optimistically imagined the alum’s success as if it had already happened. Danny and Charlie kept telling each other, ‘It’s a great album. The City is gonna be Number 1 with a bullet!’”

The City didn’t tour. King confessed stage fright as one of the reasons the outfit didn’t hit the road.

“We did rehearse in somebody’s office,” remembers Danny Korthmar in an email correspondence to me. “Maybe a Screen Gems office with Eddie Ho playing drums. So that’s what we were doing at Original Sound in Hollywood. Nothing ever came of it. I played on Carole’s demos and we did them all over town.”

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Although The City didn’t hit it big as a band, their songs were covered by a number of popular artists.


Harvey Kubernik has been a music journalist for over 44 years and is the author of 8 books. In 2014, Kubernik’s It Was Fifty Years Ago Today: The Beatles Invade America and Hollywood was published by Otherworld Cottage Industries.






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