framing the past

The summer I was thirteen I flew by myself to Vermont for seven weeks of camp. Somebody in our cabin had brought a record player, and it was there in the woods that I first heard the music of James Taylor and Carole King. After I got back home, I bought their albums. I still have them–although they now hang on a wall.

On Thursday night in Atlanta I heard Carole King and James Taylor live as part of their Troubadour Reunion. This round stage that rotates slowly was created specifically for the tour, with small tables for two around it–an attempt at recreating within an arena the nightclub atmosphere that King and Taylor played to in Los Angeles at the Troubadour.

The concert started a little late, around 8:15, but they were on stage almost 3 hours–until after 11–with only a 15 minute intermission. They played So Far Away, Smackwater Jack, Sweet Baby James, Country Road, Fire and Rain, Natural Woman, Up on the Roof, You’ve Got a Friend, I Feel the Earth Move….

from the first half

I’ve seen James Taylor in concert many times, and he was as wonderfully mellow as ever. I’d never seen Carole King before. She didn’t seem quite as comfortable, but the audience loved her. She’s small and wore stiletto-heeled boots the first half. She sang, played the piano and the guitar, and jumped around all over the stage. She sounds the same as ever–and Tapestry came out almost 40 years ago.

from the second half

There was something about seeing the two of them together that really took me back, that made me realize just how long ago (and far away) that cabin in Vermont was.

And speaking of years, Carole King is now 68 and I now have a new vision of what it means to be 68. James Taylor is a mere 62. And together they can rock the house down.

It’s not too late to see them in concert. Here are the remaining dates for the Troubadour Reunion. And look for them on The Today Show on June 18th.

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23 thoughts on “framing the past

  1. I just saw portions of this concert on PBS and fell in love again. I ordered cds the next day to make my own fave collections. So many songs I’d forgotten about. I know we’re supposed to live in the present, but it makes me feel younger to reminisce. :-)

    • Linda, I saw the PBS concert too and a big difference between that concert and the one I saw in Atlanta is Carole King’s presence. She owned the stage in Atlanta. Those songs really took me back…

    • It was, Barb. And I’ve just added to the post about the cool round stage and the “bar seating” around it. I’d thought it was part of the arena where the show took place, but apparently it’s a special stage and seating arrangement for the Troubadour Tour–with proceeds from these seats going to charity.

  2. Carole King’s Tapestry album brings back the summer I first heard it. I hitchhiked to Estes Park, Colorado, and worked as a housekeeper in a motel. The job included lodging and a roommate. The roommate and I had a system for cleaning rooms. We were efficient. After we finished our duties for the day, we headed back to our room and listened to Tapestry. Every single day that summer we listened to Carole King. Even after all these years, I’ve never tired of that album.

    Thanks for evoking those memories, Cynthia. I haven’t thought of that summer in years.

    • Darrelyn, those were the days, right? : ) Nothing can take me back as fast as music and the songs on Tapestry in particular. There’s just something about those songs…

  3. Wish I’d saved some of my LP covers for framing! What a great idea. “Tapestry” and “Sweet Baby James” were two of my favorite LPs back in the day, and I’ve purchase them as CDs and MP3s as the years have rolled by. I’ve seen JT several times in concert, but have never seen Carole King. They’re coming to Pittsburgh on this tour (playing what will be the final show at Mellon Arena before it closes), but I didn’t get tickets (an arena is just not the setting I want for a show). I saw JT at Heinz Hall a few years back — now that’s the type of setting I like, a true concert hall!

    • Terresa, have you ever listened to Carole King? I just found these great YouTube videos of both of them together:

      1971 “So Far Away”:

      2010 “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?”:

  4. You are so lucky to see this concert. I read about it in the NYT. It was wonderful to watch the old clip of Carole King – I listened twice. I’m not sure which took me back more, the music or the hair! I still have 70’s hair. It was amazing to see CK belt it out now. She’s beautiful. I remember listening to the JT and CK tapes at camp in Vermont.

    • Sarah, so we both went to camp in Vermont…I was at Ecole Champlain in Ferrisburg. What was the name of your camp?

      I loved seeing the YouTube videos of Carole King. I don’t know that back then I ever saw her live, just wore out the albums. What I most appreciated seeing her now were her lovely wrinkles, so happy to know she was still a natural woman…

  5. About an hour before I read this post, I had been talking about JT and CK with my daughter. She is planning her 11th b-day party (almost 3 months away) and wants the ’70s theme and wants to know what music to have. I thought of those two because they are clean enough for 11 year olds. Some parents might object to The Rolling Stones or Bob Marley.

    • Tricia, that’s awesome–a 70′s theme party. We used to do a little skit at camp to “You’ve Got a Friend.” I particularly remember the winter, spring, summer, fall part. You know, shivering, jumping, fanning, and falling. Sounds like some birthday party fun right there!

  6. Pingback: it’s been another year | catching days

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