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Brooke Mason
c/o Bitchin' Music Reviews
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Artist: Carol King
CD Name: Welcome to My Living Room
Artist Site: Carol King

Ten years without a tour, but campaigning in politics and performing laid back shows for small groups, gave Carole King the idea to take that feeling out on the road. This DVD is the result of that concept.

Rudy Guess, Gary Burr and Carole King were all featured equally as musicians on the 2005-2006 Welcome To My Living Room tour. And yes, if you didn’t know already this is a stripped down show with just the three musicians: bass, guitar, piano – or sometimes just three guitars. Yes, Carole can play guitar.

Truly you know this concert was a feast for the fan, as every show guaranteed a King original in as intimate an atmosphere as you can get. Songwriting 101 was a section of the concert where King participated with her band mates in improv songwriting. The DVD has a few humorous clips so I suspect there were more failures than successes, or perhaps the footage is currently locked in a vault; an encyclopedia of song notations waiting to be sold off to the next pop group.

IIf you already own the Welcome To My Living Room CD keep in mind that this DVD has eleven songs that weren’t included on that album, in addition to the bonus features. You’ll hear all the big hits you expect including Smackwater Jack, Been To Canaan, So Far Away and I Feel The Earth Move. The 135 minutes of best of clips, behind the scenes footage and exclusive interviews on this DVD leaves you actually wanting more and wondering why there isn’t, considering the scope of the tour.

Guess and Burr describe King as being a gracious songwriter, in that she gives every musician a chance to shine during a performance. Gary Burr takes center stage on his song Broken Arrow. You may remember the song as a duet between Christina Aguilera and Ricky Martin. Burr jokes that his intent for the songs was lost on mainstream. Here the lyrics are redeemed by King and Burr; two songwriters that can actually do the song justice with that soulfulness of intention that feels like raw purity as it comes straight from the source!

That is the sincerity of songwriter enunciation, and it is what makes this DVD so special. If you are a fan of King this DVD is absolutely essential as King recounts her early songwriting career with the audience. You get your montage moment where King goes through a medley of songs she wrote with Gerry Goffin such as The Monkey’s Pleasant Valley Sunday. Somehow the words have much more meaning when articulated by King, “Just another Pleasant Valley Sunday in status symbol land.” Aha! So that is what the song is about. That’s some really heavy stuff. How in the world did The Monkeys of all bands get their hands on that one? (Of course I already knew The Monkeys toured with Jimi Hendrix and Engelbert Humperdinck) so I guess discovering this shouldn’t have been that much more of a shock.

Though not mentioned on the DVD, King also helped write Some Kind of Wonderful, originally written for The Drifters and rerecorded by Marvin Gaye. Her song Chains written for The Cookies, was recorded by The Beatles in 1963. And remember Little Eva’s hit The Loco-Motion which got another lease on life with Kylie Minogue’s 1988 version? Yup, King wrote that song too.

King is definitely a hoot. Hearing (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman live is hilarious. Not revealing what song she is actually segueing into, she opens the song by challenging the male members of her audience to sing along quipping, “Besides, you’re secure aren’t you?” She finally ends the song by faking an orgasm. It was definitely a When Harry Met Sally moment. From Garry Marshall to Penny Marshall, you will also get to hear the behind the scenes scoop about the song King wrote for A League Of Their Own. Of course probably Carole King’s most monumental contribution to cinematic songwriting would have to be the 1985 smash hit;Care-O-Lot for Care Bears The Movie. Alas, that factoid is also excluded from this DVD, but overall for anyone who really appreciates the songwriting process you are definitely going to get a kick out of this compilation.

Bitchin' Entertainment - 1989