Now That Everything’s Been Said
Here’s a wonderful reissue from the dependable LightInTheAttic label – it’s the first time too that The City’s Now That Everything’s Been Said has been reissued for vinyl. This was a band fronted by Carole King and it’s essentially her “lost” or middle years. She’d written the early hits and then when he marriage to Gerry Goffin was crumbling she escaped with her children and was nearly retired from music.
Then a meeting of the minds between King, her future husband Charles Larkey (bass) and longtime accompanist and sideman to the stars Danny Kortchmar (guitar/vocals) created The City. Jim Gordon was on drums, the record was produced by Lou Adler – you think of it now as a superstar group, but this was a very low-key record. It was 1968. The band never toured. King had stagefright, she was a solo mother too. The band made this album and disintegrated.
To hear it now though is to see it as a major piece of the puzzle – it’s very much an antecedent of Tapestry. Though that record – a classic, of course – featured King singing her songs that had already been hits for others The City’s album features classics-in-the-making, dressed and ready, but still waiting.
That Old Sweet Roll became better known when Blood, Sweat & Tears took it on and renamed it by its parenthetical sub-title: Hi-De-Ho. That band also made a hit out of Snow Queen and The Monkees recorded A Man Without A Dream, while The Byrds remade I Wasn’t Born To Follow. It’s these details – and the fact that King wrote or co-wrote all of this material – that helps to make this record so interesting now. She’s in fine voice here and the playing across the album feels like the birth of the seventies singer/songwriter movement. Which is almost exactly what it is in fact.
Kortchmar, an underrated vocalist, assists. And across just 35 minutes we get a few country-folk flavours (My Sweet Home), a bit of Wrecking Crew-meets-Brill Building pop, as you might expect given the personnel (I Don’t Believe It) and even a touch of rock’n’roll (Victim of Circumstance).
It’s a little bit Mammas and Pappas, a tiny bit Beach Boys, but it also hints at the sort of songs David Crosby and Gene Clark and Joni Mitchell would go on to make, when folk discovered it could get a tiny bit psychedelic.
In no ways is this a classic but it is a “lost gem” of sorts. Worth your time. And King fans have to hear this – it feels as good as any album she released after Tapestry. And often a little better.