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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Live at the Troubadour CD/DVD Combo

Posted By on Wed, May 19, 2010 at 12:00 AM

It's a trend that seems to have taken full flight with Leonard Cohen's Live in London release last summer. And as much as this writer enjoyed Cohen's show here at the Fox, I wished throughout the performance that I hadn't first heard the album and watched the DVD, since everything about the show was identical, right down to the poet's onstage between-song patter. Kinda spoiled it a little bit. If that's the case, why not release the live document after the tour? This live document is slightly different, however, as it features the two singer-songwriter legends and longtime friends inside L.A.'s very small and intimate Troubadour club (where they started out together), rather than the arenas they're now playing on this current tour. Nevertheless, the concept is still the same, with both artists concentrating on that moment in history when they became king and queen of the genre with Tapestry and Sweet Baby James, respectively.

Many years ago, rock critic Chuck Eddy condemned the then-current Smiths in CREEM, comparing them to "early James Taylor." A Smiths defender then fired back that it wasn't a bad analogy and maybe was even a compliment, since Taylor's first two albums at least were by and often about a drug addict contemplating suicide. Four decades later, he's an American icon, not unlike Bob Hope or someone like that. But here, at least, you get to see these legends perform nothing but songs from what many believe to be their greatest period — mostly nuggets from those two aforementioned masterworks, along with such obvious choices as "Up on the Roof" (written by King for the Drifters back when she was a teenage tunesmith at the legendary Brill Building, but later a huge hit single for Taylor) and, of course, the obligatory "You've Got A Friend."

It all sounds great, joined, as the two artists are, by the original backing band that played on all those early discs. And especially for those who think intimate music sounds better in actual intimate environments ... well, in that case, maybe this dual CD/DVD combo release wasn't such a bad idea after all.

Carole King and James Taylor play Thursday, May 27, at the Palace of Auburn Hills, 6 Championship Drive, Auburn Hills; 248-377-0100.

Bill Holdship is the music editor of Metro Times Send comments to


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