I am not sure what can be said about this album that hasn't been said before. Personally, this is one of my all time favorites. There is such a beautiful warmth to this record that is so rare. It is like Carol is singing from a deep place inside her and singing just to you.
Putting it in some perspective, it was released in the beginning of 1971, just about a year and a half after Woodstaock. This is when acts like The Who, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Jopelin were taking over the world. Actually, Janis had just past shortly before this came out, but it still gives you an idea of what was going on. It's not that it was out of nowhere. The west coast was turning out singer songerwriters like Joni Mitchel and James Taylor, but Joni's swan song, 'Blue' came out a few month after this album, making it sort of a child of 'Tapestry' which was actually a child of Taylor's 'Sweet Baby James.' It does seem though that for the singer songwriter genre, this is THE blueprint. It is the ideal that all other singer songwriter albums are measured. It is such a high mark that even Carole couldn't even get close to it again and she is one of the most prolific songwriters in the history of popular music.
Now, let's just talk about her band for a second. These are musician's that are no strangers to the singer songwriter genre either. Danny Kortchmar, Russ Kunkel and Charles Larkey are all incredably gifted musicains. Along with Lee Sklar this group has appeared in one form or another on James Taylor's, Joni Mitchill's and Jackson Brownes album as well as Dan Fogelberg, Lyle Lovett and many many others. These guys get around. They aren't just studio musicians either they hit the road with all of these folks as well. I have had the pleasure of seeing them a few times live (as well as Carole King) and I am always amazed at the talent these guys have. I have seen Danny Kortmar get lost inside a guitar solo that rivals Carlos Santana, but he always comes back because he knows that he is not the star of the show. These guys are truely selfless musicians that give their vast, considerable talent to make somebody else sound good and they are masters at it.
So when you combine that type of musicianship along with some subtle guest appearences by James Taylor and Joni Mitchell with Carole's songwriting and newly found voice that is as warm and soulful as anybody else in the genre before or since and you get one amazing record.