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  Epic -
  ES 86328
  Carole King: Tapestry

Carole King
Track listing:
  1. I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet
2. So Far Away
3. It's Too Late
4. Home Again
5. Beautiful
6. Way Over Yonder
7. You've Got A Friend
8. Where You Lead
9. Will you Love Me Tomorrow?
10. Smackwater Jack
11. Tapestry
12. (You make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman
13. Out in The Cold
14. Smackwater Jack
  Single Layer
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 4

Carole King: Music      

Reviews: 10 show all

Review by JW September 25, 2006 (13 of 14 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
What a classic! There are a few versions of this SA-CD. I have what some people call a dual-layer SA-CD - a disc without the RB-CD layer but with an SA-CD multichannel and a stereo layer (ES86328 Ode/Epic/Legacy). The sound of this disc is pretty good, in a similar vein as I found the sound on 'Layla' very good. You cannot hear a better more authentic version. Is there a little distortion on for example the voice tracks 1, 2 and 11? Sure. Does it lack midrange? Ditto. But it sounds real and clean enough for me and nice enough by audiophle standards to give it a solid 3 star rating. I'm adding half a star because there is a story attached to this. Read on...

There have been some rumors going around the various websites regarding this disc. On Steve Hofman's site the master himself is on record in saying that the version to get is ES 65850/Sony/Ode/Legacy. It's supposed to sound warmer and more dynamic. He later admitted that he made this statement in error. The version under review here, according to others, is technically the better version with better balance and mix choices. This has caused some people to think that there was a difference between the stereo-mix on the original stereo-only SA-CD (ES 65850) and the stereo-mix on the ES86328.

I cannot compare myself, but I did some research and tried summarizing the various opinions for you here. The original tapes were used for the SA-CD which means that the 2-track mix is the original. It has also transpired that the original 2-track mix is the same on the single layer original SA-CD as it is on this dual layer disc. This seems to be the concensus these days. Both stereo tracks are the same. This was later confirmed by Vic Anesini - there was never a stereo re-mix( You can stop hunting for that single layer stereo-only disc now :-)

That said, let me quote Hofman again in a later thread when he says something very interesting on this stereo-mix: "This album is essentially UNMASTERED. Just like all of the silver MoFi CD's and many of the MoFi UDI's, WEA "Targets", JPN ABBEY ROAD, JPN Beach Boys PASTMASTERS and other early CD's.

Unmastered, let the chips fall where they may.

So, an album has a bit of a hole in the midrange, so this or that album has too much or not enough bass, so an album has too much dynamic range? These things mean that the music was untampered with in transferring to digital.

Essentially, to me, this means that you pay a paltry 20 bucks to have someone in a vault pull the master reels of an album out and make you a flat transfer. You have in your hand an exact copy of the master tape, warts and all. Where else on earth could this happen? Not any more, most everything is MASTERED now. This Carole King SACD for whatever reason (like the old Bob Dylan "John Wesley Harding" CD) emerged "mastering free", like the first series of Roger Nichols STEELY DAN CD's on MCA."

Take that to the bank.


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Review by fredblue May 19, 2009 (4 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I'll start off by saying this is a rather tricky disc to evaluate. The album must surely be considered a masterpiece by anyone's reckoning. Many of the songs are so hugely familiar, it's hard to be subjective about the content. On the other hand, the sparse, funky production of the album, which influenced an entire generation of - and genre/sub-genre within - popular music, has a tendency to sound a little "antique" nowadays.

While I feel woefully under-qualified to critique the quality of the truly classic content of this disc, I can be categorical on one thing here, the Multi-channel mix is LOUD!

I would have to say it is excessively over-loud to my ears! It does have a rather special "in the studio" quality that pervades much of the album, however, which grew on me more and more. A very pleasant surprise with this album's presentation, as opposed to the "live" sound I was expecting, with mere ambience in the rears.

Instead there are a good few very effective uses of discrete activity in the surround channels, with percussion featuring to good effect on more than one occasion. As other reviewers have mentioned here, Carole King's vocals do distort on a few tracks, but it is argued this was inherent in her mic setup during the original recording and so nothing could be done to rectify this trait. When the vocals aren't distorting however, they are wonderful! Sometimes they come across as a tad too attacking, especially on "It's Too Late", "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" and "You Make Me Feel (Like A Natural Woman)" but for the most part, the main vocal has just the right balance of punch and subtlety as and when the music dictates.

If it'll tip any potential purchaser over the edge to commit to buying this SACD, I will stick my neck on the block and say the M/C SACD presentation here must surely be the very best the album has ever (or doubtless will ever..) sound.

Another incentive to someone thinking of buying might be the inclusion of the two extra tracks, particularly the superb live cut of "Smackwater Jack" which is a nice bonus here. It is especially fun as it's presentation is so very different from the rest of the album, being ambient in it's rear channel use, as opposed to the discrete steering of the whole rest of the M/C SACD. It reminded me somewhat of Sony's Isley Brothers reissues (on rbcd) that featured a live track tacked onto the end, mixing it up a little and giving you something genuinely rewarding as an extra.

Also, do other listeners here similarly detect the mix of the other bonus, "Out in the Cold" to be a lot less "dry" sounding than the rest of the studio material? When I first played it, I immediately thought "what a shame the rest of the album wasn't presented like this" - with a bit more warmth to the sound and less attacking vocals.

However, upon listening again, it struck me this was a lot less engaging and the album material itself demanded what I'd call the "sit up and LISTEN!!" presentation of the legendary album itself. If you're on the fence about buying this one, I wholeheartedly recommend it. I can safely say you'll find a very effective and authentic mix (in M/C at any rate) of what has got to be one of the most seminal works of popular music.

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Review by yoniyama July 29, 2013 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I bought this SACD (non-hybrid) a couple of years ago. This is a great SACD.

For those who missed this great SACD before and cannot quite bring himself to pay several hundred dollars to get a new one now, there is now a reasonable alternative: Blu-Spec II version from Sony.

I bought one from CD Japan recently, so I can listen to this in my car. Of course, I compared this Blu-Spec II version to the SACD.

I couldn't tell the difference between the two. (OK, I just turned 50 and my hearing may be failing. My much younger wife could not tell the difference, either.) But when I told my wife that our SACD could be re-sold for 10 times more than what I paid for it, she said NO.

Anyway, I am pleasantly surprised by this Blu-Spec II from Sony.

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