The City

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1969)

- Carole King - vocals, keyboards
- Danny Kootchmar - guitar
- Charlie Larkey (RIP) - bass 


  supporting musicians:

- Jim Gordon - drums, percussion




- Attitudes (Danny Kootchmar)

- Jo Mama (Danny Kootchmar and Charlie Larkey)

- The Fugs (Danny Kootchmar and Charlie Larkey)
- Carole King (solo efforts)
- The Kingbees (Danny Kootchmar)
- Danny Kootchmar (solo efforts)
- The Myddle Class (Charlie Larkey)
- The Section (Danny Kootchmar)
- James Taylor and the Flying Machine (Danny Kootchmar) 





Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Now That Everything's Been Said

Company: Ode

Catalog: Z12 44012

Year: 1968

Country/State: USA

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4257

Price: $125.00



Most collectors have a list of obscure albums they'd like to find. This is one that was on my list for the longest time.

Following the breakup of her personal and writing relationship with Gerry Goffin, in the mid-1960s Carole King largely retired from music. Raising her daughters, King didn't step back into music until 1967. One of her first moves was to relocate to Los Angeles where she formed the short lived The City with bassist and future husband Charlie Larkey and guitarist Danny Kortchmar.  Larkey and Kortchmar had just exited from the infamous The Fugs.  King's Tomorrow Records had previously released an album by Larkey and Kortchmar's band The Myddle Class. 

Signed to Lou Adler's Ode label, the trio debuted with 1968's "Now That Everything's Been Said". Given King wrote or co-wrote all but one selection and handled the majority of lead vocals (Kootch sang 'A Man Without a Dream' and shared vocals with Kind on 'Sweet Home and 'I Don't Believe It'), musically the set might as well have been King's solo debut. While there were some subtle differences from the sound that was to mark her forthcoming solo career, anyone into "Tapestry" will probably find this set both familiar and enjoyable. So what are the highlights ? The opener 'Snow Queen' had an unexpected jazzy feel.  Thanks to Kortchmar's guitar ' I Wasn't Born To Follow' and 'Victim of Circumstance' both sported an unexpected rock sound.  Elsewhere the title track and 'Why Are You Leaving' underscored King's singer/songwriter credentials with unsentimental looks on her failed marriage to Goffin. While there were a couple of less impressive performances including the pretty but forgettable ballad 'Lady' and the odd Gospel-tinged 'Sweet Home', the album made for a fascinating transition from backbench songwriter to future solo megastar.  Unfortunately, King's stage fright left the trio unable to tour and support the LP. Adding to the problem, with Ode switching its distribution agreement from A&M to Columbia, the set became instantly obscure and didn't see an official reissue for two decades (the fact King apparently didn't want it released didn't help). Understandably, as a result the collection's always carried a hefty price tag.

"Now That It's All Been Said" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Snow Queen   (Gerry Goffin - Carole King) - 4:11   rating: **** stars

The first couple of times I played 'Snow Queen' I found it under whelming - little more than jazzy tripe.  And then, out of the blue, the song's charms smacked me across the face ...  Yeah, the tune had a jazzy vibe that's unlikely to impress the masses, but King seldom sounded as good and the combination of Jim Gordon's breezy drums and Charlie Larkey's melodic bass line gave it kind of a David Crosby vibe.  Shame it wasn't a major hit when tapped as a single:

- 1968's 'Snow Queen' b/w 'Paradise Alley' (Ode catalog number ZS7 113)
2.) I Was Not Born to Follow   (Gerry Goffin - Carole King) - 3:45 
   rating: *** stars

' I Was Not Born to Follow" started out as a slow and painful slice of navel gazing with more words than your average thesis, but then Kortchmar tossed off one of his prettiest solos and things took a turn for the better.  My humble opinion - the original kills the better known Byrds cover.
3.) Now That Everything's Been Said   (Carole King - Toni Stern) - 2:20 
   rating: **** stars

Featuring King on multi-tracked lead vocals, 'Now That Everything's Been Said' served as an indicator of her forth-coming solo efforts.  Breezy and quite commercial, this one would not have sounded out of place on "Tapestry".  The Brian Wilson produced American Spring turned in a nice cover of the song.
4.) Paradise Alley   (Carole King - David Palmer) - 3:04  
   rating: **** stars

It's easy to forget what a great voice King has ...   even better when multi-tracked.
5.) A Man Without a Dream   (Gerry Goffin - Carole King) - 3:50   
   rating: **** stars

'A Man Without a Dream' was one of two tunes featuring Kortchmar on lead vocals and his performance was surprisingly impressive...   The Righteous Brothers, The Monkees, and Ben E. King had all previously recorded the song and while their covers were impressive, this one sounds even better.
6.) Victim of Circumstance   (Carole King - David Palmer) - 2:35
   rating: *** stars

Co-written with future Steely Dan vocalist David Palmer, 'Victim of Circumstance' may have been the album's most conventional rocker.  It was interesting from the perspective King has never been know for her rock repertoire.  Elsewhere the sweet backing vocals have always reminded me of something from The Mamas and the Papas catalog.

(side 2)

1.) Why Are You Leaving   (Carole King - Toni Stern) - 3:37     rating: **** stars

Ah, the glories of heartbreak ...  One of King's best break-up songs wrapped in a nice melody.
2.) Lady   (Gerry Goffin - Carole King) - 2:59  
rating: ** stars

A gentle, rocking ballad, 'Lady' was pretty enough, but simply wasn't anything special.   The album's oen disappointment.
3.) My Sweet Home   (Allison) - 3:12 
   rating: *** stars

The lone non-original, with King and Kortchmar sharing lead vocals, 'Sweet Home' proved a surprisingly enjoyable slice of old-timey Gospel harmonizing.  
4.) I Don't Believe It   (Carole King) - 2:42 
     rating: **** stars

With King and Kortchmar sharing vocals, the breezy 'I Don't Believe It' was another tune with a "Tapestry" feel.  Hard to imagine King suffering from stage fright.
5.) Hi-De-Ho (That Old Sweet Roll)  (Gerry Goffin - Carole King) - 3:22  
     rating: **** stars

I'll readily admit growing up with the Blood, Sweat & Tears version and not knowing this was a Goffin-King number.  Hearing the original, it's interesting to note that David Clayton-Thomas and company really didn't mess with the arrangement all that much.  Sure, they eliminated the violin solo and added in the horns, but the main melody remains largely unchanged.  



With a slightly modified title, the tune was released as the album's second single:


1969's 'That Old Sweet Roll' b/w 'Why Are You Leaving (Hi-De-Ho)' (Ode catalog number ZS7 119) 






6.) All My Time  (Gerry Goffin - Carole King) - 3:17   rating: *** stars

'All My Time' has always struck me as sounding out of place on the album.  Sonically they sophisticated harpsichord powered song really didn't sound like it was recorded in the late-'60s.  I certainly like the plaintive ballad, but it sounded like it was recorded a decade too early.