Sunday, July 14, 2013

Cindybin’s Video Pick of the Week: Carole King Pleasant Valley Sunday Demo

“The local rock group down the street
Is trying hard to learn their song…”

I heard an interview with Carole King recently on NPR, talking about her new album, “The Legendary Demos.” This compilation, released in April 2012, features 13 working demonstrational tapes King made in her early days as a songwriter. During the interview they played the demo of “Pleasant Valley Sunday” which has always been one of my favorite songs, of course most famous for The Monkees version recorded in 1967. Co-written with partner Gerry Goffin, I had never heard King’s version, and was surprised at just how “pleasant” it was! Here is the YouTube video with the song, so you can give it a listen.

In the interview, King talked said she was impressed with the riff that The Monkees added to her song. She also said something about how many people said The Monkees were fluff and wouldn’t last, but that their music has endured.

I have always loved the Monkees AND Carole King. I remember a family vacation when I was in high school in the 70s, where we traveled throughout the western United States. My parents allowed us kids to get one souvenir, and rather than buying something representative of our sight-seeing, I chose a Carole King piano songbook (which I still have!).

I spent hours listening to her albums and practicing the piano from that songbook. Besides Pleasant Valley Sunday, another song I learned to play fairly well was “Been to Canaan”. Here is a video of King performing this in the 80s.

“This is talent,” said YouTube viewer JohnMifsud2010 after viewing the Canaan video. “She wrote the song, both music and lyrics, arranged it and sings it while she is playing the piano. Makes you wonder about all of the hype for folks who speak in rhythm and grab their crotches and call it art.”

Peggy Sweigard said that this was her favorite song 15 years ago “and it still is now.”

“It takes me to a place that is warm and wonderful—even for just a few minutes,” she said. “I could listen to this song again and again. What an artist and musician to be able to reach people the way she does. She is great great great!”

Indeed, King has a loyal fan base. YouTube viewer Brook Perkins, commenting on the Pleasant Valley Sunday demo, said that the singer is “so far ahead of her time and so gifted.”

“I never realized Carole King had written this song,” said Pete Piper. “I guess it only makes sense. If it’s a great song, there’s a really good chance she wrote it.”

Sivvybee added, “I like her version the best and this is the first time I have heard it.”

I think YouTuber VinbuscusC said it all by commenting, “This woman’s talent is just off the chart! There will never be another like her!”

For more information on how to purchase songs from this album as MP3’s, you can visit Amazon. 

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