Carole King, “The Legendary Demos”

Listening to Carole King’s “Legendary Demos,” you enter an alternate pop universe where her stardom didn’t begin with 1971′s “Tapesty” but actually got under way a decade or so earlier, with King herself enjoying the spoils of her songwriting instead of giving her hits away to everybody from the Shirelles and Righteous Brothers to Aretha Franklin.

It’s a fun exercise in “What if…?” – and maybe a slightly wistful one, since “Legendary Demos” makes you feel that maybe we lost something by not having King kick off her recording career until 10 years after she’d established her writing career. She could’ve been a great 1960s hitmaker; the mystery is why no one forced her Jane Hancock onto a recording contract years sooner. Read full review

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