Carole King | A Holiday Carole

Dec 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Barbara Schultz



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Carole King

Louise Goffin describes the relationship between artist and producer as being “a little like the recording artist is the child and the producer is the adult.” It’s a bit ironic, considering that Goffin, a longtime recording artist/composer, just produced her first full-length album project—for her mom, Carole King.

The record is King’s first holiday album—a collection of nuggets and a few originals—that got rolling while she was working intently on her memoirs in 2009, entitled A Natural Woman, scheduled for release in April 2012. “Her main focus was writing her book,” Goffin says. “But her manager at the time, Lorna Guest, had been talking to her about doing a record like this for some time. She needed somebody she could trust, as she came out of that protective solitude place of writing her life story and back into the studio. She felt comfortable with me, and it was a great pairing in that, because of her trust in me, I was able to create an environment that was welcoming to her so she could be her best.”

Goffin says that even as she and King found themselves choosing well-loved material like “Sleigh Ride,” “My Favorite Things,” “Carol of the Bells” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” she knew she wanted to find a new way into those songs. “I took it as a challenge to come up with an interesting angle,” she says. “I originally thought, ‘I’m going to make a very arty, left-of-center holiday record.’”

Listening to the album, the arrangements, which are nicely varied—sometimes more piano-and-voice-centered; sometimes fully orchestrated with horns, strings and choirs of angels; sometimes tropical—really support what actually does make the record unique, which is King herself. The phrasing and harmonics of her singing style are so familiar and yet still so singular.

“The type of writing and performance she does, she invented that,” says engineer Nathaniel Kunkel, who recorded most, and mixed all, of the album. “It’s really just an honor to watch her and record her voice.”

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