If you were putting together a soundtrack of the 1970s, you'd have to reserve prominent roles for James Taylor and Carole King. The albums each released at the dawn of that decade—King's Tapestry, Taylor's Sweet Baby James—yielded numerous hits that became virtually ubiquitous yet never wore out their welcome, tributes to both the quality of their songwriting and performances. So it was no coincidence that King and Taylor essentially became prototypes for subsequent generations of singer-songwriters. They first co-headlined L.A.'s Troubadour club in 1970, then again in 1971, while Taylor's "Fire and Rain" and "Sweet Baby James," and King's "It's Too Late" and "I Feel the Earth Move" permeated the airwaves. On the Troubadour's 50th anniversary in 2007, Taylor and King returned with the same musicians who had been on hand all those years earlier: guitarist Danny Kortchmar, bassist Leland Sklar, and drummer Russ Kunkel. That performance has just been released on CD/DVD as Live at the Troubadour, and is the inspiration for their current Troubadour Reunion tour, featuring the same band. Collaborating throughout, King and Taylor play all the essentials (including a few that King and first husband Gerry Goffin wrote as Brill Building stalwarts in the '60s: "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" for the Shirelles and "Up on the Roof" for the Drifters). The atmosphere is warm, congenial, and packed wall-to-wall with nuggets, while Taylor and King play these old favorites with a sublime freshness that belies their vintage.
Tue., May 25, 8 p.m., 2010