This is another one of my favorite days on our Coronavirus Countdown with the work of two great singer-songwriters taking center stage.
Both of our albums of the day were released around the same time - Kristofferson by Kris Kristofferson made its debut in 1970 while Carole King's Tapestry showed up less than a year later in early 1971. By then, Janis Joplin - who was dating Kristofferson at the time of her death - had scored a huge hit with his song "Me And Bobby McGee." Kristofferson was repackaged as Me And Bobby McGee in 1971 with Kristofferson's own version of the song featured as the title track.
It seemed only right to find another singer-songwriter gem from that same time period, and ironically, it led me to another album titled Tapestry - the 1970 debut album by singer-songwriter Don McLean. Both McLean's album and King's album were named after a song they wrote, but McLean's album was overlooked until he released his second album in 1971. American Pie became his masterpiece, and the much-covered title song is one of rock music's greatest anthems. While his debut deserves your attention, American Pie is your bonus pick of the day.
- Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb
CHUCK'S ALBUM OF THE DAY
Why I Love It
Widely regarded as one of the all-time greats, there was no way I could have a list of albums I love without this gem. When I was growing up, everybody knew this record and its amazing songs, backwards and forwards. How good is it? Some of the tunes on this album have been covered by Aretha Franklin, James Taylor and Barbara Streisand. As much as I love Carole King as a singer, it's her prowess as a songwriter that always brings me back. Her lyrics, like, "Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore?" are timeless and make me feel like I'm safe at home. It's comfort music that never fails to comfort me. So great.
"I Feel the Earth Move," "You've Got a Friend" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman"
Kendall on Chuck's Album of the Day
I was thisclose to including this album on my own list, and on any other given day, it probably would have made the cut. So I'm glad to see it get the love it deserves as one of Chuck's Albums of the day. Nice pick, Chuck, and thanks for shining a light on this great record.
KENDALL'S ALBUM OF THE DAY
Why I Love It
It goes without saying that an album written by Kris Kristofferson is going to be worth a listen simply to hear the compositions themselves.
But this album also reveals at the beginning of his career that Kristofferson was a gifted vocalist in his own right - perhaps the best interpreter of his own songs and that puts him up against quite a list of singers who ultimately recorded his songs. For my money, there's nothing better than hearing him on his own versions here, and this debut album remains a stunning document of an artist making his first proper record. His versions of "Me And Bobby McGee," "Help Me Make It Through The Night," "For The Good Times," "Sunday Morning Comin' Down" and other classics are second to none, and the hit versions of those songs are considered by many to be the definitive versions of Kristofferson's work. While Joplin, Sammi Smith, Ray Price and Johnny Cash certainly turned in "A" performances on those records, this album suggests that Kristofferson's own interpretations may still be the gold standard.
"Me And Bobby McGee," "Sunday Morning Comin' Down" and "Duvalier's Dream"
Chuck on Kendall's Album of the Day
What can you say about Kris Kristofferson? The guy is simply one of the most iconic singer/songwriters to ever put pen to paper. His distinctive voice is every bit as amazing as his ability to turn a phrase. This record is among the greatest debut albums ever. Listening to it again makes me wish I had included it on my list, too. I'm glad Kendall chose it.