1972 Case File #83.

Carol Hall, Beads and Feathers

File Between: Carole King and Bette Midler

Comments: If you know the name Carol Hall at all, it’s most likely as the lyricist and composer for the 1978 musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. She was both a genuine Texan (born and raised in Abilene) and a genuine composer in the Tin Pan Alley tradition — she wrote songs for Tony Bennett and for the Free to Be You and Me compilation. But here in the early 70s, she scored a deal with Elektra, which pretty much only knew how to market singer/songwriters. So she was a singer/songwriter for a couple of albums, this one being the second and last. And it’s very much the kind of record you might expect a Texan with a bent for musical theater to produce: the lead instrument is piano (played by Hall herself), and the songs tend to be character studies in broad emotional strokes, with a recurring theme being the oppositional pulls of the country and the city. She’s not a great singer (she sounds in places like a less shrewd Bobbie Gentry), and her Texas accent can be so mannered as to sound like a put-on, but on the few midtempo (there’s only one uptempo) songs she manages a passable soft-rock style. As you might expect from a composer, the songs are better than the performances.

A Keeper? If I ever need to raid forgotten songwriters for uncovered gems, I have a starting point.

Vinyl Rip: I Never Thought Anything this Good Could Happen to Me

One Thought on “1972 Case File #83.

  1. Stefani on April 22, 2012 at 4:08 pm said:

    Her If I Be Your Lady album, I thought, was the later album. THIS one is my new favorite. When I was a little girl, Carol came to our house for a high school reunion (she and my dad graduated from the same high school). I feel in awe of her then, but never really listened to the If I Be Your Lady album. I can’t get enough of it. Her lyrics are so…real. AIN’T LOVE EASY…the most beautiful love song ever written…is about her Leonard, who is still her true love. I love the character in her voice…the knowing…the emotion. When you really listen to the words…the story…you can’t help but be hooked. At least I can’t.

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